Friday, April 24, 2020

Factfulness - Makayla Hoffman

Hans Rosling, the author of Factfulness, writes his book explaining false facts most of the world lives by. The whole basis of Rosling’s book is to prove that the world is not as bad as we are made to believe. Social media and the news is giving the world incorrect views of the world. Rosling points out that we only ever see the negative things happening in the world and we have been trained to look at the bad before we look at the good. Rosling exposes us (humans), as viewing the world in a glass half empty manner and tries to convert our views to seeing the world as the glass being half full. The author is able to enlighten the reader with facts that have been hidden away from the world for many years.
One chapter of Rosling’s novel that stands out to me is Chapter Two: The Negativity Instinct. In this chapter, Rosling brings up the point that people view the world as slowly deteriorating. Data provided in this chapter taken from 30 different countries all say at least 50% of the country thought the world was getting worse. In order to bring light to the fact that in most aspects of the world, the world is actually improving, Rosling stated, (Rosling et al.  2019) “...over the last 20 years, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has almost halved.”. This statistic shows that we as a world have been able to provide opportunities to people in order to improve their quality of life and their health. We were able to come together as a world and enhance an aspect of our everyday life thus improving the world. I enjoy reading this chapter because I was someone who had the instinct to look at the world as getting worse but Rosling opened my eyes to the facts that show that we are actually improving the world and the way we live.
Chapter Four: The Fear Instinct brings up the point that as humans, our first instinct is to think of the worst possible scenario. As Rosling shares through a flashback in the chapter, he remembers a time while working at a hospital that he thought his patient was bleeding out when in reality he was only stepping on an ink cartridge of the Swedish Airforce pilots life vest. This chapter stood out to me because it made me realize just how often our brains go to the worst possible scenario. We are taught to fear things that most likely will never happen in our lives. For example, people have a small fear of being flooded by a hurricane when in reality they live in the middle of the country and the odds of that ever happening are slim to none. We fear things like dying in an air plane crash more than we fear dying of a car crash when in reality the odds of dying in an airplane accident are 1 in 11 million (0.00000909%) (Haltiwanger 1) whereas the odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident are 1 in 103 (0.97%) (Mazzei 1). In this chapter, Rosling is able to take popular fears of humans and put them into perspective for the reader to make it visible that some of our biggest fears may never even happen. 
The Single Perspective Instinct in Chapter 8 really made this book worth the read in my opinion. I never realized how corrupt our views are because we only see them through one view. We tend to take the first bit of information we hear and ignore all of the possible information and facts that could completely change our view on the subject. Oftentimes we forget that some problems have multiple solutions, just like in mathematics there's always another way to solve a problem or something that can impact the solution. Rosling brings to our attention that there is almost always another solution. For example, veterinarians tend to give medication when there is a sick animal because that’s what they are taught however, medication is not always good for the animal. Dr. Mark Newkirk, a veterinarian I work for, makes medicine the last solution because there are other healthier approaches to caring for sick animals such as chinese herbs or therapy. If we continue looking at problems with one perspective we can miss such big parts of the world.
Overall, the book enlightened me and was able to open my eyes to the realities of the way we think. The only downside about the book is that it tends to be a bit repetitive. Each chapter talks about something different however it is written almost exactly the same. I would have enjoyed the book a bit more if it had flowed better together rather than being repetitive and written in sections. All together, the book kept me interested and I was excited to read the next chapter each week. Factfulness is not a book I would pick up in the store at first glance however having read it, I would recommend it to anyone.

Haltiwanger, John. “If You're Afraid Of Flying, The Odds Of A Plane Crash Will Reassure You.” 
Elite Daily, Elite Daily, 2 Oct. 2019,
Mazzei, Patricia. “Opioids, Car Crashes and Falling: The Odds of Dying in the U.S.” The New 
York Times, The New York Times, 14 Jan. 2019,
Rosling, Hans, et al. Factfulness: Ten Reasons Were Wrong about the World - and Why Things 
Are Better than You Think. Flatiron Books, 2019.Rosling, Hans, et al. Factfulness: Ten Reasons Were Wrong about the World - and Why Things Are Better than You Think. Flatiron Books, 2019.

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