Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Book Report, Factfulness

Factfulness, written by Hans Rosling is an eye opening book that will revolutionize the way an individual thinks about the world. The author opens the book with stating the main misconceptions in our society which is ultimately dividing humans into two groups- rich or poor/developed and developing countries. There are general assumptions that “developing nations” to this day are worse off or equal to what they were decades ago, and that simply isn’t the case. Some of the common generalizations for developing nations is that they are lacking significant access to healthcare, fresh water, sanitation, transportation, education, and electricity. Yes, some countries are better off than others, but the reality in fact is that conditions are improving worldwide. Educators, journalists, investors, and medical researchers are even misleading the general public with outdated statistics. It appears as though people are incapable of thinking for themselves and critically in general. 
One of the most interesting topics I came across was The Fear Instinct. This is the idea that humans have attention filters, and the most dramatic instincts receive the most attention. For example, Rosling makes the comparison that media chooses to capture moments that are more intense and dramatic such as racism, violence, terrorist attacks, and earthquakes (Rosling, 2018). The author placed every topic on a level system of 1-4 where 4 indicates the highest average amount of dollar income per day, and can be used and interpreted globally. The highest earners on level four which make at least $32/day contribute to paying for natural disaster relief through their tax dollars. Astonishingly, 90% of individuals are unaware of their contribution because the media does not find it interesting enough for the main headlines on news networks worldwide. Instead of showing positive segments, the news editors are focused on negativity. It is phenomenal to hear that currently no country suffers from increased child mortality which means conditions are improving worldwide for future generations, but what good is this if hardly anyone knows? With so much focus on hatred and scare tactics, how will we ever be able to better our societies if we can’t feel the appreciation of our accomplishments?
Prior to reading this book, I have always been taught relatively the same ideas/concepts as an environmental science student. This book was inspirational as I felt it connected more dots pertaining specifically to my major. My father said that I should have been a lawyer as I meticulously analyze everything, and this book honestly leaves me with more questions than answers. The majority of people aren’t able to recognize these accomplishments worldwide because we lack a certain leadership and level of honesty with the general public. Politics certainly contribute to this confusion, but who is really at fault here? This is a culmination of many factors that has more depth and dimension than what our society is willing to admit. We the people- follow our leaders as they contradict themselves and receive glory for it. What’s written in our school books is what the government wants children to be raised to believe. It is important in this media-crazed society to be able to think critically about the information that is being fed to us on a daily basis, rather than blindly accepting ideas as truth or false thinking. The only way to change this negative mindset is for people to start believing in themselves, rather than the people they idolize or stereotypical fears. As human conditions worldwide are improving, there is still more work to do, such as fighting for equal rights and fair-trade. I have found an interesting Ted Talk by psychologist Steven Pinker who expresses similar views of Rosling's, as well as a video on a newspaper that only has good news to spread, hope you enjoy.



Rosling, H. With Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund. 2018. Factfulness: Ten Reasons      
We're Wrong About the World- And Why Things are Better Than You Think.

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