- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Flatiron Books (April 3, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250107814
- ISBN-13: 978-1250107817
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 613 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think Hardcover – April 3, 2018
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“One of the most important books I’ve ever read―an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.” – Bill Gates
“Hans Rosling tells the story of ‘the secret silent miracle of human progress’ as only he can. But Factfulness does much more than that. It also explains why progress is so often secret and silent and teaches readers how to see it clearly.” ―Melinda Gates
"Factfulness by Hans Rosling, an outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases." - Former U.S. President Barack Obama
“Wonderful… a passionate and erudite message that is all more moving because it comes from beyond the grave… His knack for presentation and delight in statistics come across on every page. Who else would choose a chart of 'guitars per capita' as a proxy for human progress?” ―The Financial Times
“[Factfulness] throws down a gauntlet to doom-and-gloomers in global health by challenging preconceptions and misconceptions [and] is a fabulous read, succinct and lively… This magnificent book ends with a plea for a factual world view. Rosling was optimistic that this outlook will spread, because it is a useful navigational tool in a complex world, and a genuine antidote to negativity and hopelessness.” ―Nature
"Like any good statistician, Rosling uses the tools of his trade (namely, graphs, charts and lots of questionnaires) to argue we're doing too much feeling and not enough thinking when it comes to assessing the world…His goal is to change the way we see the world." ―Business Insider
“In an accessible, almost folksy prose, Rosling identifies various reasons why so many of us have ended up with so many faulty ideas about our world.” ―Booklist
"In Hans Rosling’s hands, data sings. Global trends in health and economics come to vivid life. And the big picture of global development―with some surprisingly good news―snaps into sharp focus." ―TED
"Three minutes with Hans Rosling will change your mind about the world." ―Nature
“If you need a break from the mainstream media message about how the world is falling apart, I can highly recommend this fact-filled and super fun book. In fact, I might even suggest that this book should be the starting place for any kind of discussion about economics, politics, and the state of the world in general.” ―Seeking Alpha
About the Author
Hans Rosling was a medical doctor, professor of international health and renowned public educator. He was an adviser to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, and co-founded Médecins sans Frontières in Sweden and the Gapminder Foundation. His TED talks have been viewed more than 35 million times, and he was listed as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Hans died in 2017, having devoted the last years of his life to writing Factfulness.
Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Hans's son and daughter-in-law, were co-founders of the Gapminder Foundation, and Ola its director from 2005 to 2007 and from 2010 to the present day. After Google acquired the bubble-chart tool called Trendalyzer, invented and designed by Anna and Ola, Ola became head of Google's Public Data Team and Anna the team’s senior user experience (UX) designer. They have both received international awards for their work.
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It ought to be required reading at the high school level IMHO.
It's very well written and readable (the author is famous for his Ted talks on the subject). He really wants to help everyone understand and learn how to better evaluate what they hear about the world.
A couple notes: you can download a whole chapter of the book from Bill Gates web site if you want to read more of it in advance. The Kindle version is currently broken on some devices (at least my Chromebook running the Android Kindle app) where it won't render any page contents properly unless you tap to zoom out to the page browsing mode where it does look correct.
This book is a treasure trove of evidence based reasoning, global statistics and myth busting! I read it just after finishing Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. These books have a lot in common, both in goal and tone, but I enjoyed Rosling's book much more.
Unless you have watched Roslings famous lectures (available on TED and Youtube), this book will forever change the way you understand global health, demography and development.
Dr. Rosling’s stories of working as a medical doctor in some of the countries that many Westerners would lump under the stereotype of an impoverished “Third World” are as real as it gets. His stories from the field illustrate the devastating results that our ignorance and biases can create. But others so clearly show the progress we, as a species, have made as a result of our better understanding of the facts.
I would definitely recommend reading both Enlightenment Now, for a more academic and research-based perspective, and Factfulness, for its memorable stories that drive home the need for fact-based thinking.
I really like the way he breaks-down data into quartiles and tries to explain issues based on income and education. I wish he used quintiles. I like the way he mostly avoids partisanship and advocates a blend of fact-based analysis, necessary regulation, and free markets. His criticisms of "activists" and their methods are quite revealing but he needed to spend some time on the "other side" which hysterically oppose the "activists." "Fairness" and "good data" should trump advocacy. HIs critique of the media is quite refreshing.
It is possible that Dr. Rosling places too much emphasis on income, and dismisses too easily other sociological factors in explaining human behavior and what I call societal progress, including income. Correlation studies are not causality studies. The 9/11 terrorists were often either very rich or came from rich families and were educated. Many of their followers are drawn from poverty, but some are not. Other factors appear to be as important as education and economic level. Native culture, religion, and tribalism really do affect economic and social progress, and in this Dr. Rosling may very well be off the mark.
The late Dr. Rosling was guilty of some of the accusations he directed at others, both named and unnamed. His grasp of economics was stereotypically shallow and somewhat naïve, and he spends almost no time digging into it beyond the usual pot-shots at "big-business" and "big-pharma." He spent no time on "bad governance" per se, which may be the biggest factor of all. This is unfortunate, as economics and bad governance are at least as important as the topics he covers so well. At times I was left with the impression that he wanted to have things "both ways." I think that his time spent providing free care to the desperately poor in Africa may have affected his judgement a bit, but that is understandable and forgivable. HIs attempt to not "offend" the reader may have resulted in some ambiguity.
A follow-up book with more depth would be great, only Dr. Rosling is dead.
The physical book itself is not the highest quality and some of the printing related to the many graphs is in very small font and very faintly printed, making it difficult to read if you are over 30. Hopefully this can be corrected in future editions. Also, while the book contains pages of "Sources" in the back, there is no traditional footnoting and linked cross-referencing to those "Sources," making it impossible to really check his assertions against his sources.
I strongly recommend this book to everyone. A good gift for those who tend to believe "alternate facts." Maybe they can learn to focus on "real" facts and understand what they really mean. Or not. We each make our own decisions.