This book, based on the life experience of Hans Rosling, is about learning to have a fact-based vision of the world. It is an eye-opener, as all the work done by Hans, his son Ola Rosling and his daughter in law Anna Rosling Rönnlund. After Hans passed away in February 2017, Ola and Anna continue their work at the Gapminder foundation (besides being Google employees) to try and counter what Hans defines in his own words “devastating ignorance” about the world and the world fact. The book tries to pull us out of our dichotomies, our black and white way of looking at things, our instincts that lead us to see trends where there are not and gaps where there are mostly overlaps.
Having said that, the Gapminder web site, the TED talks from Hans and Anna, the freely available tool, the many free available videos by Hans can give you already most if not all of what the book is about. What you miss is the story, the personal emotions and motivations behind Hans’s decision to fight prejudgment, misconceptions and outdated views about the world. You will also miss from those video the explanations that Hans, Ola and Anna try to give to explain our ignorance about the world. The mistakes we make interpreting the world looking just at the average values, the negative view of the world given by the media, our natural preservation instincts that most of the time amount to fears.
The book is inspirational, it is a book that somehow aims to cure the soul from two of the world worst illnesses: Ignorance and pessimism. Thanks again Hans, thanks Ola and Anna.