Factfulness [review]


Title: Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
Authors: Hans RoslingOla Rosling, and Anna Rosling Rönnlund
Publisher: Sceptre


Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.

When asked simple questions about global trends—what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school—we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective—from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse).

Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases.

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most.

Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future. 

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[My Review]

This is the first non-fiction book I’ve read in a while where I’ve found myself really wanting to keep reading, therefore progressing through it really quickly.

For me Factfulness is such a great read because a) you really feel like you’re learning from it, and learning information which is really topical and applicable to today’s world and b) it’s easy to read and digest, with language that’s simple enough to follow but not condescending. It starts off with a quiz and I have to admit I scored really badly on it. As the book continues you start to realize that a lot of what we think today is so unfluenced by the media, politics, and various other factors – meaning we often think things are worse than they actually are. Because of this, Factfulness is in many ways a pretty positive read, which I found refreshing and reassuring!

I would definitely recommend this book. It has enough stories to accompany the facts and it’s very readable. Even if you’re not a big non-fiction reader (like me) I’d recommend giving it a go – you might be surprised!

[Rating: 4/5]




    • Not at all, I’m the same – it’s really interesting and definitely makes for good conversation starters! I borrowed the book from the library though and now I wish I had a copy to reference in conversations when I’ve forgotten the exact statistics (bad memory!)

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