Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Hans Rosling

Summary: people are quite bad in estimating how world is improving

Score: 95 / 100

So good that I’ve given a Czech translation to my grandmother.

Clippings (from Kindle)

If you want to convince someone they are suffering from a misconception, it’s very useful to be able to test their opinion against the data.

Eighty-five percent of mankind are already inside the box that used to be named “developed world.”

Most of your firsthand experiences are from Level 4; and that your secondhand experiences are filtered through the mass media, which loves nonrepresentative extraordinary events and shuns normality.

When women are educated, all kinds of wonderful things happen in societies. The workforce becomes diversified and able to make better decisions and solve more problems. Educated mothers decide to have fewer children and more children survive.

It’s amazing how well people can work together when they share the same fears.

You risk missing out on the biggest economic opportunity in world history while you use your marketing spend to push special “yoga” pads to wealthy hipsters in the biggest cities in Europe.

One of the best ways to do this is to travel, if you possibly can.

The challenge is to realize which of our simple categories are misleading—like “developed” and “developing” countries—and replace them with better categories, like the four levels. One of the best ways to do this is to travel, if you possibly can.

Your country has become so safe that when you go abroad the world is dangerous for you.

Google toilet, bed, or stove. You will get images from Level 4. If you want to see what everyday life is like on the other levels, Google won’t help.

Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone affecting tourism in Kenya, a 100-hour drive across the continent. That is farther than London to Tehran.

Be Prepared to Update Your Knowledge

If this means you don’t have time to form so many opinions, so what? Wouldn’t you rather have few opinions that are right than many that are wrong?

I never take it for granted that brilliant experts will know anything about closely related fields outside their specializations.

Almost every activist I have ever met, whether deliberately or, more likely, unknowingly, exaggerates the problem to which they have dedicated themselves.

Our press may be free, and professional, and truth-seeking, but independent is not the same as representative:

We have an instinct to find someone to blame, but we rarely look in the mirror.

It must make one ask if the leaders are that important. And the answer, probably, is no.

When people tell me we must act now, it makes me hesitate. In most cases, they are just trying to stop me from thinking clearly.

When you are called to action, sometimes the most useful action you can take is to improve the data.

If you can’t track progress, you don’t know whether your actions are working.

We also know the solutions: peace, schooling, universal basic health care, electricity, clean water, toilets, contraceptives, and microcredits to get market forces started.

published: 2018-05-22
last modified: 2023-02-21