Today’s recommendation will be Factfulness - Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World - and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, first published in 2018.

Lets play a little game!

Instead of giving a plain recommendation or review of this book, why don’t you try to answer the following three questions without googleing; if you score less than two right answers, skip my review; you will definitely have to read this book!

Where does the majority of the world population live?

What is the life expectancy of the world today?

How many people in the world have some access to electricity?

Our intuition is flawed

I will just assume you have answered at least one of the questions wrong. And if I would pose those and similar questions to the general population, they will almost consistently get most of them wrong. This is not my assumption, this is a fact. Hans Rosling shows how we fall victim to a lot of biases, to selective perception of our world and filter-bubbles, which distorts our view on the problems of the world. And he wants to help and show us, how we can overcome these flaws with the help of facts: Factfulness.

Let’s use our data!

Factfulness was a fantastic read; both the narration style and chapter-length, short intermediate summaries and images made it very easy and entertaining. The book deals with data, facts, statistics and projections about the big social issues in the world, such as world hunger, poverty, child mortality, access to education and many more.

As far as Rosling got me convinced, even though there is a lot of issues that need to be tackled, we have come a long way and achieved a lot as the world society. And this means we need to continue to work to make things even better, but not in a panicked and desperate effort, but calm, rational and based on the available data, of which we have plenty nowadays.

Optimism in book form

This is all Factfulness is about and not only does it offer a refreshingly optimistic and realistic perspective on social issues but also gives advice on how we fall for popular misconceptions through media, intuition and natural instincts and how to avoid this and see the world how it is: by using facts, data and research. It is therefore not only providing hard facts but loads of advice how to be more critical towards our biases. This book is only the pinnacle of Roslings effort to better the world and educate non-experts on what the important issues are - and are not. So if you are interested in the topic in general, consider not only reading this book, but also have a look at one of his Ted Talks!

Further resources