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.
Statistics, boring, dry. We have a saying in Germany, "Never trust a statistic you haven't faked yourself" But this book showed what a beautiful tool statistics can be. How they can help us to understand our world, our life. This book shows that statistics or better, data can show us beauty and progress. This book helps the reader to see reality. Not the reality the media wants us to see but the reality which is the real life. The beauty of it is that this can be applied to how you look at the world's problems and to the challenges you and I face in our lives.
Factfulness is a truly inspiring book; it opens our thinking windows to our world and makes us see it like we never have before.
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 He surmises that we are wrong not because of out-of-date knowledge, but because our ingrained opinions are not based on facts.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.
Quite the eye opener. Definitely enjoyed the language of the author as it made for a fun read while conveying the facts well. I especially liked the 'I Don't Have Any Vision' story about the speech in 2013 at "The African Renaissance and Agenda for 2063 on page 180-181 as it perfectly surmised - at least my - current way of thinking, not that I can be proud to admit that but the idea is for us to realise and grow.
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.
Even if you don't read this book cover to cover, just scan it. Cherry pick it. It will make you pause and ask yourself, 'If my view of the world was so misaligned with how the world actually is, then what else am I thinking that is, in some way, harmful to the life I want to lead.' The question this book raised for me is how am I self-sabotaging? Loved it.
A refreshing read based on statistical data made available by the UN, provides the meat in the sandwich that is this book. I gained a lot of useful & current knowledge on concepts that are affecting us all on a global scale. Am delighted to see the world is catching up on health care,education & life expectancy. I am fearful that we're driving off a cliff regarding inaction on climate change.
This is not my usual fair, but something everyone needs to read to gain a better understanding of the world and how it is changing. Things are better than you think and it is important we realise why so we can understand what works.
One of the most important books of 2018 and well worth getting the hardback and audiobook. This book may well change your view on the current condition of civilization and the best plan forward. The world can be a much better place, and it's your job to do something about it.
"The next generation is like the last runner in a very long relay race. The race to end extreme poverty has been a marathon, with the starter gun fired in 1800." Hans Rosling, Factfulness: @HansRosling #progress #growth #tech #technology #science #business