Factfulness - Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund

Factfulness - Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund

Discover here the guidelines to change your view about the world, through a series of teachings that will show how specifics triggers can confuse our mind about reality!

Add to Favorites
Add to read
Mark as read

Are you also the type who thinks the world is getting worse and worse? That humanity is heading towards its end? In fact, these days it is common to have this vision, but calm down! The book “Factfulness”, by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund, will prove you the opposite!

This book will show you how this notion is somewhat dramatized and, through data, how to have a correct worldview.

With it, you will learn to differentiate what is “drama” from what is fact. This helps to make better decisions, be alert to real dangers and possibilities, and avoid stressing over unnecessary things.

No wonder, this book is recommended by Bill Gates! Got interested to know more? Continue this reading with us!

The book “Factfulness”

“Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World - and Why Things are Better this Way” is a work of Hans Rosling, in partnership with his son Ola Rosling and his daughter-in-law Anna Rosling Rönnlund.

This work was published in 2018 and consists of 342 pages, divided into 11 chapters. They discuss why most of the population is ignorant when it comes to global issues, and how to solve this problem.

The book was even recommended by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates:

 “The world would be a better place if literally millions of people read this book. I give my highest recommendation.”

Who are Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund?

Hans Rosling was a Swedish physician, academic, statistician and public speaker responsible for founding, together with his son and daughter-in-law, the Gapminder Foundation.

He taught financial institutions, corporations, and non-governmental organizations, and presented ten TED Talks, which were attended more than 35 million times.

Ola Rosling, son of Hans, was responsible for developing the ignorance tests of the Gapminder Foundation – which he co-founded and is currently a director.

He developed all the material used by Hans in his lectures and TED Talks. In addition, he was the creator of the famous “bubble graphs” and the Trendalyzer tool used to date by millions of students around the world.

The Swedish received several awards for his work, including the Résumé Super-communicator Award and the Niras International Integrated Development Prize in 2016.

Anna Rosling Rönnlund is a sociologist and co-founder of the Gapminder Foundation, where she assisted in the creation of all material used by Hans and the interface of the Trendalyzer tool. At Gapminder, she developed new free teaching materials, generating Dollar Street, the subject of his 2017 TED Talk.

Anna has also received several awards for her work, such as the Fast Company World Changing Ideas Award and the Résumé Super-communicator Award in 2017.

Why should I read “Factfulness”?

It is recommended for individuals who care about the world we live in and want to let go of instincts that hold us to a clear view of the facts.

If you want to get a better comprehension about people’s behavior and their world conception, changing your mindset and stopping wasting time with useless things, this book is for you!

What can I learn from “Factfulness”?

  • The world is not as bad as the media makes it seem;
  • Ignorance about the reality of the world is very common;
  • Our brain prefers to work with dramatized conceptions of facts;
  • There are mechanisms to get rid of these conceptions and reach a more realistic notion of things;
  • It is easier to be guided by the majority;
  • The bad can be simultaneously better;
  • Growth does not happen regularly and unbridled;
  • Fear makes us see things distorted;
  • It is important to put things in proportion and perspective;
  • Generalize and categorize does not produce good results;
  • Slow changes are still changes;
  • A situation needs to be viewed from many different angles for better analysis;
  • The blame for things is hardly a person or group of people, but a more complex system;
  • No need to act immediately and recklessly, urgency also distorts our view;
  • The world needs people with a more realistic worldview;
  • This view is important regarding different aspects of our lives;
  • Many areas need people who have this more realistic view.

Download the “Factfulness” Book Summary in PDF for free

Do you have no time to read now? Then download the free PDF and read wherever and whenever you want:

[Book Summary] Factfulness - Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund

The Separation Instinct 

People, in general, tend to like to divide all kinds of things into two different groups, which are often in conflict. This is especially true to the division of the world between ‘developed’ and ‘underdeveloped’ or ‘rich’ and ‘poor’.

But this is not what the data tells us. The reality is that based on official data, the world can be divided into four income levels, based on how many dollars a person lives per day: $ 2 or less, $2 - $8, $8 - $32, and $32 onwards.

Contrary to popular belief, most of the population lives on both average levels, and only a small part live in absolute poverty or extreme wealth. What should be done is to use mechanisms to warn about when a story has this polarized view, with a gap between the extremes.

For this, the author teaches to control these symptoms of the “separation instinct” with three simple methods:

  1. Be careful with the averages;
  2. Beware of extremes;
  3. Beware of the distorted, superior view of reality. Always look for the majority.

The Negative Instinct

This chapter of the book “Factfulness” is about how we tend to always notice the bad much more than the good. According to research by the authors Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund, most people believe that the world is getting worse and worse.

But the data show that is not quite so. What happens is that we have an extremely negative view of just what’s bad happening now, in the present. On the other hand, when you put the present in its historical context, you can see how much things are getting better.

In addition, the view presented by the media is also distorted so that the “bad” outweighs the “good”. By this way, most people find it is empathetic to believe that the world is getting better when there are still so many bad things going on.

To better control this instinct:

  • Learn to expect bad news;
  • Understand that it is more difficult to receive the good, as they occur more gradually;
  • Convince yourself that things can be both bad and good than before;
  • Be wary of the idea of a “glorified” past that runs away from reality.

The Straight Line Instinct

The third major misconception facing humanity is the idea that the world’s population is only growing. In fact, the population is growing, but the addition of the word “only” gives the sense that if nothing is done, that number will continue to grow wildly.

Imagine a graph that only follows eternally straight. The truth is that this growth should not be seen as a straight line, but rather as a graph that has curves, ups, and downs.

This data depends on many external issues to exist. The world shows that more and more people are moving towards a balance in terms of the number of people living on the planet.

Growth, whatever it is, in a straight line is very rare, and one should beware of this assumption. To control the “straight line instinct”, remember that there are lines of various shapes.

The Instinct of Fear

Human brains are equipped with attention filters that decide which information to process and which to ignore.

The three instincts already mentioned by the book “Factfulness” are examples of things that go through these filters. Such filters tend to pay more attention to things that make the most impact, that is, more ‘dramatic’.

The media simply will not bother to publish stories that will not pass our attention filters. Therefore, it stirs what triggers reactions and most holds our attention: fear.

Fear can be helpful if directed at the right things. However, one must pay attention to the distinction of what is frightening and what is really dangerous. Only what is really dangerous presents a real risk, depending on your exposure to it, other than what only makes you afraid.

An important guideline is never to make decisions while panicking because fear makes us see things distorted.

The Instinct of Size

The human being tends to let things take on exaggerated proportions.

The authors Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund say that we must beware of solitary information, especially when it comes to numbers.

Before deciding if the number given in that information is important, you should always compare it with others. This, therefore, when put in context, its meaning can change completely.

Also, you need to divide it by quantities in order to find out the average, or what part of a whole it represents.

To regulate this instinct for greatness, always put everything in proportion.

The Generalization Instinct

Everybody generalizes and categorizes automatically, unconsciously. The problem is that it also helps to distort our worldview by making us jump to conclusions that are usually wrong.

What must be done to avoid this distortion is to question these categories that we have created ourselves. Always look for:

  • Differences between points placed within the same group;
  • Similarities between points placed in different groups,
  • Differences among different groups.

These tips from the book “Factfulness” will help you generate better categories.

Be careful with “most”. Always work with more accurate percentages, as “majority” means only more than “half”. Also, work with the exceptions, like these, as they are usually more shocking, eventually stand out.

The Destiny Instinct

This chapter addresses the idea that innate characteristics determine the future of people, countries, cultures, and religions.

Nowadays, the notion of seeing things as unchanging blinds us to all the revolutionary transformations happening around us.

It must be acknowledged that some things seem to be constant just because change happens slowly. Understand that slow changes are still changes that may one day lead to something great.

Also, keeping track of all the small changes and news, and comparing them with the past are also ways to get rid of this idea.

The One-Perspective Instinct

There are two main reasons why people often focus on only one perspective when it comes to understanding the world: political and professional ideology.

It is important to recognize that a single perspective on something can limit your imagination. You have to look at a situation from different angles to understand it better.

To make this happen, surround yourself with people who disagree with your opinions and can test them to find your weaknesses, as well as people who have different views that can help you solve a problem.

Simple ideas and solutions should be studied with caution:

  • Seek to embrace complexity;
  • Combine ideas;
  • Commit to solving problems more fully and efficiently.

The Instinct to Blame

The journey to find a clear and simple reason why something bad happened is what makes us feel guilt. We like to believe that things happen simply because someone wanted them to happen. This prevents us from developing a true, fact-based understanding of the world.

We need to resist the temptation to point the finger and blame some individual or group of individuals. When you find someone to blame, stop thinking and don’t get to the bottom of the matter.

Usually, the “culprit” is something much more complex, a system-generated by multiple interconnected causes that we must understand in order to avoid future problems.

This is also when something good happens and someone is taken as a hero: wouldn’t the result be the same without that person?

In any case, always avoid looking for scapegoats.

The Urge Instinct

When faced with decisions that must be made immediately, we end up triggering an urgent instinct that makes us think less critically, make decisions quickly, and act on time.

This trigger, no matter how hard it makes us act, forces us to make bad choices and go through unnecessary stress. And if fired too often, it makes us numb when something is really urgent.

So if you come across a situation where there is sense of urgency, Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund gives 4 tips:

  1. Try to ask for more time and more information before making a decision;
  2. Ask for access accurate and relevant data about the case;
  3. Take care of predictions and analyze them to understand if they can be considered valid or not;
  4. Worry about the side effects of your actions, always calculating the impact they will have.

Factfulness in Action

In the last chapter of the book “Factfulness”, the authors decide to express how using all the points shown in the previous chapters can be helpful in your life!

When it comes to education, it is a fact that everyone should have access to updated, fact-based teaching structures. This is so that they can develop critical thinking and protect future generations from global ignorance.

For business, a right view of the world is useful in many ways: in marketing and sales, making investment decisions, or even hiring non-ignorant people.

When we talk about journalists, we must understand that they don’t mean to give us a correct perspective on the world, and we should not expect it from them. And there is a reason for that. Therefore, do not base your knowledge on what the media presents.

Finally, the reader is encouraged to look for ignorance in the environment in which he lives using the same methods used throughout the book. Asking questions to those around you can generate an avalanche of curiosity and new knowledge if done with humility.

Books about changing your mindset

Tom Chatfield, the author of How to Thrive in the Digital Age, says that content on the Internet today becomes relevant no longer through the endorsement of an expert on the subject, but because of its popularity with the public. This approach leaves room for consumer mass to be manipulated.

A Whole New Mind, written by Daniel H. Pink states that thanks to the fusion of wealth, technology, and increased people’s connection through phones and the internet, the world is transitioning into a new era beyond knowledge. It takes creativity, empathy, and emotion.

Yuval Noah Harari, in his work Sapiens, explains that imperial rule led to the generation in a society of "artificial instincts", within various ethnic and religious groups so that they could live in a society effectively.

How can I apply the ideas from “Factfulness”?

  • Worry about not having a distorted and biased worldview;
  • When making a study of some data, look for the most, avoid extremes and large gaps;
  • Know how to deal with the way the media presents information;
  • Expect bad news, but understand that the bad now may be better in the future;
  • Remember that there are lines of varying shapes, not just straight lines;
  • Don’t let fear distort your worldview, and know how to calculate the risks of what is really dangerous;
  • Put things in perspective and work with proportions;
  • Do not generalize or categorize things;
  • Try to have different perspectives of the same situation;
  • Avoid scapegoats;
  • Do not make decisions in times of urgency.

Rate the book summary of “Factfulness”

In fact, this is a book that should be read by everyone without exception. Realizing how wrong we are about our overview of the world is both scary and exciting, so much to learn!

Did you get the feeling that everything you believed to be true was just a misperception? Give your feedback and leave a comment, then we will be able to always offer you the best content!

To buy the complete work, it is available at the Amazon store by clicking in the image below!

Factfulness - Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund