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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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Book Club 2018 > August 2018 - Factfulness

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message 1: by Betsy, co-mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Betsy | 1787 comments Mod
For August 2018, we will be reading Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling.

Please use this thread to post questions, comments, and reviews, at any time.


message 2: by Betsy, co-mod (last edited Jul 24, 2018 06:45PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Betsy | 1787 comments Mod
A sort of cheatsheet to the book, but you might use it to decide if you want to read the book, which I do:

https://towardsdatascience.com/making...

This article is on Medium, which has a paywall, but I think you get three free articles per month. However, the subscription price is not huge and there are lots of interesting articles.


message 3: by Rupinder (new)

Rupinder (rupindersayal) Thanks for the pointer, Betsy!


Berit Lundqvist | 5 comments Have just started to read this book. Great fun so far. Here is the clip from the interview with Danish TV (English subtitles) that Rosling refers to.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9aMkx_n...


message 5: by Betsy, co-mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Betsy | 1787 comments Mod
I don't know if I'm going to be able to read this this month. I could buy it, but I'd really rather borrow the e-book from the library. They have 103 copies, but they also currently have 450 holds on those.


message 6: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth | 7 comments I just started the book, but I had the same issue with MANY holds and only a few copies within my library system, so I got the Kindle edition. Right away, the graphics have pulled me in!


Jehona | 35 comments I was quite surprised to get so many questions wrong. I only got 4 right. How about you?


message 8: by Betsy, co-mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Betsy | 1787 comments Mod
Yes, I decided to buy the kindle version, but I thought it was interesting that the kindle edition was more expensive at Amazon than the hardback.

Jehona wrote: "I was quite surprised to get so many questions wrong. I only got 4 right. How about you?"

I'm with you Jehona; I only got 4 right. I was very surprised, though I knew I was guessing at a lot of them.


Jehona | 35 comments I prefer paperbacks to any other formats, though. With electronic versions I have the feeling that I don't really own them.

I don't think that there are many people who would know the actual answers to those questions. I think we are meant to mainly guess. But we are supposed to guess better than what one would guess randomly. I suppose the depressing view we have of the world comes in great part from the fact that "nothing particularly bad happened today in country X" is never news.


message 10: by Betsy, co-mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Betsy | 1787 comments Mod
I generally prefer reading kindle than any paper version, but with this book, I think that paper is preferable to either e-book or audio. It is so full of, and in fact, dependent on, graphs and charts which don't display well in an electronic or audio version.


Berit Lundqvist | 5 comments I think for this particular book, the perfect version would be an e-book with links that visualised the bubble charts. I’m certainly not an expert, but that doesn’t seem impossible to accomplish. Just as if you cut out the bubble chart from this clip and put in in ”the cloud”, and linked to it.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8t4k0Q...


message 12: by Betsy, co-mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Betsy | 1787 comments Mod
Berit wrote: "I think for this particular book, the perfect version would be an e-book with links that visualised the bubble charts. I’m certainly not an expert, but that doesn’t seem impossible to accomplish. J..."

I've often thought this would be a good way to go. However, it probably assumes that the device you're reading on will also be an adequate device to link on. For my kindle that's not at all true. For my phone, it's possible, but still too small to see the chart clearly. If I have to go to my desktop or laptop to see the charts, then I might as well read on it, which is very inconvenient.


message 13: by Betsy, co-mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Betsy | 1787 comments Mod
Where are holographs when we need them? ;)


message 14: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (cseydel) | 28 comments I can’t get the book, but I found the quiz online and I managed 9 correct answers. It made me think of Gregg Easterbrook’s book, The Progress Paradox, from a few years ago. Have you read it? The premise being that despite things like global standard of living continually improving, people’s *perception* is that things are getting worse, because our frame of reference changes.


message 15: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 697 comments Harari mentions our perception of things getting worse in Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. He uses some statistics to support his position that things have never been so good. IIRC, the number of violent deaths worldwide in 2012 was less than one WWI battle that lasted a few months. Disease & starvation rates were down huge amounts, too.


message 16: by Betsy, co-mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Betsy | 1787 comments Mod
I finished this book early this morning. Here is my review.


message 17: by Betsy, co-mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Betsy | 1787 comments Mod
Another book on this theme is Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. Things are better than we think they are, and they are improving.


message 18: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Feb 02, 2019 08:09PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 287 comments This book makes scientists and everybody very happy and less guilty, because:

-in an easy ten-step format it describes in an easy-to-follow instruction book a demonstration of a better way to building one’s hypothesis skills!

Good.

It also includes a lot of charts and tests, and demonstrates how statistics can ‘lie’ depending on one’s biases.

Great.

In addition, it exhorts readers to see the reduction of physical pain in people’s lives, like the reduction of starvation and illness, or building more sewers and schools for more people, being equivalent and as much the same as the joy of, say, people who are living large like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, or, Mark Zuckerburg, or hey, Donald Trump, or any of the wealthy folk living in penthouses, mansions or in the wealthy parts of cities like London, New York City, Singapore or Shanghai or in wealthy countries like Saudi Arabia, as a real positive! People who have rubber tire shoes are statistically as happy as Trump’s children with their $50,000 pair of their Manolo Blanik or Jimmy Choo shoes! The average women who use their $19.99 pleather purses for their belongings are as happy as those folks with their cellphone-size $250,000 purses studded with real gems! Girls who made it to the 9th grade are as educated as someone with a MIT, Yale, Georgetown, Harvard degree, and obviously will be able to do the kind of same math as Wall Street folks with their MBA’s! Statistically or comparatively speaking.

If we all just learn to read charts better being aware of:

1. The Gap Instinct
2. The Negativity Instinct
3. The Straight Line Instinct
4. The Fear Instinct
5. The Size Instinct
6. The Generalization Instinct
7. The Destiny Instinct
8. The Single Perspective Instinct
9. The Blame Instinct
10. The Urgency Instinct

Then, because it goes on to examples, like, not so many people are dying anymore, statistically, while literally starving to death! Happy days! They eat better grains and more meat. Of course, the thimble-size $1,000 gourmet dessert rich people can afford from a Michelin-star restaurant, we can throw out of our survey. At least, most people were one data point above malnutrition!

Or, 9th grade education may not mean one can read a college textbook, but at least they can sound out a simple ad and text in their cellphones, which they can charge at a nearby charging station for a few dollars, since a generator or some hours of electricity are always available now for most people. They do not need 24/7 electricity that mansions require. Hooray!

Or everyone is inside a house to sleep in, even if there are four (not ten, like a decade ago) to a room, still, rejoice! A shack is available for most! Maybe not garbage pickup, or sewers, or an address or legal title, like rich folks and countries, but yay! Not sleeping in the rain!

Poor people do not never miss museums, or libraries, or art by Rodin, or a cup of Starbucks coffee a day, or even $2,500 designer scarf since it isn’t necessary for their vastly wonderfully improved lives! Glass half full, right? Right?

Everybody pat yourself on the back, even if only 1% of the people of the world have 80% of the wealth.


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