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Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
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Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  54,595 ratings  ·  5,650 reviews
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 r
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Flatiron Books (first published January 25th 2018)
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Reviewer The first few pages contain a quiz, and if you do as poorly as most people, this book will blow your mind. Be aware that you cannot read it entirely…moreThe first few pages contain a quiz, and if you do as poorly as most people, this book will blow your mind. Be aware that you cannot read it entirely as an audiobook. I was so conflicted about returning it, but I couldn't enjoy it properly without "the accompanying pdf" and if the reason you are using an audiobook is because you cannot see, are driving, etc. then you keep missing out. It became really frustrating, in a book done properly for the library for blind people someone describes the graphs and pictograms. You can't even use a screenreader to pick out information from an image pdf. Definitely read it, but just as definitely make sure you read a print copy or at least listen to the audiobook somewhere you can also sit down with a copy of the pdf(less)
Keith Swenson I read both, they are different books. Factfulness is a good summary about the current status of the world, and gives you a framework to understand…moreI read both, they are different books. Factfulness is a good summary about the current status of the world, and gives you a framework to understand that current state. It is not about trying to convince people that a gap does not exist, but shows that most people's understanding of the gap is many decades out of date -- and that harms efforts to help.

GG&S is a brilliant book that explains the structural reasons that certain historical trends happened in certain places. This gives you a lens on history develop, but not so much about why there is a gap, but why certain geographies were more condusive to to cultural grows at different levels of technology.

You will find GG&S enormously helpful in understanding history. I don't remember the age of pottery being an important part of his main point and this fact check seems unimportant. I would not be surprised a few errors like that might be in any book, but I don't think it would detract from the main message.

You must read both.(less)

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Bill Gates
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I talk about the developed and developing world all the time, but I shouldn’t.

My late friend Hans Rosling called the labels “outdated” and “meaningless.” Any categorization that lumps together China and the Democratic Republic of Congo is too broad to be useful. But I’ve continued to use “developed” and “developing” in public (and on this blog) because there wasn’t a more accurate, easily understandable alternative—until now.

I recently read Hans’ new book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong Abo
Emily May
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Emily May by: Bill Gates
Shelves: 2018, nonfiction
It is not easy to say anything bad about this book. Not because there aren’t issues with it - there are - but because this was Rosling’s last passion project that he completed while battling through his final months with pancreatic cancer. If you are unmoved by his son’s final words, then you are a much stronger person than I am.

Mr Rosling is indeed passionate about his work. Factfulness is a highly-accessible, informal read in which the author frequently delights at the progress made across th
78th book for 2018.

I hate TED talks. This book is mostly like an extended TED Talk. Ipso facto I mostly hated this book.

Rosling's central thesis is that in most measures of human development the World is much better than we'd think. That part of the book I enjoyed, though the data backing this up could have been presented in a far shorter book.

Rosling spends a lot of time talking about the important people (e.g., bankers, Davos, bankers at Davos, TED talks) that he's presented this findings too
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good book, with a very important message about finding facts from data, and more importantly finding the truth in all the information fed to us.

This is the a last effort from Hans Rowling, and him long time contributors (family). It contains real stories and new ways of looking at world data as well as new ways of thinking.

The message I really took away from this book is the world is not perfect. We have a lot of work to do, but to not forget all we have achieved, to take encouragement fr
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
This is either a very cruel book or a very fair one, and I'm not sure which one.

On the one hand, the author is extremely sharp in that he realizes that bisection of the world is severely crippling to rational thinking process. When it becomes 'us' and 'them', most of our thinking processes will be black and white colored, or rather discolored. What we keep missing is that this world is complex and multifaceted enough to fit into no nice and tidy boxes. So, understanding that there are more than
Justin Tate
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a shame I rarely pick up nonfiction, because I always enjoy it when I do. The premise of this one is to debunk common misconceptions people have about the world and explain how a mindset shift toward facts solves a lot of everyday problems. It's mostly optimistic, because that's what the facts are saying, but he addresses the woes too. The problem is, when asked about important world trends, nearly everyone has the wrong viewpoint. Even experts. His mission is to examine why this is and hel ...more
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rosling writes about the most important things in the world and does so in an accessible and entertaining style. He busts myths using facts. This is what non-fiction is supposed to be.

Much of what "everybody knows" and that we read in the news every day is wrong, because hardly anyone bothers to do reality-checking. This is a recurring problem in non-fiction books, including ones about science. So, when finally someone is exposing ignorance, clarifying truth, and exploring logical implications,
Daniel Clausen
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-of-2018
This is probably one of the most important books available today. Why? Because our world is desperately in need of a shared sense of reality, and it's very important that this reality has a solid grounding in science and reason. The book is not without its controversy. The charts and graphs mostly come from UN and World Bank statistics. Many people will argue about the "factfulness" of the various datasets presented in this book-- after all, your faith in the science and facts of these books als ...more
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Apoorva by: Yedhu
Factfulness is written by Hans Rosling, a doctor, a researcher, and a lecturer in global health along with his son Ola and daughter-in-law Anna Rosling, both of whom were responsible for compiling the data. The data is presented in the form of bubble charts, graphs and it’s verified by international organizations.

The aim of the book is to fight ignorance and dramatic worldview with well-researched facts and global statistics. This book starts off with a quick 13 question quiz to test how you see
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why I am right and everyone is wrong. I gave a bunch of really smart people a quiz and they all got it wrong --how could they be so dumb? The book proceeds in this way. The point is taken--things are way better than they seem. I get it. I believe his facts (though I dispute some of his rosy conclusions about the world), but I could not get over his condescending cockiness.
Mats Mehrstedt
In the last decades of his life Hans Rosling (1948 – 2017) made a world-wide career lecturing to large corporations, Wall Street bankers, hedge fund managers and gatherings of Nobel laureates and heads of states such as in Davos, about the statistics of the world. Roslings son invented a software so that you could present statistics with moving, shrinking and growing bubbles in different colors, which made an otherwise boring subject highly entertaining. The program could even be sold to Google. ...more
Tanja Berg
The first time I saw Rosling, he was explaining on television that most of the Syrian refugees are displaced in their own country, and not on their way to Europe. He had so many bright ideas. I was deeply saddened to hear of his death and I immediately shied from the postmortem released books. I did not want to be reminded. Eventually I realized my foolishness and this week I've been reading "Factfulness" while at the same time listening to Rosling's memoir on audio.

We need to learn to hold two
Shalini Sinha
"Factfulness" is one of the most influential books published in 2018. The greatest deal about it is not the facts or fancy numbers & graphs (I still love them) it has, but that how it teaches one to think logically by taking everything to the basics rather than already starting with an opinion or using analogies to reach a conclusion.

Hans Rosling wrote this book when he was on his deathbed, diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer. The only thing that made this drastic change in his perso
May 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book came highly recommended by The Economist, amongst others, though to me it was unsurprising, lacked particularly interesting conclusions, and felt rather tedious.

The work begins with a quiz consisting of 13 questions. The author claims that a 2017 study asked the same questions to 20k participants, and on average respondents got a mere 2 of the first 12 questions right, with one participant of 20k getting 11 of the 12 correct. However, my own results showed 10 / 13, and when I shared t
aPriL does feral sometimes
“Factfulness’ is about you being convinced to view through rose-colored lenses each metaphorical cup of water provided by NGO/government/charity is half-full! The respectably-sourced graphs and charts included show the economic, health, and wealth status of the people of earth are ever climbing higher and higher statistically, so the author concludes it is logical to project that the wealth, education, and health of even the lowliest, most impoverished, most despised and ignorant classes of peop ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-enjoyed, nonfic
I got this as an ARC from Goodreads Giveaways (do you know happy that made me? It is true I had a 20% chance of getting it, as opposed to the 0.0118% chance most of these giveaways have, but still. My first ARC! All the imperfections and missing dates and awkward formatting was very endearing).

Anyway, I'm not usually a reader of nonfiction, but this seemed interesting, and I obtained it, so obviously I read it. It was actually really good. Rosling was a very interesting narrator, which I decided
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won a copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways.

This is honestly one of the most eye-opening, opinion changing books I have ever read. Especially in today’s political climate, everything feels like the worst case scenario and it can be hard to know what to do without losing hope. Factfulness gives real, data-based information about how we use information and how to do that better. It is frank and it is real and I have never felt so empowered in my life. The tips and explanations in here are
Ross Blocher
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Factfulness joins the ranks of worldview-changing books I heartily recommend to everyone. It offers an updated global perspective on economic development, health, and other key markers of wellness. One of the myths Rosling (and his co-authors Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund) sets out to dispel is the notion of "developing nations" versus "the developed world". Those categories cause us to picture the world as a collection of "haves" and "have-nots" with a large gap in between. This might h ...more
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, psychology
This is a fascinating book about how we think about the world, and many of the ways in which we think incorrectly. To start off, the reader is encouraged to take the Factfulness quiz. It consists of thirteen multiple-choice questions. Most people do worse than pure chance, i.e., a chimpanzee could achieve a better score! It goes to show how our thinking about the world is stereotypical, and not in accordance with the world as it really is.

This book has much in common with a couple of books by St
Tom LA
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew I would have enjoyed Factfulness but it’s even better than I thought.

Rosling sounds a bit like Steven Pinker but without all the philosophical and historical bias that ruins Pinker’s books.

The core message though is the same: the world is getting better, not worse. This is NOT a half-glass-full view. In fact, Rosling repeats over and over that he does not see himself as an optimist. Rather, he wants to help people see the world through data and facts.

Given my hate for the distortion of
TL;DR People as not as rich, and not as poor as we expect them to be. We can blame media and education for this, but we can't change it.
Addie H
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 6-kindle, a-owns
An uplifting, easy, entertaining and well explained read. Everyone should read this.


Factfulness is … recognizing when we get negative news, and remembering that information about bad events is much more likely to reach us. When things are getting better we often don’t hear about them.

- Step-by-step, year-by-year, the world is improving. Not on every single measure every single year, but as a rule. Though the world faces huge challenges, we have made tremendous progress. This is the fact-based w
I have mixed feelings about this book. Sometimes it made me angry, seeming to be very preachy and self-important. "Everything you do and are now is wrong and here's why." When someone comes at me with that kind of message, I tend to get very defensive. But I always kept reading because what he says makes so much sense. So much of what we think we know about the world is just wrong or at least badly slanted. But to truly effect change in the world we need to be able to deal with it as it truly is ...more
Tomas Ramanauskas
“Everything you know is wrong” kind of books are tricky to pull of, they start by cornering a reader and then gradually reveal themselves to be source of enlightment… sort of. Even mighty Hans Rosling stumbles with this exlamatory promise.

His overall thesis, that we live in much better world than we imagine, is comforting, but “better” might still be “terrible” in some cases. I take from “Factfulness” a challenge to read any kind of surveys with a pinch of salt, don’t settle for averages or che
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We’re all gonna die,” whispered the young knight next to me.

Twenty seven thoughts raced across my mind. First, knights weren’t as advertised. Did this one really use the word ‘gonna’ instead of ‘going to’? And what about this contraction ‘we’re’? I would’ve been expecting something like, “We shall all perish!” Pfft. Dissapoint. Second, I hadn’t had my breakfast, and I’d always sworn not to die on an empty stomach. Third, I suddenly realized that stars were basically transmutation machines… did
Michael Perkins
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I really do believe that our attitudes are shaped much more by our social groups than they are by facts on the ground. We are not great reasoners. Most people don't like to think at all, or like to think as little as possible. And by most, I mean roughly 70 percent of the population. Even the rest seem to devote a lot of their resources to justifying beliefs that they want to hold, as opposed to forming credible beliefs based only on fact.”

― Steven Sloman, The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never T
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carrie Poppy
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How do you tell the entire story of medical progress in one book? I wouldn't be up for the task, but the Roslings were. It is the most compelling, well-reasoned, and readable argument for a positive mindset about the world that I could possibly imagine. And it makes the compelling case that -- far from popular opinion -- we MUST praise the good we've already achieved if we want to have any hope of keeping the momentum going. If we don't know what works, how will we keep innovating on top of our ...more
A clever book that has plenty of good news in explaining 10 reasons why the vast majority of us are wrong in thinking the worst. I recommend this to those that prefer their reading less than dry. Hans Rosling's style is very folksy, not for me personally, but I understand why others may enjoy this style of presentation.
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have had the opportunity of seeing professor Hans Rosling live at one event. He was giving one of his classic presentations enriched with his famous interactive diagrams. Hans was hastily bouncing around the scene and by using an oversized stick as a prop he was lively explaining how the world works. Which is not how many people think it does. The speech was impressive. The life of professor Rosling was even more impressive, and he shared a great deal of it throughout the years by using his un ...more
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Hans Rosling (1948 – 2017) was a Swedish physician, academic, statistician, and public speaker.

He was the Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute and was the co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation, which developed the Trendalyzer software. He held presentations around the world, including several TED Talks in which he promoted the use of data to explore development i
“There’s no room for facts when our minds are occupied by fear.” 71 likes
“People often call me an optimist, because I show them the enormous progress they didn't know about. That makes me angry. I'm not an optimist. That makes me sound naive. I'm a very serious “possibilist”. That’s something I made up. It means someone who neither hopes without reason, nor fears without reason, someone who constantly resists the overdramatic worldview. As a possibilist, I see all this progress, and it fills me with conviction and hope that further progress is possible. This is not optimistic. It is having a clear and reasonable idea about how things are. It is having a worldview that is constructive and useful.” 64 likes
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