50 Books each year

Chapter 3, Factfulness, Hans Rosling

June 24, 2020 Mijndert Burger Season 1 Episode 3
50 Books each year
Chapter 3, Factfulness, Hans Rosling
50 Books each year
Chapter 3, Factfulness, Hans Rosling
Jun 24, 2020 Season 1 Episode 3
Mijndert Burger

In chapter 3 of the podcast 50 Books each year we review the book Factfulness by the Swedish Hans Rosling. Hans is a doctor, a teacher, a researcher and a father. He puts a mirror in front of us and forces us to evaluate the way we look at the world. The we know all the facts, do we know the real facts? You will be surprised by the very low number of people who scored good on his 13 question test. If you think you know the world answer the 3 questions that we ask you in this chapter. Or just buy the book for the full 13 questions! Contact me at info@50bookseachyear.com or on twitter @50_books

Show Notes Transcript

In chapter 3 of the podcast 50 Books each year we review the book Factfulness by the Swedish Hans Rosling. Hans is a doctor, a teacher, a researcher and a father. He puts a mirror in front of us and forces us to evaluate the way we look at the world. The we know all the facts, do we know the real facts? You will be surprised by the very low number of people who scored good on his 13 question test. If you think you know the world answer the 3 questions that we ask you in this chapter. Or just buy the book for the full 13 questions! Contact me at info@50bookseachyear.com or on twitter @50_books

Hello, and welcome to 50 books each year, the podcast show where we read 50 books each year, so you don't have to. This is your host Mijndert Burger. Hey, hello, welcome. Welcome to Chapter number three of 50 books each year. And this week I'll be reviewing the book, facts fulness by Hans Rosling.

And this book is totally different than all the other books that I was used to. And this book is a testimony to why I love reading books, because there are so many nonfiction books. There are so many things to learn. There's so many different subjects and fact fulness is a book that I love. But before I get into the introduction before I'm going to read the blurb, or any of the reviews of famous people, the book starts with

This a course, yes, this book starts with a quiz, only 13 questions. So you will be able to manage that. It's multiple choice. Three answers possible A, B and C. And Hans Rosling gave this test to many people, 10, thousands and more. So the statistics that are going to be mentioned in this book are based on this test that He has given to 10s of thousands of people and more

even famous people, governmental leaders. So the numbers that you're going to hear is how the world thinks right now, or I should say, in 2018, when this book was published. So without further ado, I'm not going to give you 213 questions, of course, because I want to leave some reason for you to read the book yourself, and to make the quiz yourself. But question number one

And I will repeat it of course. Question number one is, in all low income countries across the world today, how many girls finish primary school? So the question is, in all low income countries across the world today, how many girls finish primary school? Now the possible answers are a 20%, b 40%, or C 60%. How many girls finished Primary School in low income countries? 2040 or 60?

All right. Let's go to question number two. Question number two is in the last 20 years. So think for yourself. How old was I 20 years ago? Where was I 20 years ago? What was I doing? Yeah, in the last 20 years, the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty.

Has answer a almost doubled, B remain the same, or see, almost half.

So the last 20 years, the world population living in extreme poverty doubled remain the same or haft.

Do you know the answer?

Well, let's go to the last question. Question number three.

And question number three is how did the number of deaths per year from natural disasters change over the last 100 years? Now you can go back 100 years I realised that but the question is, how did the number of deaths per year from natural disasters change over the last hundred years and with natural disasters, enhance

means floods, drug price, wars, storms, foods

Crop disasters all of those natural disasters?

How did the number change? Is it a more than doubled, B remained about the same, or C decreased to less than half. So more than double remain the same, or C less than half.

Now, these are the three questions. Before I'll get to the answers. I want to read the blurb and review for you.

A review is from the former US President Barack Obama. That's a good name to have on the backside of your book. And it reads a hopeful book about the potential of human progress when we work off of facts rather than our inherent biases.

And then the blurb when our simple questions about the global trends, what percentage of the world populations live in poverty? Why the world public

is increasing how many girl girls finishes school, we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that in chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently out guest teachers, journalists, noble lecturers, and investment bankers. In faithfulness professor of international health and global tete phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two longtime collaborators on and Ola offers a radical new explanation of why this happens and reveals the 10 instinct that distort our perspective.

inspiring and revelatory field wisdom, lively anecdotes and moving stories. faithfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see and empower you to respond to the crisis and opportunities of the future.

Wow. So

do you remember your answers that you have given on the three questions because I'm going to give them to you for question number one, just to remind

Question number one was in all low income countries across the world today, how many girls finished primary school?

2040 or 60%? The answer is C 60%. Finish finishes Primary School in low income countries. So don't think about the United States or Europe or Australia. We're talking about low income countries. Then question number two was in the last 20 years, the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty

is doubled to remain the same or haft The answer is haft. So in the last 20 years, people living in extreme poverty has haft.

Right. The last question question number three is how did the number of deaths per year from natural disasters change over the last 100 years? And the answers were more than doubled to remain the same or decreased with more than half and yes, it

And the answer is see decreased to less than half.


when this was published in 2018, the world was thinking in a doomsday scenario, because these questions this test by Hans Rosling has been given to many people. And I can already tell you that 9% from all these people had the questions correct.

It means that there's such a distorted worldview going on. And the question that Hans is asking you is do you know defects? are you basing your opinion about on facts?

Now, that is a good introduction for this book. This book, like I said, is published in 2018 as 259 pages only. So this book is

easy to read. It's about facts. There's nothing difficult about this. I read this in two days, and I loved this book. Now, unfortunately, Hans died in 2017 at the age of 68 years, so I can't ask any of the questions but Ola and Ana Rosling, his collaborators, the writers day finished a book after Hans has passed away, and they publish it and it was a best seller New York Times bestseller. I recommend this book as well. And before we start with the questions that you just answered, and the backstory behind it, I like to read you a quote about the chimpanzees mentioned in the blurb because in the blurb, it is mentioned that chimpanzees answered questions better than human beings zoo.

And this is a question

Imagine I decided to head down to the zoo to test out my questions on the chimpanzees. Imagine I take with me a huge armful of bananas each marked either A, B or C and threw them into the chimpanzee enclosure. Then I stand outside the enclosure, read out each question in loud, clear voice and no doubt each chimpanzees, quote unquote, answer. The letter on the banana she next chooses to eat is the answer.

If I did this, and I wouldn't actually do this, but just imagine the chips pick randomly. We'll do consistently better than well educated, but diluted human beings who take my test through per year, sorry, through pure luck. The troop of chimps would score 33% on each answer question, or four out of the first 12 on the whole test. Remember that humans I've tested got an

average of just two out of 12 on the same test.

Wow. That is amazing. That's four questions out of 12. chimps would have correct. And the average for the human being was two out of 12.

Now, this is insane. I've done the test as well. And I have to admit to you as well. I had only three answers, correct? Yes, of course. That's one question more than the average. But boy, did I feel stupid when I had the test, answered the questions. And I thought to myself, Wow, my view of the world is so distorted What am I basing my opinions of? So I read the book. And now I know what the deal is and why my answers were wrong.

But before we get into the answers, and the reason that why our worldview is so distorted, sometimes it's

That I have to make a request to you. We are a new podcast 50 bucks each year. And that means the algorithm of Apple podcasts or Spotify or any of the other providers that you're listening on, is not yet set for our podcast. So if you like the podcast, or if you like the subject about the podcast, please leave a review in the section of Apple, iTunes or Spotify. Give us the stars that we deserve. And it would help the visibility of the show a lot. Thank you for considering and let's get back to the show.

And now back to the show.

Yes, because why have we a distorted worldview, or I should say most of us, and Hans is also getting into debts in his book. And

as I've mentioned from reading part of his Wikipedia, part of his resume, Hans was a teacher as well.

Once he was in a class, and he was teaching his students, and the next quote is about that

I was going to start my lifelong fight against global misconceptions with my students.

What is the child mortality rate in Saudi Arabia? Don't raise your hands just shout it out. I had handed out copies of tables one and five from the UNICEF yearbook.

The handouts looked dull, but I was excited to

acquire of students shouted in unison 35 Yes, 35 correct. That means that 35 children die before their fifth birthday out of every thousands life birth.

Give me the number for Malaysia 14 came to came to course,

as a number of worth thrown back at me. I scribbled them with a green pen onto a plastic film on the overhead projector.

14 I repeated that skewered in Saudi Arabia.

My dyslexia played a little trick on me when I wrote Malaysia and a student's loft.

Now give me the number for Brazil 55 in Tanzania 171. I put the pen down and said, Do you know why I'm obsessed with the numbers for the child mortality rates? It is not only that I care about children. This measures takes the temperature of a whole society like a huge trauma ometer because children are fragile. There are so many things that can kill them, when only 14 die out of 1000 in Malaysia. This means that the other 986 survive.

Now, then, and of the quote, then Hans goes into what do you think about this numbers? And of course, the numbers are interesting, especially if you look at Tanzania.

171 if you look at the number of Saudi Arabia, it was 35. And debt might sound like a lot that 35 people out of 1000 die, or 35 children out of 1000 day.

But then, Hans continues.

I picked up a pen. Tell me now, how old life was in Saudi Arabia 35 years ago. How many children died in 1960? Luke in the second column,

too 242.

The volume dropped as my students articulated the big number 242 children

before the age of five, died in Saudi Arabia in 1960.

Yes, that's correct. Hans replies. Saudi Arabian society has made an amazing

progress has an IT. child deaths per thousand dropped from 242 to 35. In 33 years, that is way faster than Sweden we took 77 years to achieve the same improvements and have to quote.

Now what this should teach us is that a number doesn't say anything without context. A number without context, a number without

a previous number doesn't say anything. It doesn't give you if the

if there's a straight line is if there's a negative line. If things are in proportion, no, one number doesn't say anything.

So the next time you hear the news, and you'll hear a number of deaths of children in a certain country. Of course, this is horrible. Every death

The child is one too much.

But try to look at it with facts, search for facts, where was this country a couple of years ago? And look at the progress that they made because Saudi Arabia made amazing progress.

Now, let's go into the question, the first question that I asked you in the beginning of the podcast, and that was the question about girls finishing primary school and the answer was c 60%. of the girls finished Primary School in low income countries.

Now, did you have that question? Correct, be honest.

Because Han says in his book, that only 7% of people taking this test have this answer correctly. And that was wrong, too.

I thought I was optimistic because I thought of low income countries are thought of the things and the views that I've seen on the news. I thought about Africa, but other places.

In the world, and I thought, well, let's be optimistic. Let's go with 40%. And the real answer is 60 60% of the girls finished primary school. Now, this number doesn't say anything. If you just paid attention. This number doesn't say anything if you don't look at the progress that a country has made, but 60% of girls finishing Primary School is a great number.

Now 47% that picks the correct answer. Congratulations. But the chimpanzees just remind you at 33% correct.


if you think that the schools of low income countries that we're talking about Afghanistan or Sudan, you're correct,

but the children from or the girls, I should say, from Afghanistan in Sudan have less than 20% impact on this number.

So it's not just one or two countries that are pulling this number down or up.

Facts are facts. Now,

people believe that low income countries are much worse than they actually are.

And why is that? Why do we think that low income countries are

the worst of the worst?

And that has everything to do that we have a distorted worldview. And Hans describes it as developing countries and developed countries. That is how many of us view the worlds like we live in a developed Europe or America or Australia.

But Han says the world is not one or two. The The world is not black or white. There is so many levels

In the worlds that there needs to come, a better system,

enhance made a better system.

In the book, Hans made four levels of income for the world. And he describes on each level, what they have, how many people in the world live in that level, and what they have to eat, how transportation is like, what they're cooking, how they're sleeping, and so on. So, the four levels, the lowest level is level one. If you are in level one,

you have to get by with less than $2 a day.

Now, 1 billion of the world's population lives in this level.

1 billion, that's a lot of people still, that's a lot of people, 1 billion people live of $2 or less. And this means that you have to get drinking water

letter from a well miles away, that your means of transportation or is probably bare feet, that you're cooking above wood, that you're eating the same brownish meal every day every meal and that you're sleeping on the ground. Maybe you have a rock but you're sleeping on the ground.

That's level one.

If we go to level two, then you have to get by between two or $8 a day. Now this is already a big improvement of course because look at the difference of less than two or between two and $8 a day. That's a lot.

Now unsubscribes if you have level two, you're probably are still getting drinking water from a well but you have the means of transportation as for example a bike.

You can get gas for cooking. You have a little bit of vegetables in your meal

and a

Of course your bed is not a full king size bed. But it is a mattress might not be on

spring form, but it is a mattress now, 3 billion people in the world live in level two. So 3 billion, live on level two between two and $1. And actually, I already can tell you that 3 billion people this is the largest group of the world live in level two.

So this also tells you that the majority of the people don't live in extreme poverty anymore.

Now for level three, if you are level three, you have drinking water from a faucet. You can have the means in terms of a bike and I mean a motorbike. You have a cooking set, you have more vegetables, maybe even potatoes and you have a normal bet your income is between eight and $32 a day

There is a lot. Now if you go to level four, then you are in the Western countries. And you have a normal facet, maybe you have a car, you have a cooking set, you have vegetables, potatoes, rice and everything. And your bed is a good bet with the possibility of a boxspring. And your income is 32 a day or more. And that is of course, the average because in a country there's of course, highs, there's lows, but this is the general number for a person to live in for levels in the world instead of developed countries and developing countries

and says, We have four levels 123 and four, the majority of the people are living in level two

and there's 1 billion people living in extreme poverty level one.

So with that said, let's let's get into question number two and question

Number two wells in the last 20 years, the proportion of the world's population living in extreme poverty has doubled, remain the same or almost haft. Now. I gave a tip of the answer or to why in the answer already in the previous parts, or in the last question, because we were talking about the levels, the levels in the world 123 and four, and where the majority of the people are living.


if we look in the worlds in 1800 85 of the people, percentage of the people were living in extreme poverty.

Now, in 1966, this was 50%.

In 2017, this was 9% 9% of the world's population has to get by with less than $2 a day. Now, of course,

This is still a lot of people I just mentioned on level one, there's 1 billion people. This is a lot of people. But if you look at the contacts, context, sorry, then we went from 1966 50% to 2017, only nine.

So more than half in that period of time,

the people living in extreme poverty more than half. Now, why did the number drop so hard?

In 1987 42% of the people living in India in China, lived in extreme poverty.

And if you look at the graphs that the book thankfulness has given you, then you can tell that India and China are the biggest countries when it comes to the amount of people that live in it.

So in 1997

42% of them lived in extreme poverty with less than $2 a day. If you look at the numbers in 2017, India, only 12%. So that went down 30% and China and a may zing 0.7%.

So almost none of the Chinese are living in extreme poverty anymore. And when you are realising that 3 billion people

are living in level two,

and they came from level one, then you know why this number dropped so hearts. Now, it's not only India and China because also lead in America, Latin America had a number of 14% and dropped to 4%.

Now, the question is, why are the people on level four, not noticing this improvement and probably if you're listening to this

broadcast, you are on level four.

But why are the people on level four not noticing that the world is improving so much?


20 years ago, when I go back 20 years, I was 18 just finished high school, I joined the military. And, of course, I saw the poverty. Of course, I saw the things that were happening around me. But why didn't I notice in the next 20 years that the world was improving? Now, of course, this has everything to do with where do we get our news from?

What is the news? Who is giving the news? And is the news reliable?

Because if there's a journalist

talking about the poverty in Africa, and saying this is the worst that there

Ever been?

You believe that?

And it doesn't mean that the journalist is lying. Let's be clear about this. I'm not suggesting that the journalist is like, it might be the worst incident ever.

But if you look at it from a broader perspective, the whole continents or the worlds

The numbers are improving the facts are that the world is improving. Of course, there's always things that need to need to improve. Every child that dies is one to many. Every billion of people that lives in extreme poverty is 1 billion to many, because we all need food, we all need transportation, we all need safety.

But we also need to see and recognise where we come from, and why where we are now.

Now, with that being said, let's go to the last question. Question number three. How did the number of death per year

From the natural disasters change over the last 100 years was that a more than doubled, B remained the same, or C decreased less than half? Now the correct answer was C, decrease to less than half.

And just to remind you, this includes floods, earthquakes, storms, droughts, wildfires and extreme temperature over the last 100 years, more than half of this number decreased. Now, only 10% of the 10s of thousands of people taken this test had this answer, right.

Only 10% just to remind you to chimpanzees had 33%.

And in this group of people, just to remind you, again, it's journalists, it's world leaders. It's you, me and journalists, it's everybody. We have a distorted view of the world now

Not only is the number of deaths from natural disasters, haft, it is even less, the actual number is 6%. So not only is it 50%, which means half it is 6% from the original number. Now, how did this come about? And there's two big reasons for it. In that 100 year,

more people came to this world. The world got smaller, or the more people came on, it's so the number of people is higher. This affects your percentage of people to die. But with more people in the world, you would think that more people would die. But this is not the case. There were less natural disasters, and there were less people getting killed from natural disaster. So the number dropped drastically. To 6%. it bears repeating 6% only.

Now nature

did not change you might think otherwise. There's also a question about the

global climate change, of course in this book, but I'm not getting into this one. But you might think that nature is changing. But that's not the case. Of course,

the people are changing and how we live.

Now we were just talking about the people that are living on level 123 and four, and in the last 100 year,

there are so many people that are going from level one to level two.

Now, when you're in level one, you only have a maximum of $2 a day. You don't have any money to make your house any better. You don't have any money to protect yourself from natural disaster. But if you're on level two,

your income is already times four. Suddenly you find yourself with a little bit of money. Maybe you can improve your house for the rain. Maybe you can improve for the wind.

The government is able to get Texas from you. So maybe they are able to do or instal systems.

Now, with more people on the worlds and less people dying, this means that the number has dropped to 6% only. And there's an example for this. And it's in Bangladesh, and I will quote No, I have to say Bangladesh and Nepal for the comparison. And the quote goes, back in 1942, Bangladesh was on level one, and almost all its citizens were illiterate farmers. over a two year period, it suffered terrible floods and droughts and cyclones. No international organisation came to the rescue, and 2 million people died. Today, Bangladesh is on level two. Today, almost all Bangladeshi children finish school, where they learn the three red and black flags means everyone must run to the evacuation centres. Today, the government has felt across

To your country huge River Delta, a digital surveillance system connected to a freely available flood monitoring website.

Just 15 years ago, no country in the world had such an advanced system.

When another Cyclone hit in 2015, the plan works and the World Food Programme flew in 113 tonnes of high energy biscuits to the 30,000 evacuated families.

In that same year, two downs 15 vivid images spread awareness across the world of the horrific earthquake in Nepal.

And rescue teams and helicopters were quickly deployed. Tragically, thousands were already dead. But a humanitarian and resources that rushed through this inaccessible country on level one did manage to prevent the death though from rising even further.

Dare you have a comparison,

Bangladesh in 1942 had a disaster

Or actually two years of disasters which killed 2 million people. Then in 2015, it happened again. But due to their systems due to defect, they went from level one to level two, and they installed their protection systems.

Only 30,000 people got evacuated, and they all got fed by the United Nations with 113 tonnes of high energy biscuits. Now, of course,

there will be numbers or incidents or things that will suggest otherwise, but these artefacts and if you compare it into two terms, 15 Nepal, and I still remember these images because it was big in the news that during that earthquake,

that so many people died in Nepal, and that so many helicopters came to the rescue.

The comparison of this of country on level one is in saying

so we need to be able to elevate countries

from level one, to level two, we need to let them have the means to protect themselves.


Hans also wants to expand our way of thinking, of seeing the broader perspective. So there's also this and we continue to quote from Nepal,

Nepal, where 9000 people had died during the same 10 days. diarrhoea from contaminated drinking water also killed 9000 children across the world. And there were no camera teams around as these children faded into the arms of their crying parents. No cool helicopters swooped in.

Well, that is a comparison. In the same 10 days when a Paul had the earthquake and 9002 children were killed

the same 10 days.

9000 children died from diarrhoea

The world did nothing about debt. There was no camera there was no I have two worlds. Nobody did something about it.

Now that's broadening your horizons. Why did Nepal get so much attention?

And why

did the children that died from diarrhoea did not have the same attention as the 9000 people that died in a poll

makes you wonder. But Hans is also very good at protecting everyone. And he's not putting a blame. He says don't point at anyone. Pointing is not a way to find a solution.

Don't blame the government. Because the government might not know the facts. The government might not know the way forward or maybe if you're a level one government, you might not even have the means to instal a system.

Also, don't blame the media. On says if you read my book, you might think that

I would blame the media. But this is not the case. And Hans really emphasises that a couple of times, I do not blame the media. And also, when I'm reading the book, I don't blame the media. Because the journalist standing in the middle of a flood or an earthquake or drove a wildfire, is seeing FX exceeding people die is telling you the story how it is. Now, the only thing you could say about it, is that you might miss the bigger picture from this story. You might only see the emotion, you might only see the death. But if you realise that the bigger picture is that 20 years ago, more people die.

From these kinds of things that you might think a little bit differently from the story that you see on the news.

Now also don't blame NGOs. NGOs sometimes have very good rep and sometimes a very bad rep, but don't

blame them. They mean, well, they want to improve the world. They want to help children. They want to better the environment and everything. But they do have a stake in this. They want our money, so they can spend it on their projects. So of course, what they show you is true. Of course, what they show you is a child dying from hunger, of course, there's an earthquake.

But what they don't tell you is the bigger picture. So the next time you see an advertisement for money, of course, you have to give because 1 billion people in extreme poverty is still too many. And we have seen that levelling people from level one to level two, helps on so many different ways. So we need to help them but it's not the fault of the NGOs is not the fault of the government. It is not the fault of the media. We have to help everybody

And it's our job as level four as level three as level two,

to make sure that level one becomes as small as possible. Now, with that being said, if I didn't, if I wasn't a good advocate for this book, then I'm so sorry, I can't do a better job because I loved fact one is I love this book. It changed my worldview. It is effects. It's almost undebatable

I love this book. I love the weight.

Which Hans was telling the story. I love the way his collaborators over rustling and Santa Rosa in Greenland. Were able to tell us this story. Thank you so much for telling the story. Now, if you want me to read a book, did you really like a nonfiction book? Contact me on Twitter 50 underscore books or go to the website 50 bucks each year.com thank you so much for listening to the podcast and we're dead set

To the podcast 50 books each year, go to www dot 50 books each year.com for all of our social media channels and join the story

Transcribed by https://otter.ai