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Publisher's Summary

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

When asked simple questions about global trends - why the world's population is increasing; how many young women go to school; how many of us live in poverty - we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers. 

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and a man who can make data sing, Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens, and reveals the 10 instincts that distort our perspective. 

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. 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. 

©2018 Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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Awakening book

This is one of the greatest books I have ever read. It wakes me up and make me more humble about my knowledge of the world and my analytical capability.

It is well-written and the concepts are beautifully demonstrated.

The most important part of the book is that it is based on real life experiences that the author himself lived while he traveled to different parts of the world.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A masterpiece!

Great content, better than I expected. The story was really good and I loved the examples from Hans life. It made the book more authentic.

The narrator did a great job, and made the experience very pleasant.

I can therefore recommend this book to everyone who want's to broaden there perspectives, become more sceptical, but in the same time, understand the world with a new set of eyes.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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An antidote to panic-driven worldviews

I put this book in the same category as Pinker’s recent Enlightenment Now and the earlier Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley. The book provides a lot of facts about the world and how the world has changed over the last five decades, and the facts are indeed encouraging. Hans Rosling is careful to point out that he does not like being called an optimist because it insinuates some degree of naivety. Hans Rosling prefers to be called a realist, and I think – he sees the world as it is, including both problems and solutions. The fact that the world is getting better does not mean that it is perfect or that we can lean back and watch the show. However, it does mean that we are probably doing some things right and it is essential to identify those things so that we can keep doing them.

Unfortunately, the media are terrible at identifying things that work in the world, and they are especially poor at identifying gradual improvements in the world. Rather the media feeds on a disaster, crime, panic, and drama and since a world with 7 billion people will always have enough drama for 30 minutes of news, then that is what the media focus on, and that is what people see. Giving the media all the blame is probably not fair. The media, after all, live in symbiosis with media consumers – they tend to show what people watch and people like to attend a drama. There has been peace in Sweden for 200 years, and guess what, no war broke out today either! Amazing! No, that is not news. So how can we get out of this eternal loop of increasingly gloomy worldviews in a world where progress has never been more evident. Well, reading this book is probably a step in the right direction.

The books begin with some questions about the world. In low-income countries, how many girls finish primary school? Does the majority of the world population live in poor or middle-income countries? What is the life expectancy in the world today? What percentage of the world population are vaccinated today? People, because of their gloomy worldview, tend to get these questions completely wrong. Hans Rosling likes to compare the accuracy of different groups (including politicians and people working at the world bank who really ought to know the answer), to that of chimps. The chimps almost always outperform us because they don’t know anything about the world and therefore guess. But guessing turn out to be better than systematic pessimism, which seems to be the default among humans.

In the remaining part of the book, Rosling revisits each of these questions and based on data from undisputed sources he explains why, in all except one case, the correct and is also the most favorable answer. Poverty is going down drastically. Most people in the world live in middle-income countries. The percentage of girls finishing primary school is almost the same as for boys etc. Intermingled with these more data-driven passages, Rosling includes personal anecdotes from his long career as a public health worker. These anecdotes are fascinating and add to the appeal of the book as well as to my admiration for Rosling.

There are a few surprises in the book. One is Rosling’s claim (based on hard data), that progress does not depend on democracy. Countries such as South Korea, the home of LG, Samsung, Kia, etc., had enormous growth while it was still a military dictatorship. Only later has it become a well-functioning democracy. Rosling is also ambiguous when it comes to activists. He says that activists do drive changes, often in the right direction. However, he also argues that they are prone to exaggerations. Women’s activists, for example, tend to spread the news about how women suffer, but not about the progress such as the fact that girls today are almost as well educated as boys, globally speaking.

For a book that is relatively short, Rosling has managed to include a great deal of data that I think every person in the world should know. Again, not so that we can pad our shoulder and call it a day, but rather so that we can identify what works and continue to do what works. The book is also an enjoyable read with a good flow and a nice mix of anecdotes and data to back up those anecdotes. I think that Bill Gates did a wise thing when he made this book available to all college graduates in the US, and I hope that all college graduates grasp their opportunity to read this excellent book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A must read for everybody

No matter how well informed you are Factfulness is a useful book. It is not only about facts but also about approaching the world with critical thinking even to contradict this book, I am sure Hans would not mind. I think that under all the modern noise, under all the fake news, all the manipulating politicians, a bit of factulness is exactly what the people need.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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perspective shifting

a great book for anyone interested in sharpening their critical thinking and how to think about the world.

I plan to come back to this book at least once a year to lower the times I fall into some of the traps mentioned in this book.

I have already recommended the book to 5 other people before I had finished.

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Must!!

A great and very knowledgeable book! Dont miss it out! You will enjoy every second of it.

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A must read in the nowadays world's struggles

inspirational read in modern world looking for a goal, solutions and objectivity so much needed today. Amazing and mind-changing read!

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THE VOICE IS AWFULLY AWFUL

I have just started the book but I guess I would have to pause it and wait till I’m in a really good and relax mood where I just want to learn. BECAUSE THE VOICE OF THE NARRATOR IS JUST SO BAD!!! He gasps after other line as if he has been suffocated, I feel bad and uneasy listening to him. So sad I think the content would be interesting

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Many very good points, but also some misses.

There is good reasons to read this book, it contains many great insights.
but you need to overcome a few misfires, which he actually indirectly addresses in other people's work :-)

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I love it, it is refreshing!!

In this world where the media and socia media is full of bad news we should be aware and always take some informed perspective and stop spreading bad news. I believe the world is becoming a better place and it is our duty to contribute by having a positive attitude. This book is a way to reasure that we are moving in positive direction.

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  • Max Rådelius
  • 05-24-18

8 hours that will change your world view!

If you do not know of Hans Rosling go to youtube and view a few of his lectures, brilliant lecturer whom will update your world view. This book will most probably update you on long held beliefs attained from an outdated high school and university degree.
Hans, Ola and Anna Rosling takes you through an interesting story of how the world has changed from developed/developing to a multi-tiered system that actually exist in societies all over the world.

With a multitude of anecdotes and facts they beautifully weave a story that will both enhance your world knowledge and intrigue you in how the world works.

You will not regret spending the 8 hours it takes to listen to this book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • JenniferL
  • 04-28-18

A must for anyone interested in world events!

This book is essential for todays world. The world IS getting better despite what the news would have you believe. This book gives some great examples of this along with some excellent advice to help the reader/listener critically evaluate the facts and news presented to us.

In this world of social media giving loud voices to people who are often misinformed of the facts and who often have extreme views one way or another I genuinely think this book should be read or heard by each and ever one of us.

Aside from that the narration is great and the book keeps the subject matter interesting. Just remember to download the accompanying PDF. This helps understand some of the charts in the book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mateusz Stawecki
  • 06-12-18

I'm a very serious possibilist.

What a joy to listen to Hans Rosling's analysis and dismantling of common biases and myths about the modern world. For those who get too bogged down on the statistics, you can skip forward some of the numbers. To me the book is supposed to crack open the status quo and how we think about the world, be better informed when forming opinions, question gut feelings and popular consensus no matter how right it seems. I'll be revisiting it regularly.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt Simpson
  • 09-12-18

Wonderful book absolute must listen

This book is enlightening and empowering. Take back your thoughts, become a world citizen and expand your horizons. The world really isnt as bad a place as we imagine. I am a data technologist and this book really highlights the importance of good data and the mindset you need to use it! spend a credit this book is brilliant.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-14-18

Inspirational

How not to be ignorant about the world. How to be smarter than a chimp.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 06-07-18

Inspirational

A great book that made me think twice about my assumptions. Everyone should listen to this. Now I understand why Bill Gates is buying this book for 30 million people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Shakti
  • 06-05-18

Eye opening piece of work. Fact.

Beautifully narrated capturing the essence of the writer's genius. This is the best and probably the most useful non-fiction I have read this year. Fact.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Pete Starr
  • 05-04-18

awesome & essential.

A fact based journey starting from less than ignorant to seeing the enlightenment at the end of the tunnel!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • 04-16-18

Important book

One of the most important books you will ever read - you will find yourself reaching for the facts before forming a reactionary opinion.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • fizzy2734
  • 10-19-18

The way to live.

From a heavy going beginning this book flourishes into a peaceful but ever mindful piece about how we should always stay curious and always look for the facts. Not the story.

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  • @charte
  • 05-17-18

Phenomenal book

Well written human and data stories helping us see the world as it really is

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-13-18

mesmerising

Hans Rosling's epitaph . made me teary eyed at the end. The baton has definitely been passed on .

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  • Lori
  • 09-06-18

So glad I read it

I hope many others choose to read, it because it will make the world better.

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  • Fabien
  • 07-26-18

An excellent book

I enjoy every bit/chapter of that book. I admire the work of Hans Rosling and family members. The narrator has done an excellent job. Worth listening and reading.

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  • Matthew Davidson
  • 07-22-18

Must read

This book should be mandatory reading for every single political leader, journalist, economist, doctor, and teacher.
Everyone else should read it, too.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-05-18

Bill Gates is right - one of the best global fact books you will read

I could not agree more wit Bill Gates recommendation on a great book to enlighten you misconceptions about global facts

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  • Ann Houston
  • 06-25-18

Brilliant... I'd love it to be read by all.

Very uplifting and empowering about how to address global and local issues through current relevant information and in a more rational manner

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  • GEOFFREY LOWE
  • 06-10-18

Totally uplifting!

Wow. Who would’ve thought a book about facts could evoke such a feeling of joy and optimism - possiblism even. I’ll be recommending this one widely - a great compliment to Stephen Pinker’s Better Angels and Michael Shermer’s Moral Arc for anyone who isn’t sure just how lucky we are!

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  • Dean
  • 05-03-18

This book should be part of every High School reading list...

So much Ignorance could be eradicated not just by reading this book, but by using its methodology to veiw the world, Thank you Hans, I am so Sad that I will never get to shake your hand and thank you personally for what you, Ola and Anna have done for the world.