Factfulness

By Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund

*A Book Review*

by Michael C. Gray

© 2019 by Michael C. Gray

In Factfulness, Dr. Hans Rosling with his son, Ola, and daughter in law, Anna, demonstrates that many of us have an incorrect understanding of what life is like outside our own country. This is particulary a problem for government leaders and business officers who are making decisions based on incorrect information.

Dr. Rosling, who was deceased shortly after writing the book, was particularly qualified to write on the subject. He was a Swedish medical doctor who worked in in countries with high poverty levels. He also spoke widely to the United Nations and business leadership groups on this subject. His Ted Talks on the subject are available online and are very popular.

The information Dr. Rosling shares is based on statistics gathered by the United Nations and polls conducted in various countries to find out whether the public's beliefs were in agreement with the facts according to the United Nations studies. In many cases, they are not.

There is good news in this book. People's lives around the world aren't getting worse, but have been dramatically improving. The picture that we get in the news is inaccurate because sensational bad news is more engaging than mundane good news and attracts viewers and readers. Another reason is that many people, including educators, have a mental picture of what life was like in a country twenty or more years ago, but conditions have been steadily improving in almost every country.

Here are some of the interesting facts that Dr. Rosling shares:

Most of us think of the economic status of other countries as rich or poor. According to Dr. Rosling, it's more accurate to think of the economies in four levels. In the lower levels, just a few dollars a day in additional income can make an enormous difference in the standard of living. Only 9% of the world's population lives in low-income countries. Most people guess over half.

Most of us think that, considering the world population is increasing, there will be more children in the world in the future. The United Nations projects that in the year 2100, there will be about the same number of children in the world as today, 2 billion.

Many of us are concerned the world's population will continue to grow and outstrip the world's resources. The United Nations projects that population growth has already started to slow down, and the world population will level off at about 11 billion in the year 2100. (The world population is currently about 7.6 billion.)

We tend to believe that people in other countries continue to have large families to follow their social traditions or as a demonstration of their faith. According to the United Nations studies, as people become more affluent, they use contraceptives and practice birth control despite local traditions or their religious convictions.

To learn more eye-opening facts and about human biases that lead us to the wrong conclusions, read Factfulness.

Buy it on Amazon: Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think.

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