My first thought was, “That’s a lot of Roslings for one book!” So, let me explain who is who…
Hans Rosling is the main author and the farther of Ola Rosling. Anna Rosling Rönnlund is Ola Rosling’s wife and Hans Rosling’s daughter-in-law.
This family trio worked together to help combat “global ignorance” and the lack of public knowledge on global and demographic change.
What’s the book about?
The book is about our preconceived ideas and assumptions about the world we live in.
Factfuness uncovers “10 reasons why we’re wrong about the world, and why things are better than we think.”
These assumptions that we all make aren’t necessarily our fault. After all, our assumptions are only as good as the information which we are exposed to.
Much of the data that we see in the news or in TV advertising campaigns have been hand-picked specifically to prompt us to respond in a certain way.
Now, that in itself isn’t wrong. They’re not plucking false figures out of the air, but it does mean that we are receiving fragmented data and missing out on the bigger picture. This book helps you to see that big picture.
The book has 11 chapters. Each chapter discusses an instinct that we have and explains how we can overcome that instinct and open our minds to see that big picture.
The idea of the book is to help you avoid jumping to conclusions and enables you to stop relying on data that is incomplete or slightly skewed.
Because the book is very fact-based, it contains lots of data and graphs, which I enjoyed and found valuable.
I also liked the small questionnaire that the authors give you at the beginning of the book, which asks you questions about your current perceived view of the world, such as:
- Where does the majority of the world population live?
- What is the life expectancy in the world today?
- In all low-income countries across the world today, how many girls finish primary school?
- How many people in the world have access to some electricity?
- How did the number of deaths from natural disasters change over the last 100 years?
All these questions are multiple-choice, so you have several optional answers to choose from. The book then goes on to discuss why most people, including me, get the answers to these questions incorrect.
What did I think?
After reading the book, I do feel better about the world, and although there are still huge improvements to be made, it’s reassuring to know that we are moving in the right direction.
As crazy as it sounds, I also feel more worldly after reading this book, even though I haven’t left my house!
At the time of reading, COVID-19 was reaching epidemic status, and the book encouraged me to do my own research into the facts and figures around the virus, rather than just accepting what I was told by the media.
Overall, this is a very interesting book that I found extremely entertaining to read. I learned lots about how facts and figures are used, how they are handpicked, and how you can prevent yourself from having those instincts that cause you to jump to conclusions. I now understand how to look at the bigger picture and I understand more about the world today, and how we have made improvements.
I’d also like to add that although this is a general personal development book, I believe it would be of value to those who are interested in investing in emerging markets.
What did you think?
This review is my personal opinion of Factfulness.
If you’ve read this book, please leave your own review for it in the box below.
An essential read! Factfulness challenges your assumptions on global and demographic change. It contains ten instincts that distort our perceptions and demonstrates why the majority of us are wrong due to the fragmented data that we are exposed to. It's a hopeful book that helps you to see the world clearly.
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