Weeks 15 and 16: Factfulness 📈

factfulness

#1

Welcome to Weeks 15 and 16. Time to read:

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think
by Hans Rosling

Just 25 pages a day to finish it in 2 weeks :raised_hands:


#2

Had a plane flight today and am 21% in. After the Introduction and scanning the chapter titles I was afraid that this is going to be “Thinking Fast And Slow” all over again, but I’m happy to report that this is another beast. If anything, these two books perfectly complement each other.

Quite a joy to read and boy do I need a positive book now after finishing Homo Deus (awesome book btw!!).


#3

That sounds good! I’ve been wanting to read this for a while, but failed to finish Design of Everyday Things on time. Now I have both and I hope to get through them during the easter holidays.


#4

I just finished the book. After the bleak Homo Deus I needed something positive. And even without Homo Deus, I needed this book anyways because of the 13 questions it asks at the beginning, I only got four correct.

EVEN THOUGH I have travelled large parts of Asia in the past eight years and been to some Level 2 and Level 3 income countries, I was still stuck in the outdated worldview that was imprinted on me by schools and media 20 years ago. This is just mind-blowing. I’m pretty happy that this book opened my eyes.

It’s tough to actually apply this to every-day life, though. As we have learned from Thinking Fast And Slow, these things happen automatically in our brains and there is little we can do against it. You really just have to force yourself, ignore your intuition and demand to see the data.

I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone.


#5

I’ve been exposed to some Rosling through Norwegian media så I got 10 out of 13. It helps to have your eyes open and keep in mind that shocking news sells and the media are motivated to write about the extremes. “The truth is somewhere in the middle” is the notion I try to keep in mind when I watch a political debate or story in the news. I see a lot of people rushing to take sides when they should be more critical of both.

The message about everyone who’s in the middle is great. Yes, Norwegians are rich, and there are some who are very poor, but the world on average is improving and doing ok now.


#6

To balance this sudden rise of optimism, I’ll leave this review from my friend: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2349274712


#7

Love that review and I saw you (or someone else) liked some other reviews as well that argue into the same direction.

That’s the funny thing about data. Given enough data you can always paint whatever picture you like.

I think one leitmotif in the book was that the presumably terribly poor countries are no longer THAT poor and this opens up unbelievable business opportunities for all of us. This is clearly true.

I think it is also undeniable that living standards for all of us have been going up. OF COURSE this has consequences for the environment, but let’s be honest, no one on this planet would go back to 1800s living standards just to stop the poles from melting and get back all the bio diversity. We just wouldn’t do it.

Our only option now is to continue spreading global peace and diversity so that we can pull at one string as a species and create yet another tech miracle that solves the problem (and the solution is probably to colonize space, sadly). And the book is pretty good at that as well, constantly reminding us that “us-vs-the-others” way of thinking is outdated.


#8

Completed a book after quite some time, bringing the total book count to 5 with this club! :innocent:
My Notes


#9

By the way, one more opinion against too much optimism in interpreting data: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/13/john-gray-steven-pinker-wrong-violence-war-declining

The book was good, I even gave in to my grandfather as a gift. I only like balanced opinions. :slight_smile:


#10

The relevant part starts with the sentence

“The picture of declining violence presented by this new orthodoxy is not all it seems to be”

I’m not convinced by this piece. If there are vast uncounted hidden deaths and sufferings today that are not part of the statistics, the same must have been true in the old days where traditional large scale wars were normal.


#11

Notice the warfare did change among the time. In the beginning, it was mostly guys with weapons hitting other guys with weapons. Today attacks against civilians or tactics that cause disruption in the enemy population are quite often.


#12

I would guess just any many people died from rape and in torture dungeons back then as died on the actual battlefield. Also, back then the idea of “war crimes” didn’t even exist.


#13

Finished the book today and loved every page. A book that I instantaneously recommended to a lot of friends and my dad (who thinks the world gets exponentially worse every day).

It’s a book that teaches you not only to think critically and reflective, but also shows you a wide range of methods on HOW to do so.

I also had this picture from school in my mind that there is our western world, the rising chinese in the middle and the poor world in Africa.

Together with Atomic Habits my favourite books so far.


#14

I gave it to my grandad as a gift. His reaction was predictable. He read the subtitle and muttered, “It’s no better.” Wonder what will his opinion be after he reads it :slight_smile:


#15

Please tell us his opinion after he read it, very curious to hear it :slight_smile:


#16

So am I :smiley:


#17

I live in one of the most dangerous country in America, in the news they always show how bad things are, and even though is true the statistics still show there’s a high manslaughter rate per day, that value has been getting lower every year, I have my hopes up from this book.