Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Book - 2018
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"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. In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective--from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) 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."--Amazon.com
Publisher: New York :, Flatiron Books,, 2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250107817
Branch Call Number: 302.12 RO
Characteristics: x, 342 pages : illustrations, charts ; 22 cm


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2018 longlist

Recommended by Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft.

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Jan 20, 2020

Factfulness presents the best argument for immunization I have ever seen. (Read the chapter notes too – 35% of people in France are skeptical of the value of vaccinations versus 0% of people from Bangladesh. I suspect the 0% figure comes from Bangladeshi collective memory of the 7% (1) child mortality rate measles (2) used to bring.

(1) World wide 1990. Higher in rural Bangladesh that year?
(2) “Most children who catch measles recover, but there is still no cure and even with the best of modern medicine one or two in every thousand will die of it.”

Book teaches how to frame and correct our thinking about the changing world. The flyleaf quotes Bill Gates: “One of the most important books I’ve ever read – and indispensible guide to thinking clearly about the world.” Well put.

IndyPL_LeahK Dec 26, 2019

I’ll admit I sometimes can be pessimistic about the world. Can you blame me? Sometimes a person needs some good news and a new framework with which to see the world. Published posthumously, Hans Rosling challenges the reader to a 13 fact question quiz about the world to illustrate how outdated our thinking may be. I will not disclose my dismal score on said quiz, but I will tell you I enjoyed the fact based evidence Rosling provides detailing that some things are actually getting better. If you need an uplifting perspective about the world, check out this book. And if you want to see Rosling's sword swallowing, check out his TED Talk.

SCL_Heather Dec 21, 2019

A nice book to end the year with. I find I do tend to feel a constant despair about the state of the world and the subtitle of this book captured my attention. While I think the author necessarily simplifies some of his ideas, it did make me feel better and offered some useful suggestions on how to reframe our thinking.

Dec 19, 2019

practical and common sense advice on how to deal with the BS we are continually subjected to

HelenMep Dec 04, 2019

As someone who worries an awful lot about the goings-on in the world this book was a very welcome read. It introduces you to facts about the world that can challenge what you thought you knew, whilst making you realise just how twisted and misleading what you read and see in the media can be.

JCLChrisK Sep 07, 2019

An accessible and easy to read important book. It is loaded with well explained and illustrated tools to correct some of the worst instincts of human nature and teaches readers to see the world more clearly. Recommended to everyone.

Jul 07, 2019

One of the best books read in 2 days!

May 26, 2019

One of the best books I have read in a long, long time.

May 10, 2019

A large sampling of ideas that everybody “knows are true” but aren’t. We have grown up with some pictures of the world that are decades out-of-date. Rosling has conducted hundreds of interviews, and most people get most of them wrong most of time. Not just the poor and uneducated made these errors, but the well-educated in prosperous countries do as poorly or worse. He divides the world into four groups, not just “developing” and “developed” as in most of our media. For example, I did not know that 80% of children have been vaccinated against disease, the birth rate is closing in on replacement level everywhere, or that by age 30 men have had 10 years of schooling vs. 9 (and presumed less) for women.
The author has backed up his words with copious references to respected sources. Written in down-to-earth style and examples from his field work, and easy to read.
His view is hopeful and thinks that we all should be because the world is probably better than we think, but he still expresses concern about nuclear war, pandemic, and economic collapse. He is very open about the mistakes he had made in a rush to judgement in the past and cautions us not to assume that every rustling in the bushes is a tiger. You will very likely find that many of the beliefs you have are incorrect and that will help you make better decisions in the future.

May 07, 2019

Provides great evidence that the world is getting better in terms of social aspects. Doesn't cover the global warming and climate change nearly enough. Still trying to figure out how to use the 10 biases he pointed out to make better judgements about the world. Perhaps it just takes practice.

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JCLChrisK Sep 07, 2019

Every group of people I ask thinks the world is more frightening, more violent, and more hopeless—in short, more dramatic—than it really is.

JCLChrisK Sep 07, 2019

Here’s the paradox: the image of a dangerous world has never been broadcast more effectively than it is now, while the world has never been less violent and more safe.

JCLChrisK Sep 07, 2019

“When someone threatens you with a machete, never turn your back. Stand still. Look him straight in the eye and ask him what the problem is.”

JCLChrisK Sep 07, 2019

Resist blaming any one individual or group of individuals for anything. Because the problem is that when we identify the bad guy, we are done thinking. And it's almost always more complicated than that. It's almost always about multiple interacting causes--a system. If you really want to change the world, you have to understand how it actually works. . . . Blaming an individual often steals the focus from other possible explanations and blocks our ability to prevent similar problems in the future. . . . Accept that bad things can happen without anyone intending them to.”

Oct 02, 2018

Canada's per capita CO2 emissions are still twice as high as China's and eight times as high as India's. pg 215

Jul 28, 2018

"Keep track of gradual improvements. A small change every year can translate to a huge change in decades." page 184


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