Numbers don't lie

71 Things You Need to Know About the World

Václav Smil

Summary: Interesting number facts about the world, a bit like Factfulness.

Score: 75 / 100

You don’t need to know those 71 things, but they are quite interesting. The book feels like a bunch of blog posts put together.

Smil is a bit grumpy when describing the newest tech (smartphones, social networks), but overall, the book is well written and easy to read.

It is my first book from this author but I am a bit disappointed given the praise his books receive(d). (Bill Gates is an avid reader of Smil’s books.)

Numbers might not lie, but you can misinterpret them or you can still present them in an opinionated manner. That’s exactly what he does, e.g. when comparing phones and cars (he doesn’t own a phone but has a car).

It is hard to be immune against biases, even if you present hard facts and numbers.

published: 2022-02-13
last modified: 2023-01-21