The Pequod Review:
Hans Rosling's book Factfulness expands on the work of Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature (2001) as he shows the disconnect between the global trends that are actually taking place in the world (which are mostly positive) and our perceptions of these trends (which are mostly negative). Whereas Pinker focused on proving that the world was improving — e.g., violence is declining, poverty is falling, female education is increasing, etc. — Rosling mostly takes this for granted and instead explores the reasons why our perceptions are so at odds with reality. His book identifies ten key factors that distort our perspectives, including our tendency to divide things into two groups separated by a large gap (e.g., the developed world vs the undeveloped world, which Rosling persuasively shows is quite misleading), our negativity bias (the fact that we notice and remember bad news more than good news), and our size instinct (where standalone numbers presented without comparison appear larger than they really are). In the end, his prescriptions boil down to a plea for increased factfulness: "the stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts."