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  • Writer's pictureJames

'Factfulness' by Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling was one of those great teachers whose enthusiasm for their subject made it irresistible. His great passion was to use data to challenge our misconceptions about the world. Unfortunately Hans died in late 2017, but thankfully he leaves a great legacy - not only a tremendous serious of TED talks and other videos but, thanks to some posthumous work by his son and daughter-in-law, a book - 'Factfulness: Ten reasons we're wrong about the world - and why things are better that you think.'

It is remarkable to think how much of our worldview is substantially inaccurate - how many of us were taught at school to see the world in terms of 'developed' and 'developing' countries. That distinction may have meant something in the 1960s, but is largely redundant today.

Even since Hans's death in February 2017, there is so much about the world which feels like 'things are getting worse' when in reality there has never been a better time to be alive. That is not to say things aren't bad - look at the war in Syria - but that they are better than they have been in the past.

For those of us who learned most of our statistics from Hans's voice on YouTube etc, it's thrilling to read the book and hear his cheek enthusiasm leap from every page. I'd recommend it for anybody who wants to have a view on our world and the progress we are making as a human race.

Incidentally, here's a great little tool from the GapMinder Foundation showing the improvement in health and wealth of countries over time:

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