outlier noun 1: Something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body. 2: a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample.

I am reading the book, Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. He begins the book by discussing the Roseto mystery. Roseto is the name of a small community in the Italian province of Foggia. You can click here for some in-depth information about the Roseto Effect I found online.  To summarize, Roseto is a small community in Pennsylvania that was discovered to be an “outlier” by a physician named Stewart Wolf. He was an expert in the 1950’s on heart disease, which was the leading cause of death for men under the age of 65. He was in Roseto speaking at a medical conference when he discovered from their local doctor that, unlike the rest of the country, heart disease here was an extremely rare diagnosis. Intrigued by this, Wolf executed an extensive, in-depth study and found out that NO ONE under the age of 55 had died of a heart attack or even showed any signs of heart disease. His conclusion was that “for men over age 65, the death rate from heart disease in Roseto was roughly half that of the United States as a whole. The death rate from all causes in Roseto, in fact, was 30 to 35 percent lower than expected.”

I could write for a long time to tell you how he confirmed it, but it had nothing to do with climate, eating habits, or any other physical factors. A sociologist from Oklahoma came in behind  him named John Bruhm. After spending a long time in Roseto with studies of his own, he wrote, “There was no suicide, no alcoholism, no drug addiction, and very little crime. They didn’t have anyone on welfare. Then we looked at peptic ulcers. they didn’t have any of those either. These people were dying of old age. That’s it.”

Both men studying the community came up with the same conclusion. The people of Roseto were socially connected with one another. They looked after one another. They worked hard, ate unhealthy, and smoked like freight trains. On Sundays, almost everyone was in church. After work, the homes’ front porches were filled with friends and family socializing after work.

I believe Jonesboro is unique in its own way. In my profession of helping people invest in real estate, businesses, etc. I get to meet numerous people who are moving into Jonesboro from another area. I have known people who only intended to come to Jonesboro temporarily, but still reside here and call Jonesboro their “home”.  They have made connections with individuals, organizations, and the community as a whole that hold immense value unmatched by others.  I believe this speaks volumes; whether it be friendships, organizations, churches, schools, or even employers, Jonesboro is a great place to live and raise a family.

I attended Central Baptist Church this morning, and Bro. Archie preached about how partiality and prejudices is inconsistent with the grace, nature, and word of God. My notes can be found here. This is a huge concept to grasp. We should befriend strangers who do not look like us, dress like us, and has no benefit to us?  God commands us to love others more than ourselves, and to put others interest before our own.  This is a foreign concept in a generation that teaches us to do the exact opposite.  However, I’m convinced that if we begin to put this command into action, we would see a huge transformation not only in the lives of those around us, but also ourselves.  If we, as a community, could master how to love our neighbor the way Jesus tells us to, we could turn Jonesboro into an OUTLIER of its own.

It is a large part of my job duty to “sell” our city to restaurants, retailers, manufacturers, and other people looking to invest in our city. However, it isn’t hard to sell something that you believe so strongly in.  I am proud to be from a city that speaks for itself – I have never visited a city with better churches, schools, employers, and neighborhoods. JHB

Source: Malcolm Gladwell | |2008 | Outliers: Story of Success | Little, Brown, and Company

Joshua Brown, CCIM | Jonesboro | Arkansas | Haag Brown Commercial

870 336 8000 | josh@haagbrown.com | www.haagbrown.com

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