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Factfulness – Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund

Coverpage of the book titled Factfulness

Our Technical Director had this book on his shelf for a long time, I would always see it when I entered his office. So I bought it when I last finished a book on investing.

One of the most important books I’ve ever read – an indispensable guide to thinking cleaely about the world

Bill Gates

With a review like that from Mr Gates himself, who am I to say anything? I completely echo Bill’s thoughts. Being a data drive guy and also someone who is aware of our built-in biases I am always looking to ensure I am aware of these shortcomings and to develops skills to counter the downsides.

I have seen Hans Rosling’s TED talks and the passion that man had was infectious. Anyone can be inspired by his energy. This is a fascinating book who shows how ill-informed we are and how our worldview is distorted, to say the least. This distorted view always leads us to act in a way which is not correct.

Each chapter talks about a potential pitfall when it comes to how to analyse data

  1. The gap instinct
  2. The negative instinct
  3. The straight line instinct
  4. The fear instinct
  5. The size instinct
  6. The generalisation instinct
  7. The destiny instinct
  8. The single perspective instinct
  9. The blame instinct
  10. The urgency instinct

Few interesting highlights

  • ignorance (by which I do not mean stupidity, or anything intentional, but simply the lack of correct knowledge)
  • Everyone seems to get the world devastatingly wrong. Not only devastatingly wrong but systematically wrong. By which I mean that these test results are not random. They are worse than random: they are worse than the results I would get if the people answering my questions had no knowledge at all.
  • Every group of people I ask thinks the world is more frightening, more violent, and more hopeless—in short, more dramatic—than it really is.
  • Step-by-step, year-by-year, the world is improving. Not on every single measure every single year, but as a rule. Though the world faces huge challenges, we have made tremendous progress. This is the fact-based worldview.
  • the overdramatic worldview is so difficult to shift because it comes from the very way our brains work.

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