Factfulness : Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling

You sure you know how the world works ?

Most people think the world is more frightening, violent and hopeless – in short more dramatic, than it really is.

Its the over dramatic worldview that draws people to the most dramatic and negative answer to fact questions. If your world of view is wrong, then you will systemically make wrong guesses.

1, The gap instinct

How we create a picture in our head often split into 2 kind of countries / people. Stop diving countries ./ people into 2 groups, it doesn’t help us to understand the world, it doesn’t help business find opportunities.

How we can control gap instinct ?

(a) Comparisons of averages – averages mislead by hiding a spread, instead look at the overall ranges

(b) Comparison of extreme

(c) The view from up here, most of your first hand experience is in your level, and your second hand experience is filtered thru the mass media.

2. Negative instinct

Our tendency to notice bad is way more powerful than good

Object in your memories were worse than they appear. WE avoid reminding ourselves / children about eh miseries / brutalities of the past.

Most people just feel, but not think rationally.

When people wrongly believe nothing is improving, they may conclude nothing we tried working and lose confidence in measure that actually work.

How to control negative instinct ?

(a) Bad and better – persuade myself to keep 2 through in my head at the same time. It could be bad but still improving.

(b) Expect bad news – Positive change may be more common, but they don’t find you, you need to find them.

(c) Don’t censor history.

3. Straight Line instinct

Our straight line instinct is not always a reliable guide. We always make unrealistic projection base on straight line.

How to control the straight line instinct ? Know there are more lines than straight Line

(a) Straight Line – when there are only 2 variables : Income / health , income / education

(b) S-BEND : Low and flat first, then rise quickly, then flat again ( income / basic need )

(c) Slides – start flat, then slope downward, flat out ( babies / person-income)

(d) Humps – Low in both end, high in middle (traffic death / income )

(e) Double lines (1,2,4,8,16 increase ) – Income / spending

4. Fear instinct

When we are afraid, we don’t see clearly, we pay attention to information that fit our dramatic instinct.

Drama is so much stronger when multiple fear is combined. When my intellectual capacity blocked by fear/sallow. At that moment, no line chant in the world can influence my feeling, nothing can comfort me

Fear can be useful, but only if its directed into the right things. We should suppress our fear instinct and measure the actual death toll.

To control the fear instinct , we can calculate the risk, scary world is just a fear vs. reality. Risk = danger x exposure. Get clam before carry on, make fewer decision until panic had subsided.

5. Size instinct

In the deepest poverty, you should never do anything perfectly. If you do you are stealing resources from whom they can be better used. Resources are not infinite – they never are, its the most compassionate thing to do to use your brain and work how to to do most good on what you have.

Getting things out of proportion, or misjudge size of things is human do naturally.

Size instinct direct our limit attention / resources towards individual instead of identifiable victims, those concentrate things right in front of our eyes.

How  to control size instinct ?

1. Compare the numbers – avoid lonely numbers, never, ever leave a number all by itself, 80/20 rule – around 20% of lines sum of 80% total

2. Divide the numbers – Compare rates, and compare rates per person , not rate per nations

6. Generalization instinct

Everyone automatically categorize and generalize all the time, unconsciously

How to control generalization instinct

a. Find better categories

b. Question your categories, look for difference within , across groups

c. Beware of “majority”

d. Beware of vivid example

e. Assume people are not idiot

7. Destiny  instinct

Innate characteristic determine destinies of people, countries, religion or cultures. “They have always been this way and will never change !” is a doctrine we believe.

How to control destiny instinct ?

a. Slow change is not NO change

b. Be prepared to update your knowledge, stay open to new data.

c. Talk to Grandpa, compare your value with old people

d. Collect example

Recognize that many things appear ot be constant just because the change happen slowly, and remember slow change is still change.

8. The single prespective instinct

We enjoy feeling we really understand. We think there is one cause for all problems and one solutions for all. Instead, constantly test your favorite idea for weakness.

Being intelligent, being exacts are only experts within their field.

A serious problem require serious database. The world cannot be understand without numbers. But the world cannot be understand with numbers alone.

Consider democracies, most countries make great economic, social progress are not democracies.

Recognize a single perspective can limit your imagination.

a. Test your idea, and have people disagree with you

b. Limited expertise – know what you don’t know

c. Hammer and nails, be open

d. Numbers, but not ONLY numbers

e. Beware of simple idea / solution, welcome complexity, combine ideas

9. The blame instinct

The blame instinct is the instinct to find a clear, simple reason for why something bad happened. We decide when things go wrong, it must be bad individual with bad intentions.

It steal our focus as we obsess about someone to blame, then block our learning as we stop looking for explanation elsewhere. This undermine our ability to solve problem, as prevent it happen again.

Recognize when a scapegoat is being used, and resisit finding one

a. Look for cause, not villains

b. Look for system, not heroes

10. Urgency Instinct

Now or Never – act now or lose the chance forever.

We want to take immediate action in face of perceived immediate danger. We are the offspring who decided and act quickly with insufficient information.

Fear + urgency make for stupid and dramatic decision with unpredictable side effect.

When a problem seems urgent, the first thing to do is to organize the data

When a decision feel urgent,

a. take a breathe

b. Insist on data

c. Beware of fortune teller

d. Beware of drastic action

Have courage, able to think critically and express yourself with sharp logic, prefect to keep our head stright at moment of extreme tension.

Until next time !




Read the book here >> factfulness

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