Monday, August 10, 2020

Book Report: Factfulness by Hans Rosling

     The novel Factfulness by Hans Rosling, was a very intriguing text for me. To begin, Rosling writes the book about ten different instincts and how they contribute to the real world. These instincts could be identified as stereotypes or even just someone's view of things. In short, this report will give a brief explanation about each instinct. The first instinct is the "gap instinct". This refers to the rich and poor or even first world or third world countries. People automatically make these assumptions and stereotypes comparing countries based on their wealth. The second instinct is the "negative instinct". This is believing that things are bad and will get worse with time. Moving to the next instinct, there is the "straight line instinct". This pertains to the belief that the world population will not continue to grow. It is more out of fear and ignorance to the already growing populations. Next, there is the "fear instinct. This is where people think something bad or violent is going to happen at all times. For example, doomsday preppers prepare for the possibility of the end of the world. 

    Moving on to the next instinct, there is the "size instinct". This relates to people overestimating how large a piece of data is. The example used was HIV and how people would think that the statistics were a lot, when in fact it was at a steady decrease. The sixth instinct is the "generalization instinct". This is the overgeneralization of a certain group or groups of people. Next, there is the "destiny instinct". This one was confusing, but seemed to be that people believe that some cultures are at a standstill and are not progressing with the development of the world. The eighth instinct is the "single perspective instinct". This seems to be happening more and more since the pandemic as people believe there is one solution or problem to a situation. Furthermore, there is the "blame instinct". This is where people always try to find someone or something to blame. This too is something that has been happening, especially with our president. Finally, there is the "urgency instinct". This is when people make decisions without thinking about them. They do not look at how to do something or fix something, rather they just make a decision recklessly and move forward. 

Overall, this book goes over how factfulness is practiced and gives several real world examples of these instincts. My favorite chapter was the "blame instinct" because I understood it so well. Rosling described it just as I imagined, and I immediately thought of my own examples to better understand its meaning. This chapter also talks about conspiracy theories and how some people blame things on outrageous scenarios. To tie this into a class discussion, conspiracy theories are a form of pseudoscience. Some can be proven with photos or videos, like the UFOs. 

In all, this book was very informative. It could be used to help people understand unconscious stereotypes we make, and give people a better understanding on how to address different scenarios. More people should read this to get a grip on how to be a better person, and think factually rather than with just an opinion. 

Attached is a clip from a press briefing that President Donald Trump had where he blamed protests, bars, and people traveling from Mexico as the reason for the increase in coronavirus cases. Protests have been occurring everywhere across the country, but not every state is seeing a rise in cases. This is a good example of the blame instinct as addressed by Hans Rosling.

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