If you have never seen Hans Rosling’s famous TED talk on the presentation of statistics, follow the link and enjoy his superb 20-minute romp. Rosling died in February 2017 and much of his legacy is encapsulated in Factfulness, the book he wrote before his death with the help of his son Ola Rosling and daughter-in-law Anna Rosling Ronnlund.
The subtitle, Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think, summarises the misunderstandings made by many who should know better and states his conclusion that things are actually a lot better than they were – but still bad enough to merit more attention than they are currently receiving.
It starts, as did many of his talks, by inviting the reader to answer a number of questions about the state of the world, about the extent of education, poverty and disease. You answer with some confidence, only to find you are not only wrong but also way off the mark. Suitably shamed, you are drawn into understanding the realities through his detailed explanations.
Rosling’s warmth and humanity shine through all the statistics and exposed ignorance, which makes the book a pleasure to read.
Factfulness by Hans Rosling is available from Hodder & Stoughton. Prices: Hardback £14.99, paperback and e-book £9.99. An illustrated edition will be published on October 3, priced £25 for hardback and e-book.