Outliers: The Story of Success | Study Guide

Malcolm Gladwell

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Course Hero, "Outliers: The Story of Success Study Guide," December 11, 2017, accessed September 24, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Outliers-The-Story-of-Success/.

Outliers: The Story of Success | Introduction : The Roseto Mystery | Summary

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Key Takeaways

  • In the 1960s Dr. Stewart Wolf discovered the rate of death from heart disease in Roseto, Pennsylvania, was half that of the rest of the United States. Nearly all the inhabitants of Roseto were descendants of the town's original inhabitants, the majority of which immigrated from Roseto Valfortore, Italy, in the late 1800s. Stewart and a team of doctors tested all who were willing from the entire population to find out if genetics and diet played a role in the population's good health. These factors didn't. Then the team looked at the town's location, which is in the foothills of eastern Pennsylvania. That didn't seem to have any effect either. Researchers then looked at the town itself. Roseto's social structure was unusual. Everyone knew everyone else, and in many homes three generations lived under one roof. The Rosetans' community and way of life were keeping them healthy.
  • Roseto was an outlier, a person, place, or thing that is an exception to the rule.
  • Dr. Stewart Wolf and sociologist John Bruhn, the lead investigators of the Roseto phenomenon, had to convince their peers to look beyond "an individual's personal choices or actions in isolation." Culture, lifestyle, and values also have an enormous impact.
  • In Outliers author Malcolm Gladwell hopes to "do for our understanding of success what Stewart Wolf did for our understanding of health."
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