Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Community of Outliers [Introduction]

Haley Scholar Reading Groups

The opening chapter of Outliers is "interesting and revealing,"  one of our participants noted.

Malcolm Gladwell opens his book with a narrative about this small town Roseto, Pennsylvania, where residents seemed to have an unusual predisposition for good health. During the 1950s, hardly anyone under age sixty-five had heart disease in Roseto, even though heart attacks “were an epidemic in the United States” and “the leading cause of death in men under the age of sixty-five.”

According to Gladwell, the citizens of Roseto had “created a powerful, protective social structure capable of insulating them from the pressures of the modern world. The Rosetans were healthy because of where they were from, because of the world they had created for themselves in their tiny little town in the hills.”

What did you find most notable or fascinating about the Rosetans, and why?

Or, what insight did you gain about the role of community in the development of outliers?

47 comments:

Martin G. said...

I found the sense of community and union very fascinating, since current society takes value in independence and self-reliance more than communal unity. The people of Roseto seemed to me to be a perfect community in which the happiness of each of its townspeople is at an optimum level of life satisfaction and due to the lack of worries, a reduced illness rate. Truly a great example of how the old world was and how the communities depended on eachother in such a great way.

Martin G.

Dylan P said...

I found it to be very interesting that the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania had higher life expectancies than other towns in the area. Although diet, genetics, and environment are important in health, social relationships are also very important in one's health. (as shown in the book) Thus, a lesson learned can be that if we can have a good social environment, then we can be healthier as people. For this can potentially reduce stress and less stress on one's body is a key to physical health.

lance13 said...

I found it fascinating how close the people in the town were. The author said that they would cook foreach other and stop to have conversations with each other. He also said that there weren't to many crimes committed and when a crime was committed it wasn't anything to serious. The citizens of Roseto respected each other and they helped each other out.

lance13 said...

I found it fascinating how close these people in Roseto were. They did things for each other, they stopped and had conversations with each other, and they respected each other. There was little crime and when there was a crime, it wasn't anything to bad. The whole town respected each other and helped each other out. Today, people that live on the same block don't even treat each other in this way.

Anonymous said...

I found it interesting that the Rosetans were healthier than their relatives and people that lived else where. Nobody from Roseto under the age of 55 showed any signs of heart disease. Even though they did not have a good diet or exercise plan. Even men over the age of 65 had significantly lower rates of heart disease compared to near by towns. I thought it was also interesting how the author said that it would be imposible to find out if someone was healthy or not, just based on their actions. They need to understand that person's culture and who their friends and family were and where they came from. I think that it is very true that, the people that are around us and the society we live in can have a dramatic effect on who we are as a person.

Beau B.

Charris Wells said...

While reading this, I found it interesting that one's community could have such a profound effect on their health. The community of Roseto is a wonderful example of how communities used to be. I think we should all look at this and use it as an example of how we should try to model our lives.

Megan L. said...

It's amazing how despite their bad eating and smoking habits, the people of Roseto still had a reduced illness rate then anywhere else in America. Also, the fact that they could keep their community values and support each other despite all modern day pressures was truly impressive. I guess it goes to show that when a community bands together it can defy all kinds of standards.

Megan L.

Stephanie M said...

What I found most notable about the Rosetans was that they had such a strong sense of community. The people of Roseto truly cared about one another and the wellbeing of their town. I was also fascinated that almost an entire town transplanted themselves to a new land with hopes of a better life. I also thought it was notable that three generations of families lived under one roof, compared to today’s society where it is norm for only the immediate family to live together.

Robin Huang said...

I think that the introduction of the book was very meaningful and had a very important lesson to be learned. It is remarkable that the Roseto people could move their basically their whole community across an entire ocean and still maintain their culture. From this we can see the true importance of being a contributing to the society and extending a helping hand to anyone who needs it. These simple tasks allowed the Roseto people to avoid heart disease and various other health problems; it is also a contributing factor to the happiness of their community. From this we can learn that we should put aside differences and see each other as neighbors and friends. Thus, we, as Americans, can avoid fatal health issues and become a healthier and happier community.

Brenda W said...

I found it fascinating how this little town in this big state went so unnoticed. The author stated how people around probably would not know about Roseto if you asked them. I think a big part of their health and community was their exclusiveness. I also found it fascinating that they had bad habits yet still had long life spans and health; this proves that their sense of family and community extends their lives.

Charlene Y. said...

The town of Roseto is very interesting because of how tight knit the town is. Because of how close the community is it has effect the citizens of Roseto's health. Who knew doing simple things as saying hi to your neighbor could effect the health of one person. Imagine if America was more like Roseto, then maybe there will be less health issues. The situation in Roseto is very facinating

Candace P. said...

The introduction of Outliers proved to be extremely insightful. Roseto was an extremely united society, due to the fact that they moved their entire civilization across the world and managed to stick together. In my opinion, the Rosetans were not just outliers because they managed to have a healthier lifestyle than the rest of the country, but also because they successfully managed to live in a true community. In the Rosetans' world, a community was living among others and truly having a relationship with each other. Today, that is not particularly common; many individuals pride themselves on being self-reliant. But in Roseto, it was of upmost importance to have a community built on social relationships.

Jessica L.W. said...

The novel opens by presenting this unheard of group in an entertaining and appealing manner. The group is known as the Rosetans, and they are originally from Italy. The approach the Rosetans had on forming their own community as a family is a flawless representation of how working in unison with others really pays off. It is astonishing to know the horrible lifestyles they had but still had no traces of heart attacks in the Rosetan community. "Outliers" demonstrates how culture has an effect on the well-being of individuals in that community. I am interested to read more about the Rosetans and their community.

Sean Pettiford said...

I found the transition from their old town in Italy to the one in Pennsylvania very intriguiing. In Roseto Valfortore these people were struggling. They were poor and peasant like with absolutely no hope for their futures. They walked four or five miles down steep mountain sides to prepare the fields for the raising of crops. They worked in open pit mines and performed trecherous work extracting the prescious marble. At any rate, these people were in need of drastic change in their lives and they got it through ten men and one boy. They discovered a place of oppurtunity where a sense of belonging and joyful spirits could reign free, Pennsylvania. Soon, more and more Rosetans recieved word of this amazing place, packed their bags, and headed toward this promised land. In 1884, approximately 1200 Rosetans flooded a rocky hillside. They named this place Roseta and created a community amongst themselves. This community filled with happiness, companioship, and fatty foods allowed them good health and purposeful lives. This was the most intriguing aspect of the Rosetans.

mburchett said...

What was fascinating to me was how Roseto was almost what most would consider Utopia. Everyone was friendly and kind towards one another, which caused there to not really be any crime and for them to live long happy lives. This fascinated me because I have always believed united we stand and divided we fall, so all must be one.

Sable said...

What I find remarkable about the Rosetans and their growth in America is how they were able to do so on their own. The devotion of the Rosetans to their faith and to themselves is something I find admirable. Their capacity to create such an amazing community is a tribute to the sociability of humans. I hope that one day more communities could follow their model instead of turning into an isolated and homogenous suburb.

Sable B.

Christina R. said...

Coming from a future psychologist, I found the whole sense of community completely fascinating considering you don't really see any of that anymore. These people have known each other for a very long time and had to learn to rely on one another when times got difficult as I'm sure they were when they made the move to America. The generation that actually made the move is probably gone and yet somehow they all still managed to pass on those same values and that same sense of community to the next generations. Quite an amazing feat.

Christina R.

Ashley Garrett said...

I think it's funny how the town ate/did they wanted when they wanted. They lived in a piece of paradise where people actually still respected others and didn't get stressed out over everything. I guess it turns out that that is the key to a long, happy life.

Rachael Obe said...

When I started reading about the investigation, I could almost guess that it had something to do with family and their way of living. The Rosetans expressed a very solid foundation of loving their family, loving their neighbors, and firmly keeping their beliefs. I found the fact that all of these things kept them healthy very interesting and amazing. If more people today lived with such a strong sense of community, people would be in better health. The Rosetans were able to successfully isolate themselves from the problems of the outside world, therefore, making their world peaceful. When they felt at peace their bodies were not stressed and that is why, I think, that they were in such good health.

Nicholas M. said...

I found to to be very fascinating that the death rate from heart disease in Roseto was roughly half that of the United States as a whole, for men over sixty-five. The reason for their extremely good health was not from their dietary practices that they brought with them but from the social environment that they had created for themselves. I found that to be fascinating as well.

I never thought that having good social relationships and being a part of a good social environment can improve ones health. It opened my eyes and made me realize that if you are apart of a good social environment and maintain healthy relationships it can make a person feel better about themselves. Therefore, making that special person experience less stress, which is key to living a healthier live style.

Yasmyn K said...

Yasmyn K.
I believed that the people of Roseto perfectly demonstrated how interpersonal relationships in their community and family is essential to a long, healthy life. The Roseto people proved that a collectivistic culture has its up-sides compared to a individualist culture. The friendliness of the people of Roseto created a care free environment. The community was filled with respect for elders and a geniune love for everyone in the community. The Reseto people proved that the best cure for illnesses and a life full of medical hardships was love.

Travontae Williams said...

I definitely found it fascinating that the people of Roseto proved to live longer than their very own family members who lived in other areas. To me, that just amplies the importance of emotional and social bonds in this society. This community almost seemed unreal in the fact that they had no flaws, which would imply that they were a perfect society. However, I believe death in all stages is important for a society to be normal. I say this because, in many cases, death strengthens the bond in a community. Nonetheless, this community showed no signs of possible deaths. Even with unhealthy diets and habits of smoking these people could maintain a healthy life, its not plausible. Regardless of that point, its even more important to emphasize the bond that kept these people alive, which was a very rare bond, yet possible even in our real world.

Cara C. said...

After reading this introduction, I am very intrigued to read the rest of the story. The citizens of this town have a long life expectancy due to only the fact of how they treat each other as a community. The diets, genetics, and environment has nothing to do with their good health. It will be interesting to find out how the rest of the story explains this.

Cara C.

Anonymous said...

What I found most interesting about the Rosetans is that the way they treated each other and how much they cared about each other affected their health. They always say happy people live longer and this could be said for the Rosetans. They have such a strong sense of community that it can even affect their lifespans and health. It also amazes me how they were able to stay together even though they moved so far.

Ashley R.

ChelseaD said...

What struck me most was how this small collection of immigrants had managed to go beyond the statistics. Not though dieting and exercising, but through socializing. It's intriguing all that a positive atmosphere can do for one's health. And it's fascinating seeing how much interpersonal relationships play a key role in health and all that a well-developed community can do for itself .

neir said...

The story was interesting because of the depth and richness of the community involved. The people of Roseto had a great life and resembled the old days when communities in the past were similar to this. They were way healthier then Americans. This is the ideal way of living

neir said...

The story was interesting because of the depth and richness of the community involved. The people of Roseto had a great life and resembled the old days when communities in the past were similar to this. They were way healthier then Americans. This is the ideal way of living

Ridge Lin said...

The Rosetans was very interesting because they were all very unique in being nearly unblemished by the growing epidemic of heart attacks. The insight gained from the role of community is purely psychological meaning a persons surrounding accounts for what they will become. What I gained from this is that the community I chose to be a part of should be chosen delicately, because that community could either help me excel or cripple my future life.
-Ridge Lin

Corinthian Holts said...

It was astonishing to see how the people of Roseto being fueled and kept healthy by their environment. It was mind boggling to see how the medical world was looking to debunk or find a ordinary reason for the health of these people. A togetherness and sharing of life kept them perfectly fine, and hardly no one was dying of disease. The purely natural way of life they had was nice to see.

Shanon Stofer said...

The aspect that i found to be most noteable was that the community had a sense of unity. The people in Roseto was a community in which everyone was really close to one another. They all made making sure each other was happy a priority and really looked out for one another. It showed how today's society should be because to me today's society is nothing like that.
Shanon S.

Nikunj P said...

What fascinated me was how the whole town was basically one huge family. Seeing people just out in the streets and feeling as if they were of your own relation does many things to a persons mental health. The fact that something simple as being homely and warm with each other leads to a decreased number of heart attacks is very notable. Some insight I gained into the role of a community is that being a community is more than being a people, it is to be a people and have ties with each other.

Tiara Y. said...

I thought that the idea that a good sense of community was rather interesting. The idea that the way you interact with others overall betters your health is something that I have never heard of. The people were very community based and that was pretty refreshing because most people within the community focus on what is best for themselves. Once the people of Roseto found some place where they would have a steady income they sent the word back to their original community so that they can be helped as well. I also found that interesting just because people in these days don't really function that way.
Tiara Y.

Anonymous said...

The people of Roseto as a whole was fascinating to me. They escaped poverty and were able to build a safe and healthy community for themselves. They exhibited a collectivistic culture like many of the Europeans of the time. Roseto is a different out look for our generating but it exemplifies the importance of family and community.

Jamila M.

Evan L. said...

I thought that overall the way Roseto was able to come together as a community, especially when they were considered the foreigners, was amazing. Their bond was so strong which seemed to create a happy care free environment. Somewhat of a utopian society in the way that people were able to get along. People actually COMMUNICATED with one another unlike today where there has to be a TV in a doctors office just to have an excuse not to talk to the person next to them. I personally feel that the reason the Roseto community was able to have a positive and healthy society was because the community was so strong and people maintained a happier stress free lifestyle.

Evan Lawler

Ariana H said...

I really enjoyed the beginning of the boook so far. I especially liked the community of the Rosetans. The city in itself seems to be very well involved with those that are apart of it. For example in the story it was said that,"the people died of old age and that was it." To me this shows how back in the day used to be, how everyone relied on each other and also how each person not only considered themselves but also the other townsfolk involved.

Ariana H.

Zachary Kadiri said...

The most interesting thing I read was how all the Rosetans all left there homes and came to America and still remained close with each other. I feel that this shows a sense of pride among them and a sense that they can accomplish anything they want. Its also interesting to see how so many people can be so close and loving towards each other and that has a good reflection on the town Roseto because its almost as if its a utopia where nothing goes wrong at all.

Anonymous said...

Justin Jones

TH eintorduction of the book was simple and easy to the point. It was interesting to see the culture of the Roseto people of Pennyslvania. It was more amazing to read that they were healthier than most Americans even with their diet. I Can't wait to see what the rest of the book got for store.

Zachary Kadiri said...

The most interesting thing I read was how all the Rosetans all left there homes and came to America and still remained close with each other. I feel that this shows a sense of pride among them and a sense that they can accomplish anything they want. Its also interesting to see how so many people can be so close and loving towards each other and that has a good reflection on the town Roseto because its almost as if its a utopia where nothing goes wrong at all.

Zachary Kadiri

Jacquelene G. said...

The book's definition of an outlier was very interesting. It is defined as something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body. The Roseto people were considered an outlier because they were a sociable, close-knit community.
Come to find out, this was the exact reason for their long living. They made a point to say hi to a passerby. Genetics was not the explanation.
Nor was the location the came from. They simply died from old age. I also found the moral interesting: a kind word goes a long way.

Jac`quelene G.

Minh N. said...

The most fascinating thing about the Rosetans is the fact that they are a close-knit group with a strong social structure. They came from a small town and brought their culture to the new world without being affected by the modern world is interesting. The community that lies within their culture is complex in a way that makes their health related problems seem non-existent is amazing.
-Minh Nguyen

sandypham said...

It's intriguing how the Rosetans lived among each other peaceful, in which case helped their health in the long run. It goes to show that when one surrounds oneself with good spirits, one's life will feel richer. The Rosetans' life could be considered as a utopia, where every aspect just seems pleasant.

It's fascinating because we as a community couldn't be described as being as happy. You hear people everyday moping and groping about life.

Camille D said...

It was very interesting to see how the town of Roseto survived. Unlike the towns we live in now, they were nice and pleasant to each other. They did for others, not for the same treatment in return, but just from the kindness of their hearts. People don't treat each other with the same respect now like they did in Roseto. They valued each other's company and appreciated each other.

Marta Ayele said...

I think the introduction to this book raised a good point on how much community impacts people as a whole and individually. The people of Roseto lived in their own world and as a result, were close with their families and friends. I believe that this would effect their health because if you're close to others, you will feel better and your body will be stronger. My mother grew up in a close community and often tells me how friends and other family members would come of uninvited to visit or have dinner, unlike today, where people wait to be invited over. As a result, my family is very close and we visit each other often. I feel that this is like this is like people of Roseto, who were such a close community and were friends with each other.

Marta A.

Cornisha B. said...

I know how troubling it was for people to believe that the Rosetans were living longer solely because they were friendly to their neighbors and cooked for each ohter. I would be one of those whom would have had doubt because in our society those kinds of things never happen. It's interesting how they were so healthy even though they were in a nation that was full of unhealthy people.

Ashley Boyd said...

I found it to be interesting and eye opening. How everyone helped each other really made me see things in a different way. Even though it seems that in our society we live better than them, they can join togther and be there for one another. Many communtities are no longer there for each other. I am happy to read about a different way of being linked to your community and the people in it.

Justin S said...

The Rosetans and their sense of community were remarkable. It was quite interesting that they could relocate their entire village, but eventualy, still be so close to one another. This sense of community is something that has been lost over the years.

Kiara Gay said...

I was amazed by the fact that the Roseto could go into such a foreign country, starting from scratch, and make something out of nothing. The Rosetans started off their lives in the New World with nothing, and were able to build stable homes and a community that was able to work together to function, while bringing about good health as a result. Also, I believe that the introduction gave insight for the rest of the book because the introduction about the Rosetans was to show how analyzing and research can bring about a further understanding of why things happen and how to get to where one is trying to go.