Factfulness by Hans Rosling

It is difficult in this very moment to say the world is getting better. As I write this review I have been in quarantine in my home due to COVID-19 for nearly four months. Protests and riots are filling the streets in almost every major city across the country. If I look at my childhood, I recall so many images of death and cruelty: the terrorist attacks of 9/11, wars in the Middle East, and frequent almost constant school shootings.

When I was in college I remember learning these two things: overpopulation is going to destroy everything and the lack of resources in Africa will destroy the continent’s population. At the time, this made sense to me. These “facts” made sense, but now I look at these assumptions and realize they are not only false but contradictory. How can overpopulation be a concern when one whole continent is dying? It is amazing how I can believe two contradictory facts to be true.

So, is the world getting better? Absolutely.

It is hard to see the global picture through your own eyes. It is hard to see the big changes. In fact, it is hard to see the changes on your street.

Factfulness is about how things are getting better. No, everything is far from perfect and there is still a lot to do. Like the author said, we can agree things are getting better while still working towards progress.

I learned a long time ago that using data to support your argument does very little to persuade others. It is human nature to look for confirmation to our bias. So if you disagree with the facts listed in this book, then I don’t know what to say. I really enjoyed this book and it helps shape my view of the world; a world full of uplifting possibilities.