Sunday, August 8, 2021

Book Report

Factfulness was published in 2018 and was written by Hans Rosling. The book discusses peoples view on the world and how it is incorrect. People tend to view the world to be worse than it actually is. It includes 10 instincts that change and affect our view on the world, it has statistics, examples and graphs to get its point across. Rosling spent time going around the world surveying people on their views on different topics such as poverty, health, environment, etc. The people that were surveyed thought worse of the world than what is happening. It was found the people do not see the world as it is due to the fact that our views on different trends are much more exaggerated than what is happening in reality. The goal of the book is to shift peoples perceptive on what is truly happening in the world, so they can change how they think and act. Something I really enjoyed about the book was the author put some of the questions he had in his survey in the book. This is so that the reader could make a guess about what they think is going on in the world and determine if they were correct or incorrect about what is actually happening.

The chapter that stood out to me the most was Chapter 2: The Negativity Instinct. The chapter focuses on the tendency for people to notice the bad more than the good. People do believe that the world is getting worse. This is concerning because people do not understand what is truly going on around them. The percentages for people thinking the world is getting worse in every single country is all above 50 percent, some are even around 80 percent. An example in the book was the amount of people in poverty today compared to the past 20 years. Less than 10 percent of people answered this question correctly by saying the amount of people in poverty today has halved in the past 20 years. 20 years ago 29 percent of people were in poverty, now it is around 9 percent. Another example in the chapter involves life expectancy. The survey question was what is life expectancy of people today. In the different places surveyed the highest percentage to get the question correct was only 43 percent. The correct answer is 70 years old. In the past 40 years people live an another 10 years on average which is incredible. There has been many countries that have increased in wealth and health immensely in the past century. Some of these countries are Sweden, Egypt, Zambia etc. Then the chapter had another 32 graphs to show some other improvements. A few examples of these are child cancer survival, immunization, protected nature and many more. A large part of the negativity impact is what news stations and newspapers were put out to the public. It is much more likely that a tragedy for disaster would make front page news rather than something positive. Another thing people have incorrect perspective on is the amount of crime. The majority of people asked if they believe crime has gone increased or decreased in the past year answered increased, but it has actually decreased. This can be mainly due to what the news shows people. Another reason people think the world is getting worse is because there are still a lot of big problems that need to be solved, so those are what people are thinking about. The author wants people to understand that the world is not perfect but to still acknowledge all of the great improvements made in the past couple years. Lastly, the author goes over how to work on not looking at the world so negatively. He suggests understanding that there can be both bad and good things going on in the world, and people should not ignore either one. Another way to be less negative is to expect bad news. If you are expecting it, it is less likely to take you by surprise. Also, don't look at history with "rose tinted glasses" learn about history and don't make the same mistakes. 

This chapter can be related to class because it discusses how part of the reason why people believe the world is worse than it used to be is because people don't remember their youth completely accurately. Older people tend to "romanticize" their youth and think things that were better than they were. This is similar to the false memories we learned about in class. False memories tend to occur because people make up a past that makes sense to them and meets current expectation. People that lived in China or India experienced poverty not too long ago but now that they have supplies and a place to live it has been forgotten about. For example, a journalist did a study in India where he showed people pictures of the same place they lived in the 1970s and many people did not believe him due to the fact of how dirty and less fortunate the people and the area looked. They did not remember it being like that because in their minds it was not as bad when they lived through it, it was worse when they looked back at it. False memories allow people to make a version of what happened compared to what they want to believe. 

When reading this chapter it made me think a lot about the world today due to Covid-19. I think this entire book would have been written differently if it was just published two years later in 2020. I have no idea what statistics would be different then in the book but, I know some would definitely change a lot. I know during Covid there is a lot of negativity going on in the world, but after reading this book and especially Chapter 2 I tried to think of some positives that occurred during the quarantine and still occurring now. I thought about it during quarantine the dog shelters were the most empty they've been in years. My family actually adopted a rescue dog during Covid. Another positive thing that has occurred because of quarantine is the Great Barrier Reef has increased up to 39 percent due to people staying home which is great for the environment. I also think people have learned to appreciate life more because of Covid-19. So many people lost their lives and I think it made people realize that they never know when their day could come so it became crucial to enjoy life while you can.

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