Factfulness

Factfulness

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
1250107814
Branch Call Number: 302.12 RO
Characteristics: x, 342 pages : illustrations, charts ; 22 cm

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Recommended by Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft.

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k
kimgenly
May 26, 2019

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

s
SeattleSaul
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of ideas that everybody “knows are true” but aren’t. We have grown up with some pictures of the world that are decades out-of-date.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.

c
casualreader
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.

ontherideau Jan 31, 2019

A sensible look at how easy it is to have a distorted impression of progress in the world. Simply refreshing.

d
darcyhudjik
Jan 18, 2019

This is an excellent book on accurate data interpretation and how to overcome any biases we or the data presenter may have. This is a must read for those wishing to become data literate.

j
jmreid1220
Dec 29, 2018

One of Obama's Top Books of 2018

a
asishskaria
Dec 28, 2018

This is a fantastic book. It is a combination of Hans' life's work, a set of tools to filter facts and a wonderful but underrated story of human progression in the last century. I was impressed by Hans' Ted talk years ago and was saddened by his death but this book has exceeded my wildest expectations. So easy to read, so easy to understand and useful.

l
LizardElaine
Dec 09, 2018

How statistics can give you a completely wrong view of the world, if they are misinterpreted.

NFreaderNWPL Nov 23, 2018

A bunch of books on a similar theme came out this year. What sets this one apart is the emphasis on intellectual humility. (Stephen Pinker's latest, by contrast, has been faulted by reviewers for overreaching when it comes to the history of the Enlightenment.) Rosling (who died in 2017) had a talent for explaining things well, and as a result this book flies by. At the same time, he does an exceptional job here of using his own past mistakes to show the value of modesty in forming one's beliefs about where the trends around us are heading.

SkokieStaff_Steven Nov 14, 2018

Hans Rosling’s “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think” is really two books in one. On the one hand, it teaches us what to think, specifically that the world is improving by almost every measure of well-being that can be statistically analyzed. On the other hand, it teaches us how to think, that is, how to avoid those lazy habits of reasoning that falsely buttress our most gloomy or fearful assumptions. Rosling has spent much of his life speaking to diverse audiences throughout the world, and this is reflected in his breezy writing style, amply supported by anecdotes from his life. Anyone trying to make sense of our complicated world is likely to benefit from Rosling’s tutorial in clear thinking, while even I, a confirmed pessimist, found his analysis of global trend lines to be both enlightening and encouraging.

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dirtbag
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

p
paul1
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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