Factfulness: ten reasons we’re wrong about the world and why things are better than you think is on the best seller list. Author: Hans Rosling. Internationally recognized physician, scientist and researcher, World Health Organization, World Economic Forum, TED talk presenter, and to quote him ‘educator to a world who has less knowledge than chimpanzees.’ His factual information is current as of 2017.
I just finished the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. The author calls himself a ‘posiblist’ – instead of an optimist. However, I found his concepts very optimistic. It was also a mind-opener to our tendencies towards seeing gaps between things and people, toward negativity, toward fear, urgency and destiny.
Seeing gaps can be dangerous. We tend to divide the world in two: the haves and have nots, immigrant vs citizen at birth, black and white, sour and sweet … you get the idea.
But when we begin to view the entire world this way, it becomes dangerous and simplistic. Rosling suggests something more useful — divide the world into 4 groups instead of 2. You can compare any issue using these four levels.
For example, when comparing income levels, he suggests dividing it this way:
Level 1 (poorest) Level 2 (poor) Level 3 (approaching wealthy) Level 4 (wealthy)
Instead of dividing by rich and poor, when you run the statistics (factual) you realize that most of the world is on Level 2 and Level 3. This provides a much more accurate picture — because Level 1 and Level 4 make up a much smaller percentage in every category.
Using income levels, one person per billion resides in Level 1 countries. Three people per billion reside in Level 2, with 2 people per billion in Level 3. Only one person per billion resides in Level 4.
Yes, you read that correctly. 3 people per billion live in Level 1 and Level 4 combined.
The majority – 5 people per billion live at Level 2 and Level 3.
I’ll let you read the book if it interests you. By the way, he acknowledges there are 5 issues in the world that warrant our concern, fear, and urgency. But all of the others, when you look at statistical data from professional and accurate fact finding sources, warrant almost none of the time, energy and drama we give them. (and guess what, the media loves drama and gets paid to provide it)
Oh, he also has a tip on where to be investing your money … I’ll let you find that too.
I hope you’ll give it a read. Unfortunately the author died of cancer last year but his son and daughter-in-law are continuing his work, including his website Gapminder.
To close, Here are 3 of the 13 questions he asks in the first of the book. See how you do!
1. In all low-income countries across the world today, how many girls finish primary school?
C. 60% (answer is C)
2. In the last 20 years, the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has:
A. Almost doubled
B. Remained more or less the same
C. Almost halved (answer is C)
3. How many people in the world have some access to electricity?
C. 80 % (answer us C)