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

Book - 2018
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"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. But Factfulness 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

Factfulnes s: 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.

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.

Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is 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.

Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250107817
Branch Call Number: 302.12 R732F 2018
Characteristics: x, 342 pages : illustrations, maps (some color), charts ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Rosling, Ola
Rönnlund, Anna Rosling


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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.

Feb 13, 2019

I will believe Factfulness [blurbed by Bill Gates] when I see an indepth story carried by the PuppetMedia detailing how wherever Gates Foundation-financed Oxitec released genetically engineered mosquitoes, a subsequent explosion in the Zika virus occurred.

Feb 12, 2019

This is an engaging, upbeat, thoroughly enjoyable and readable book! It is easy to feel bad about the state of the world today, and this book demonstrates (by using real facts!) that things have improved and are improving much more than we realize.

In fact, one of the most important lessons of this book is: Things can be bad, and still be improving. I am going to remember that when I get discouraged about today's world!

The author begins by describing a test that he has given to people all over the world. Most people do very poorly on this test (worse than chimpanzees answering randomly). All the questions are there in the Introduction; every reader can take the test.

Then he spends the rest of the book showing that things are far more positive than we think. Yes, there are still problems in the world, but things are MUCH better than they used to be!

For example, many (most?) people think there is a big gap between “developed” countries and “developing” countries. That used to be true in 1965, but today most people (75%) live in middle income countries. The terms “developed” countries and “developing” countries are outdated and not accurate today. Our worldviews are woefully out of date!

There are 10 instincts discussed in this book: the Gap Instinct, the Negativity Instinct, the Straight Line Instinct, the Fear Instinct, the Size Instinct, the Generalization Instinct, the Destiny Instinct, the Single Perspective Instinct, the Blame Instinct, and the Urgency Instinct. In each chapter, the author walks us through the test questions that were answered incorrectly, shows us what is factually correct, and then ends the chapter with tips to help us think more critically.

Every reader will find interesting insights in this book! Enjoy!

ontherideau Jan 31, 2019

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

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.

Dec 29, 2018

One of Obama's Top Books of 2018

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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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