The Outliers - The Roseto Mystery #smallbusiness #community

The Outliers - The Roseto Mystery #smallbusiness #community

In Malcom Gladwell's, The Outliers, the introduction story of the book gives credence to the concept of working together and the power of a group.

A hundred miles southeast of Rome in the Italian province of Foggia, sits a small town of Roseto, Valfortore. In 1882, a group of Rosetan's set their course for New York.

What does this have to do with local?

Hang in there.  It's an very interesting story of a group of immigrants.

Like many adventurers, this particular group from a far-away land spent their first night wondering what they were to do in their new found homeland.

Soon, they eventually headed west to a town called Bangor, Pennsylvania where they could apply their skills from working in the quarry back in Italy.

This is where the adventure began and this group of Italians eventually found comfort in together.

Twelve years later after the first settling was complete, one-by-one, some 1200 other villagers from Roseto, Italy left their home  and the vast majority settled in this Pennsylvania town, in the United States.

Roseto, valfortore, italiy

Roseto Valfortore Viliage - Credit Travel With Carol Ann

Talk about community.

Early in the settlement, with the help of a young priest, these immigrants started to truly develop a sense of community, planting vegetables, making wine, attending schools, parks and building all the amenities to develop a community.

They even changed the town name to Roseto

Factories sprang up, and more immigrants came to the surrounding areas, but Roseto, still was largely an Italian community where in the early turn of the 20th century, the primary language spoken in this new land remained Italian.

For 50, 60 years, this town remained isolated, and self sufficient, not much affected this tiny little town until a Physician named Wolf that spent summers on a farm near Roseto spoke with a fellow Physician at a nearby conference.

That doctor, from the Roseto area pointed out that rarely did he see or treat someone from the this curious town with heart disease.

The Study

This set off Dr. Wolf's curiosity and a study on the town began to formulate.

Heart disease was the number one killer in the U.S. back in the 60s and to hear of a town so potentially isolated from this disease was peculiar. Fascinating.

Looking at medical history of the town, they found the death rates from heart disease were roughly half the rate of the rest of the country.

Wolf thought for sure that the Rosetans must have held on to some special diet from Italy.  This was quickly realized as untrue as Rosetans not only ate lard instead of the much healthier olive oil back home, but a whopping 41 percent of their calories came from fat.

Not too many people got up early in the morning to do Tai Chi either.

The Thought

As Wolf continued the study, he realized or felt strongly at least, that it wasn't the diet, the lack of exercise or even the air that resulted in these low levels of heart disease.

What was truly apparent to Wolf from the around town walk-a-bouts, was the 'talking in the streets', the backyard barbecues, the number of homes that had 3 generations living under one roof.

These habits seem to have had a tremendous effect on the HEALTH OF THIS COMMUNITY. There were 22 different civic organizations, the wealthy didn't flaunt their money, but helped the less successful improve upon their status.

By transfering this paesani culture, and perhaps even improving upon it, Roseto has isolated themselves from many of the stresses of the outside world.

As the two concluded their studies, and reminisced back to the early visits of Roseto, they recounted people being together, talking to each other and just expressing levels of harmony that they had never seen.

Presentation of the findings.

Well of course, when Wolf and his partner presented their "scientific findings" at conferences, they were of course faced with skepticism.

Skepticism by the way is not a skill that supports lower levels of heart disease.

We digress.

Nevertheless, they were tasked with convincing their fellow professionals that this phenomenon was not tied to any individual or statistic, but the health of the individual was tied to the community.

Go Farther Working Together

At Klusster, we feel the same way.  The current structure of online and local marketing tied to the individual perhaps doesn't lay true appreciation to the town of Roseto where the health of the individual is tied to being part of a community and not some magical thing any one business can do. allows groups to get together and build online publications laying health to not just the individual, but the entire group.

I am a big fan Malcom Gladwell.  His writings always provide me sources of inspiration. Check out the book Outliers and see how your local business can benefit from the mindset of joining a group.

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Read the Book....

malcom, gladwell

Roseto Mystery, The Outliers