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

by Hans Rosling , Anna Rosling Rönnlund , Ola Rosling

Number of pages: 352

Publisher: Flatiron Book

BBB Library: Psychology and Strengths

ISBN: 978-1250107817

About the Authors

Hans Rosling : Hans Rosling was a Swedish physician, academic, statistician, and public speaker.


Anna Rosling Rönnlund : Anna RoslingRönnlund is a Swedish designer who, with husband Ola Rosling,


Ola Rosling : Ola Rosling is a Swedish statistician known for his work for


Editorial Review

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective-from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse). Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases. It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. 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 and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future.

Book Reviews

“Rosling doesn’t claim that humanity has solved its problems and can now relax, but he aims to nuance our greatest challenges as a species so that we understand where best to expend our resources, where best to focus our time, and where best to look for opportunity.”—Quillette

““Factfulness, like a healthy diet and regular exercise, can and should become part of your daily life” says Rosling. And this inspiring, entertaining and counter-cultural book will set you on your way.”—Make Wealth History

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Wisdom to Share

Everyone I ask thinks the world is more frightening, more violent, and more hopeless than it really is.

The human brain is a product of evolution, and we are hardwired with instincts that helped our ancestors to survive in small groups of hunters and gatherers.

To understand the world as it really is, you have to realize the instincts that help shape our overdramatic worldview. Then, you will make better decisions, stay alert to real changes and possibilities, and avoid being constantly stressed about the wrong things.

The misconception that “the world is getting worse” originated from the negativity instinct. The negativity instinct is our tendency to notice the bad more than the good.

Remember that we live in a connected and transparent world where reporting about suffering is better than it has ever been before. The media and activists rely on drama to grab your attention, negative stories are more dramatic than neutral or positive ones, and it’s simple to construct a story of crisis from a temporary dip pulled out of its context of a long-term improvement.

We need the generalization instinct to live our everyday lives. Everyone unconsciously categorizes and generalizes all the time. Categories are necessary for us to function. The challenge is to realize which of our categories are misleading.

The destiny instinct is the idea that things are as they are for ineluctable, inescapable reasons: they have always been this way and will never change.

You can have opinions and answers without having to learn about a problem from scratch and you can get on with using your brain for other tasks. But it’s not so useful if you like to understand the world.

Being always in favor of or always against any particular idea makes you blind to information that doesn’t fit your perspective.

Don’t claim expertise beyond your field: be humble about what you don’t know. Be aware too of the limits of the expertise of others.

With a fact-based worldview, you can see that the world is not as bad as it seems—and you can see what you have to do to keep making it better.