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In Review: Factfulness

By Durga Madhab Satapathy


Author background- Wikipedia says, “Hans Rosling was a Swedish physician, academic, and public speaker. He was the Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute and was the co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation, which developed the Trendalyzer software system.” They go on to elaborate Hans’s use of real time data to explore various world developmental issues & his stint as TED speaker.

I came across the book “Factfullness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think”, when I was gifted the same by my uncle who had previous stints in UNICEF and is currently working as the Country Director of DKT International, Myanmar. Having known my pessimistic view towards capitalism & constant doubts about survival of Man-kind he presented me with this book & hoped I would find it interesting.

Book Review: Mr. Rosling starts off by presenting how we view the world’s problems. The issues of “Overpopulation, terrorism, natural disasters, lack of food and resources, crime, income inequality, and access to education” across nations particularly the developing & under developed nations is something we as responsible citizens of the world are worried about. We all have at a moment or two thought as to how despite our technological developments & scientific advancements we’re worse off as humans. That capitalism has led to widening of gaps between the rich & poor is common knowledge & that this gap has led to worsening of lives of the poor.

But Rosling dismisses the labels & numbers associated with the different problems. He divides the world population into 4 income groups & goes on to tackle perception among his students as well as general public. He defines 10 instincts that we’ve developed over time. For each of the instincts, he asks a number of perception-based questions to his audience. The answers of his class mostly match with our perception about the various world issues. But then he skillfully brings out the real numbers into play. The real data & numbers are a huge shock to our established perceptions about the state of world in terms of development & standards of living.

Through the book, he constantly challenges the narrow mind of dividing nations as Rich or Poor, as most of the population can’t be defined or put into established notions. Through this book, I understood the need of substantiating each of my arguments or believes with established numbers. In the times of Populism when leaders can use perception to successfully plan & win power, it becomes vital that we spread the need

VERDICT- FACTFULLNESS, is a book which should be read by one and all, and more so by us who’re going to be Industry leaders in a few years. Having an understanding of our situation as humans is vital & will impact our decision making going forward.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- About The Author Durga Madhab Satapathy is a Marketing Enthusiast of IIFT Delhi , who loves having a debate or discussion on Politics & Social affairs of the country. A self professed Sports Guy he spends his free time by reading books and watching movies of different noirs.


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