PHAA members’ review of books – Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think (2018)

On left: Text - 'Members' review of books'. Vector of two hands holding a book. On right: Image of a bookshelf with a ladder in front of it.

Tara Tolhurst, PHAA member


“Factfulness” is described by the authors (Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund) as “the stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.”

Hans Rosling highlights the way our attention moves towards dramatic stories to filter the information overload we experience. He presents ‘10 Dramatic Instincts’ that highlight how people develop overdramatic interpretations, and ‘10 Rules of Thumb’ to control those instincts.

Hans was a physician and Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute before his death in 2017. Throughout this book, he draws on his life experiences, from an anecdote about sword swallowing to an honest and vulnerable story about being the only doctor in a district of hundreds of thousands of poor people. He moves from light-hearted to raw and everywhere in between to illustrate how dramatic instincts play out, providing an overview and steps to control these instincts at the end of each chapter.

This is a practical book brimming with hope that helps people identify their own misconceptions and develop a fact-based worldview. This book was not only a pleasure to read, but also transformed my perspective and worldview. When we are constantly inundated with information, this book felt like a much-needed lifeboat to keep me afloat. I would recommend it to anybody.



Image: Henry Be/Unsplash

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