INSTANTNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "One of the most important books I've ever read--an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world." - Bill Gates "Hans Rosling tells the story of 'the secret silent miracle of human progress' as only he can. ButFactfulness does much more than that. It also explains why progress is so often secret and silent and teaches readers how to see it clearly."--Melinda Gates "Factfulness by Hans Rosling, an outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases." - Former U.S. President Barack Obama Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts. When asked simple questions about global trends--what percentage of the world's population live in poverty; why the world's population is increasing; how many girls finish school--we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers. InFactfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offersa radical new explanation of why this happens. They revealthe ten instincts that distort our perspective--from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version ofus andthem) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse). Our problem is that we don't know what we don't know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases. It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn't mean there aren't real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most. Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories,Factfulnessis an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future. --- "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.
People like to talk about books that change your life. I think what is more extraordinary is books that change the way you think.
This is one of those books.
Anyone who claims himself/herself to be a clear thinking person should read this.
- Look for causes not villains.
- Be wary of lonely numbers.
- Always look for trends.
- The four levels instead of developing/developed.
- Always question genelerizations.
- The right here right now, the rushing of desicions.
to be a major focus on negative aspects of our word. It turns out our world is a much better place and state than most of us envision.This book will change the way you see the world.
The author of this book argues that an amazingly large proportion of ordinary educated people are woefully ignorant of the true state of the world. The examples he cites have to do mostly with knowledge of the UN's global development statistics, but I presume that similar ignorance reigns in other areas as well. One reason for ignorance is that political activists are eager to exaggerate their point by distorting and cherry-picking their statistics. Another is that news media are eager to do the same as they compete with each other. The audience of these activists and news media are in turn eager to sign up for a good cause on emotional grounds, but reluctant to check and criticize the purported facts that motivate the cause.
This book presents ten pitfalls that common sense reasoning can lead to and recommends a few simple practices for avoiding each one. Based on what the author writes, most people will not have thought about these things before. Even if you belong in the minority which more or less knew this stuff already, the pitfalls are still summarized and explained so elegantly and clearly in this book that the hours you spend reading it will have been spent well. The discussion is quite brief, and personally I would have preferred a deeper analysis of the root causes behind this ignorance. Political activists and news media are exonerated far too easily by the author even though they mostly just soil their own den with shortsighted misrepresentation of the truth.
The book is an easy read and it will no doubt reach a broad audience, just like the author seems to have done in his lifetime. Hopefully most of his readers will be led to do more thinking and comparing before supporting political causes, and not just to be more sceptical about all facts.
This book is a bit math heavy and there are times it is a bit dense of a read. There are graphs and stats and the more you understand about math the better you will probably enjoy this book.
The writer also has some TED talks available on YouTube and I recommend looking at those before reading the book. You will get a feel for what this book is about and the content within.
One thing to be aware of is that stats can be bent around to prove different points so how accurate all this info is can be hard to determine. But, the overall information seems logical to me based on my studies and what I have learned from history.
I really loved how the author admits that there are many things we can still improve on in the world. The math says this is one of the best times in human history to live but hopefully we can make a future that is even better.
I loved how he didn't sweep the very real concerns of modern life and the pitfalls under the rug. The author admits that there are areas for improvement and hopefully the number of people living in poverty keeps dropping while life expectancy keeps improving.
I really enjoyed this book and feel that it is hugely beneficial for people who maybe are suffering because they believe the world is terrible and all doom and gloom. The math says things are better. The math says things can keep improving. Don't lose hope despite the things we see on social media that makes the world look like a scary terrible place far removed from the idealized images of the past portrayed by the media and society.
We read "Factfulness" for the Manly Book Club last month. I cannot recommend it more. It's one of those books that, like law school, teaches you more about how to think than what to think (though there is a lot of data and "what to think" that Hans Rosling mixes in, as well). Full of interesting ideas, anecdotes, and optimism, as well as lots and lots of charts and infographics, I found Factfulness a fascinating, thought-provoking, and humbling book to read. I didn't agree with everything in it, but it taught me much and made me feel more humble.
Read it. I'll buy you lunch if you don't get something from the experience.
EVERYONE should read this, it'd be a whole lot better and better informed world if they did.
If you've never heard of him before, Rosling was a Swede who started life as a medical doctor, working in many different countries across the world before his experience led him into the world of research. There, he made a name for himself as a renowned public educator, advising WHO and UNICEF. He also co-founded Médecins Sans Frontières in Sweden, spoke at numerous international conferences and become a bit of a TED Talks legend. This career journey led him on a path to becoming a champion about people properly understanding the true facts of global issues, as in his experience no matter how senior or educated the individual, there was a common thread of not working to the right set of facts, or at least interpreting the facts correctly. He co-founded Gapminder with his son and daughter-in-law, which is focused on the elimination of ignorance in the world around issues such as global poverty, climate change and education.
Gosling was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer just as he was starting to write this book with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund, so it's truly a swansong of the most important things he'd learnt about misconceptions and ignorance on world issues. Written in a very accessible format (i.e. you don't need to be a maths geek to appreciate it), Rosling shows us how our assumptions and interpretations of information are often wrong, and at the end of every chapter gives life tips on how to interpret facts going forward so that we get the full picture. And it's fascinating stuff. Rosling refers to himself as a possibilist rather than an optimist, and in this book works to demonstrate how much the world has progressed and is actually improving in most areas, despite the doom and gloom outlook that's presented to us in the press. Across 10 chapters he explains 10 different issues that cause us to go with the wrong takeaways from information, such as our urgency instinct and destiny instinct, and explains how world poverty (or wealth) should not be viewed from the perspective of developed world / undeveloped world - or 'them' and 'us' - but rather as 4 different levels of income.
Where Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund come in is that they have made a name for themselves creating a different way of visually presenting this type of data, and the book is packed full of their interesting graphics which really do help the data stick in your head than the usual line graphs or bar charts.
Spookily, Hans Rosling states towards the end of the book that he believes there are 5 main issues of concern still in the world, and #1 on his list was the risk of a global pandemic, because we'd been there before and it was highly likely. Given Rosling's understanding of the media needing to make their living from reporting depressing rather than optimistic news, I wish he was still around to give us the true facts on COVID-19, as we're all aware of how much inconsistency there is in the data being reported.
4 stars - a superbly interesting and thought-provoking read that will stick with me.
The best takeaway of this book is 'world can be both bad and better'. Knowing that things are a lot better from what it was last year, last decade, last century, will assist us to improve things even more.
I've heard this from multiple experts that Statistics is the zenith of Mathematics. This book proves that again. Being able to interpret Statistical results helps us in many domains - how not to fall for the averages, the negativity instinct and the media bias are just a couple of examples that are demonstrated in the book.
"When you hear about something terrible, calm yourself by asking, if there had been an equally large positive improvement, would I have heard about that?" - a simple statement, but would take years of practice to follow.
Each chapter ends with a 'Factfulness...' statement that succinctly tells what the chapter was all about and what we learned from those examples. I would not recommend skipping the chapter and finish the book by just reading those 'Factfulness' statements though.
A few years ago, I watched Dr Rosling's TedTalk some time back and I was deeply impressed by his graphs and how he explained them. 'The greater the understanding, the lesser the number of variables used in the explanation.' - the simplicity of the author's language reminded me of this statement while reading most parts of the book.