Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

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When thinking about facts and figures, most people would have a pretty bleak outlook of the world we live in these days. And yet, when looking at the data, it turns out we’re doing much better than we think. The late Hans Rosling defines Factfulness as “the stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.” Armed with these facts, our ability to focus on real threats becomes more powerful.

“I’m not an optimist. That makes me sound naive. I’m a very serious “possibilist”. That’s something I made up. It means someone who neither hopes without reason, nor fears without reason, someone who constantly resists the overdramatic worldview. As a possibilist, I see all this progress, and it fills me with conviction and hope that further progress is possible. This is not optimistic. It is having a clear and reasonable idea about how things are. It is having a worldview that is constructive and useful.”

Hans Rosling, Factfulness

This book will undoubtedly expand your horizons with factual data that shows how every indicator, like the global poverty rate, has significantly improved. The knowledge you’ll get from this book will put you above the level of a chimpanzee, which is still a higher level than journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers. This is based on a set of state-of-the-world, multiple-choice questions the author used to test various groups of people worldwide. You’re probably wondering if the media keeps showing you the horrors of the world, how can things be better?

“Forming your worldview by relying on the media would be like forming your view about me by looking only at a picture of my foot.”

Hans Rosling, Factfulness

One of the book’s big takeaways is a fantastic context to explain how our society makes decisions regarding information. We’re talking about everything, from our social media shares and, yes, the news that gets the most coverage. It’s a matter of perspective and the shock tactics that make your brain cells fire like crazy. It even helped me understand why specific marketing tactics are so entrenched in our culture these days (and he doesn’t even talk about marketing in the book!)

“Remember: things can be bad, and getting better.”

Hans Rosling, Factfulness

And the book is also excellent in creating the awareness that positive and opportunities for improvement can exist together. Progress in global poverty levels does not mean we’ve eradicated poverty. We shouldn’t stop our efforts to lift societies from economic inequality. But we should also celebrate our accomplishments so far. An enlightening and enjoyable read I can absolutely recommend to everyone!

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