Author: Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Ronnlund
Genre: Nonfiction, Psychology, Science
I went to a book store to scout my refuge for the holidays in the last week of December 2019 with no specific book in mind, and hence, was bouncing from one shelf to another. This red-colored book caught my eye. I had checked out the reviews of the book on Goodreads earlier esp. the long one by Bill Gates. I was considering reading the book back then, but could not make up my mind.
Three Reasons why I did not want to read Factfulness
Firstly, I am skeptical about the books that talk about numbers or represent any data. There’s always this feeling that these kinds of books convey a single side of the story and present the numbers in a way to prove a point while making obscure other facts and figures that are counter-intuitive to that data.
Cynicism alert: Secondly, Hans Rosling was the person who had had all those experiences and done all those researches. However, the book got published a year after his demise and was completed by his son and son’s wife (Perhaps, you can say they were the co-authors). In cases like these, I am scared of how much the original views of the primary author stay because it’s his views that I value in the first place. The thought that the co-authors published the book to earn a fortune is not far-fetched.
Thirdly, I am not a person who reads ideas casually and lets them pass. Of course, I try to weigh the ideas and the rationale behind them, but at the same time, they make a home, however tiny, in my mind. While reading fiction, I know that it’s derived out of the author’s wild imagination and, therefore, I am not this picky. But when it comes to choosing nonfiction, I am particularly careful what ideas I let inside.
Anyway, I noticed this book in the store. Very quickly, I read through the reviews and synopsis and decided to make it my friend. With a mist of doubts still pervasive in my mind, I began reading Factfulness, hoping the creator of Microsoft will not disappoint me with his positive reviews about the book.
Factfulness: Book Review
Slowly and gradually, my apprehensions about the book drove away. I started liking Hans, his experiences, and the way they’ve been described in the book. I started appreciating the fact that the book is much more than what it appeared to me earlier. It discusses the most common biases that we all are victims of in our daily lives and how it skews our perception of the world. Even my world view and decisions are warped, and most of the time I am oblivious to it. The book can rightly be applied to life in general and not just to understand the world. The ten patterns of thinking discussed in the book that deform our perspective will poke you to question your beliefs and make you aware of unconscious prejudices.
Hans’ insistence on the fact that though the world is still in a bad shape, it is in a much better state than we think, has been distinctly explained. He does set out some raging issues that the world is facing today, but the entire point of the book is to accept a worldview based on facts. That way we will be able to better understand what solution is working and what is not. That will also enable us to better handle emergencies and possibilities of the future, and not lose focus on the things that threaten us the most, and need our undivided attention.
By the end of the book, you’d be left craving for more anecdotes of Dr. Hans Rosling. His enthusiasm, respect for cultures that are not his, compassion towards humanity, and general optimism is rather contagious.
Lessons Learnt from Factfulness
The most valuable take away from the book is that we must evaluate the actual progress and circumstances leading to it. The real significance of small steps exercised to bring about a bigger change needs to be understood. If not, we may fail to comprehend reality and remain stuck in more archaic ways of thinking. Perceived reality can be very different from the actuality.
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Happy Reading. Chao!
Do you like reading non fiction? Here is a list of some of the best non fictions of all times.