Updated: Jan 24

Hans Rosling

Ten reasons we’re wrong about the world -- and why things are better than you and I think. Inspiring and revelatory, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world!

What’s it about?

When asked simple questions about global trends, we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that chimpanzees choosing answers at random will consistently outguess journalists, Nobel Laureates and investment bankers.

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. But we’re inclined to worry about everything all the time because of the way news and media portray such views to us. In Factfulness, professor of International Health and global Ted phenomenon Hans Rosling offers a radical new explanation of why this happens and reveals the ten instincts that distort our perspective.

These range from the fear instinct (we pay more attention to scary things) to the size instinct (standalone numbers often look more impressive than they really are) to the gap instinct (most people fall between two extremes). With each one, he offers practical advice about how to overcome our innate biases.

What I liked about the book?

If you’re a fan of Ted Talks, there’s a good chance that you’ve come across Hans Rosling. He’s got ten talks featured on the Ted website. Just like his enjoyable talks, this book makes for an enjoyable yet enlightening read.

We’ve been inclined to see countries one of two ways -- either rich or poor countries. Hans calls those labels “outdated” and “meaningless”. Instead, he offers a better framework of how to see the world. He proposes 4 levels, dividing countries based on income groups, with the majority being on Level 2. This was a breakthrough idea!

Hans highlights ten instincts that keep us from viewing the world fact fully. Not only is this eye-opening, but he also provides us with practical solutions for overcoming such innate biases.

What makes this such a fun and easy read is that in order to make the truckload of data less intimidating, Hans fills the chapters with lively anecdotes and moving stories in order for the readers to understand these biases better.

“Forming your worldview by relying on the media would be like forming your view about me by looking only at a picture of my foot.”

What did I not like about the book?

There’s very little I can say about not liking this book.

The book contains a huge amount of data which can be quite intimidating at first glance. For readers who hate interpreting data, this might be a challenge.

The book has drawn criticism from some sets of people who claim that reaching such conclusions simply based on statistics is unwise and creates a falsely bright worldview.

The sad thing is that the author sadly passed away while the book was nearing completion. His immense knowledge would have been so beneficial for us. Unfortunately, there’s not gonna be a sequel to Factfulness (weeps quietly).

My verdict-

It’s easy to switch on the news and get depressed about how the entire world is doomed and there’s nothing that can save us. This book provides a timely reminder of why progress is so often secret and silent. It teaches people how to see it clearly. Factfulness is an important book for everyone as it makes us less susceptible to the “always pessimistic and fear-inducing” media of today. Recommended by people like Bill Gates and Barack Obama, Factfulness is an essential read for developing a fact-based worldview!

Rating - 10/10

You can check out this book for yourself by clicking on the link below!

Thank you for reading my review. Hope you enjoy the book!

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