Recommended by Bill Gates, Factfulness is a resource to help you rationally respond to information. If you only follow the news, you’d think the world is going up in flames. Amidst the commotion, Factfulness is here to shed some level-headed light.
The book’s foundation is a simple quiz: thirteen questions covering a range of global statistics, such as health and income levels. After you take the quiz and tally your results, you are told how chimps perform on that same quiz. Chances are that you’ll feel sad, but don’t despair! Chimps choosing answers at random have 33% accuracy, and that score consistently beats human participants. It didn’t matter if the group was university students, journalists, or experts of health or economics, everyone assumed the world was worse than it really is.
With chapters like The Fear Instinct and The Urgency Instinct, the Rosling trio has brought data together to show how human tendencies lead to an overblown perception of reality. It tells listeners to take a step back from the dramatic figures and look at the trends. Despite headlines to the contrary, this book shows that the world is actually improving. This is not to say that we should be satisfied and stop aiming for improvement, but that we should be optimistic about our progress and about what the future has in store.
The narration was exactly what you’d hope for in a book like this. Richard Harries has a level but enthusiastic voice. His pace allowed me to take in the material while still staying engaged with the content.
No matter how you feel about this topic, I see this as a valuable read for everyone (even if your quiz score is 100%). I suspect the type of person drawn to this book is not the type of person who needs it the most, however, I won’t stop recommending it!
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