Podcast & Book Reviews

Book Review | Factfulness by Hans Rosling

August 10, 2021

Book Review | Factfulness by Hans Rosling

Book Review | Factfulness by Hans Rosling

By Jared Tilley | Senior Investment Analyst at NAOS Asset Management

In the depths of 2020, a virus brought the globe to a standstill and potentially changed people’s way of life for good. It was hard to be positive and bullish. Cut off from friends and family, it didn’t seem like there was any light at the end of the tunnel.

Fast forward to mid 2021, the vaccines are being rolled out across the globe, its fair the say that sentiment is getting a jab in the arm. So while the globe is on the up, is it honest to say that this trend has been evident before, or is this just a 2021 story?

Factfulness by Hans Rosling is an insightful and intriguing book to get you thinking. Similar to a feel good movie, the book brings data to life in proving the reader wrong that the world is in a much better state than we think.

Rosling attempts to unwrap key reasons why our thinking is distorted when looking at global trends and even proves that chimpanzees have a better success rate at choosing answers at random than educated and well-informed individuals. Finally, Rosling touches on multiple examples across the globe and highlights practical ways one can not only improve their thinking but to see the positive trends evolving shape and not to be blinded by our poor human instincts.

Four key points worth remembering:

  • Recognising when we get negative news and remembering that information about bad events is much more likely to reach us.
  • Take a breath. When your urgency instinct is triggered, your other instincts kick in and your analysis shuts down. Ask for more time and more information. It’s rarely now or never and its rarely either/or.
  • Being humble means being aware of how difficult your instincts can make it to get the facts right. It means being realistic about the extent of your knowledge. It means being happy to say “I don’t know”.
  • It will not be long before businesses care more about fact mistakes than they do about spelling mistakes, and will want to ensure their employees and clients are updating their worldview on a regular basis.

Link to book 

Finally, I am a big believer that books should be shared and not left on a book shelf to gather dust. So a small reward for anyone who made it this far, if you are interested in reading the above book, please reach out and I’ll organise delivery.