Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong about the World - and Why Things Are Better Than You Think / Hans Rosling,  342 p.

"How many of the world's one-year-old children today have been vaccinated against some disease?

20 percent
50 percent
80 percent"

Rosling spent his career accumulating and disseminating statistical information about world health and living standards, and in so doing he learned that a lot of us have a pessimistic view of things that doesn't square with reality.  He formulated a short quiz of questions like the one above, and found that the great majority of "developed world" citizens (a descriptor he would like to eliminate) score worse than chimpanzees.  His concern is that this skewed worldview effects decisions and planning within governmental and business organizations to everyone's detriment.  Why, for example, are Kotex and other companies that manufacture sanitary products striving mightily to craft new products to appeal to the US and European market, when there are really no new customers to be gained there?  They should instead be focusing on developing cheaper but still effective products for the African and Asian market, where there is currently a massive upswing in the numbers of women leaving home to go to school and work.  The book is full of such observations, as well as persuasive data and illustrative anecdotes.  Very strongly recommended. 

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