Review: Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

by @edent | # #

Factfulness - Hans Rosling

Book cover for Factfulness.
Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts. When asked simple questions about global trends - why the world's population is increasing; how many young women go to school; how many of us live in poverty - we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

This book was an absolute tonic to read on holiday. The world can be a scary and confusing place - and it is made worse by our fragile, meaty brains and their biases. Rosling attempts, successfully, to change that.

It neatly shows how the zeitgeist varies immensely from reality. We're bombarded with messages of despair - and rarely get to hear the good news about how many children are vaccinated.

Are things bad and getting worse? No, they're better than we think and improving all the time.

We quite often are taught a view of the world which was accurate when our teachers were receiving their education. The world is changing too fast for that to be any use. What's scary is how many powerful people take action based on their beliefs - rather than from the easily available data.

If you need a stats-based pick-me-up, I heartily recommend giving this a go.

This book is my last battle in my life-long mission to fight devastating ignorance… Previously I armed myself with huge data sets, eye-opening software, an energetic learning style and a Swedish bayonet for sword-swallowing. It wasn’t enough. But I hope this book will be.
 — Hans Rosling, February 2017.

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