Recently I have been reading a very interesting book called Factfulness, by Hans Rosling, Professor of Global Health. The byline – Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World and Why Things are Better than You Think – describes in a nutshell what the book is about. In it, Professor Rosling explains how everyone, from factory workers to university professors, United Nations officials, world bankers and aid agency workers, consistently view the world as a worse place than it is.
When asked about global trends in health, education, prosperity, child deaths, disasters and other indicators of wellbeing, we consistently get it wrong due to systematic biases in our thinking. The result is pessimism and a lot of needless worry. This is not to say there is nothing to be concerned about as there clearly are concerns about issues such as climate change, but when we over-emphasize the bad and ignore the improving, we open ourselves up to anxiety and defeatism.