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Book coverFull title "Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund", this is a book that everyone should read. It's not a masterpiece, in fact it feels banal, but it's this banality that makes it so powerful. Hans Rosling is capable of showing with actual proof that your world view is really really wrong. And not only you, but also the politicians that are supposed to fix the world, the specialists that are supposed to find solutions to all of our problems, the reporters who are supposed to report on the news and the large majority of people are just as confused as you are.

And it is proof of the power of the book that someone like me, who knew who Rosling was and watched his very inspiring TED Talks, was still surprised by its content and teachings.

The book claims that the instincts that helped our ancestors survive are clouding our judgement of the much less dangerous, but more abstract modern world we live in. Rosling enumerates ten, with anecdotes that feel like scenes from TV dramas only to make you doubt who is the villain and who are the heroes. It is the main idea of book that only by working with fact based information we can make the best decisions and take the best possible action to move us forward.

This is not a book that will amaze you with its writing style, it will not make you laugh out loud, nor is it intended to make you feel good, although it probably will. It is facts about things that you felt you knew, but in fact were ignorant of. It is for example heartbreaking to read the part about immigrants in Europe dying and being taken advantage of because of really dumb European laws, not because of their destination countries regimes or from poverty. It is uplifting to know how much the world has changed for the better in just a few decades and all over the place. As a Romanian, I've always assumed that the rest of the world was rich and plentiful outside the Iron Curtain and that the recent improvements in life style were caused mostly by the fall of Communism in the area. I had no idea how similar life was for so many around the time I was born and that life has improved dramatically all over, not just here. It is empowering to know that women make more or less children in consistent correlation to their income and not their culture, religion or regime. When people don't need to have children, they don't make them, regardless of what Mao, the Pope or anyone else says.

Bottom line: you have to read this just as much as you have to get a general education. It simply should be taught in schools.


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