- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Sceptre; 1 edition (26 March 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 147363749X
- ISBN-13: 978-1473637498
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 336 g
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
7,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #4317 in Business & Economics
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Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think Paperback – 10 Jan 2019
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'A hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases.' BARACK OBAMA
Timely, short and essential, FACTFULNESS reveals the power of facts in a post-truth world, by late international sensation Hans Rosling ('a true inspiration' - Bill Gates) and his long-term collaborators Ola and Anna.
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As Scott Adams explains in Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter, people are persuaded mainly through emotion even though we think that we arrived at a position through rational arguments based on facts.
Rosling does address several issues with facts:
- how accurate is the data?
- they are contested (especially if they seem to conflict with one's beliefs)
- barriers to access to facts - not all facts are readily accessible to everyone either through cost, knowing where to look, or understanding what the facts mean.
- political agendas behind the collection and dissemination of facts.
Rosling's anecdotes help to expand on his points.
The author of the book is Hans Rosling, a professor of international health and a world-renowned public educator. Hans has presented his statistics and charts at several UN, World Economic Forum and other public and private forums. He has some very captivating talks at TED. He and his son Ola and daughter-in-law Anna have been instrumental in developing the “moving bubble chart” presentation that would wow any audience (watch his TED talks).
In this book the author Hans Rosling asserts, supported by his personal experiences, that we are largely wrong about our knowledge on the progress of humankind. He surmises that we are wrong not because of out-of-date knowledge, but because our ingrained opinions are not based on facts. He calls this the “overdramatic worldview” which is fed by news that makes us think the world is getting more violent, more frightening and more hopeless. He opines that if we don’t control our dramatic worldview, we might focus on wrong priorities or reach incorrect conclusions.
He starts the book with a startling set of 13 questions; and challenges us to perform better than chimpanzees (who might pick 33% answers correctly). He comforts his reader that even the well-educated, the Nobel laureates, the renowned economists have fared worse than the chimpanzees.
By the end of the book, Hans will convince you, based on facts from UN and presented in form of charts and tables, that the world is improving “not on every single measure every single year, but as a rule… This is a fact-based worldview”. He uses several charts and statistics to prove his point including a chart on “guitars per capita” as a statistic on human progress!!! By exposing our human instincts, Hans provide tips to his readers in controlling those instincts.
Why do we divide the world into “West and the rest” “developing and developed countries” (gap instinct) when facts show that the gap between these worlds has almost disappeared? “Factfulness is … recognizing when a decision feels urgent and remembering that it rarely is” (urgency instinct)? Are we not generalising the destiny of a continent like Africa (destiny instinct) and thereby foregoing the vast investment opportunities there for the smaller gains we make in the West? Instead of generalising countries into developed and developing countries, Hans prefers to group them into 4 levels based on the income. (Blame instinct) “remembering that blaming an individual often steals the focus from other possible explanations and blocks our ability to prevent similar problems in the future”.
As Hans puts it “This is data as you have never known it: it is data as therapy. It is understanding as a source of mental peace. Because the world is not as dramatic as it seems.” This book makes a compelling read. It presents a socio-economic story based on facts from UN and other organisations and presented by Hans in his own quintessential style. He exposes our own personal prejudices and instincts and enforces upon us to use a fact-based worldview.
It was definitely written for it's time so you need to consciously remember when it was written. I think the fundamental concept will remain valid for many years but for the years to come you need to remember it's based on a particular time of the world and not necessarily the current reality.
Factfulness as a book is a most valuable contribution to correctly realigning our worldview.
Factfulness as a code for living is even more important because it stretches us to make sure that what we know is right and, more importantly, how we respond is appropriate.
What a legacy has been left by Hans.