Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Ola Rosling 2018. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World - and Why Things Are Better Than You Think. New York: Flatiron Books, 342 pp.

Demolishes many pervasive misconceptions about the “undeveloped” world (which doesn’t exist), particularly, but not only, in matters of public health. Many such musunderstandings are derivative of the main message roughly captured but the below graphs from the Gapminder web site. There is no dichotomy between the “developed” and “undeveloped” world (just more or less continuous variation, which Rosling divides into 4 levels). Income, not religion, predicts family size, health outcomes and other improving outcomes. Institutions, motivated individuals in them, and technology are responsible for most human quality of live improvements (not political “leaders”).

Also crystalised the reasons for my dislike and distrust of news reporting in the media, especially television. The job of journalists, more or less, is to make events seem more important than they really are. For example by failing to provide numbers as per capita or other rates, and failing to provide comparative context.

Hans Rosling was a driven man and no doubt difficult to live with, as he admits. He evidently thought nothing of dropping everything to go to some public health troublespot for weeks to months at a time.

In a nutshell, our biases and misconceptions are stuck in the past:

… and need regular updates: