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Factfulness  By  cover art

Factfulness

By: Hans Rosling,Anna Rosling Rönnlund,Ola Rosling
Narrated by: Richard Harries
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Publisher's Summary

For fans of Freakonomics and Thinking, Fast and Slow, here is a book by Hans Rosling, the scientist called "a true inspiration" by Bill Gates, that teaches us how to see the world as it truly is. 

Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of carrying only opinions for which you have strong supporting facts. When asked simple questions about global trends - what percentage of the world's population live in poverty; why the world's population is increasing; how many girls finish school - we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers. 

In Factfulness, professor of international health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two longtime collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective - from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse). Our problem is that we don't know what we don't know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases. 

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn't mean there aren't real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most. Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future.

©2018 Hans Rosling (P)2018 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Factfulness

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Read not for Listening

The book shows supporting and supplemental graphs and images that are lost in thought when trying to listen through this book. I would prefer to read this book and validate the graphs/scenarios at play.

120 people found this helpful

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Really simple, Really Slow

I only listened to 3 chapters but I have to say I've never set the speed at 3x before without missing anything.. I love Hans Rosling, but the interactive charts do so much better than this. The narrator is so slow, it's like he reads ellipses between every sentence. ... It's interspersed with irrelevant memories and anecdotes, a lot of repetition, and casual comment. Even some questionable advice on statistics: 10% differences are usually real, less than that, usually not.

For something serious on trends try Steve Pinker's Enlightenment Now, and on errors in judgment Dan Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow. I love Rosling's Gapminder. Great delivery in person; this was disappointing.

104 people found this helpful

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I really, really wanted to like this book.

Best book Bill Gates ever read. Okay. Best book I ever read? I'll never know because I found it excruciating to listen to. The author spent so much time patting himself on his back for his brilliance that his message got lost in the self adulation.

And the narrator...please, dude. This isn't an audition for a melodrama. It's a book. Just read the freaking book and leave out the acting, would you?

Returning it. Just cannot believe that I wouldn't get more out of a 20 minute Ted talk than I would trying to slog through this nightmare.

65 people found this helpful

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Develop a fact-based world view

This book is about developing a fact-based world view. Most people think the world is in the same state as they remembered it decades ago -- Africa is filled with people in extreme poverty, the population is increasing exponentially, and most women in the world don't receive an education. In fact, most of the population is in the middle and the birth rate has decreased dramatically in many countries.

Ten reasons why we get it wrong:
1. Gap (categorizing by extremes, such as rich and poor)
2. Negativity (things are getting worse)
3. Straight Line (think the line on a chart will continue into the future at that same angle)
4. Fear
5. Size (misjudging the size of things due to lack of reference)
6. Generalization
7. Destiny (think people don't change)
8. Single (a problem has a single cause)
9. Blame
10. Urgency (jump to action without knowing all the facts)

62 people found this helpful

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Read this twice!

While Richard Harries' narration is a bit slow, this is a well read delivery. (Listen at 1.5.) The balance of anecdote and facts is very nicely balanced. Anecdotal illustrations are personal and meaningful. I have retold many of Hans Rosling's stories many times to illustrate the misunderstanding he was addressing most of his life. His reflective style that confesses his own erroneous outlook is a great way to build empathy. Rosling offers excellent advice about being suspicious of numbers without comparisons. Ratios are strong comparisons. Two valuable takeaways: there is no "them" and "us", and question your own cultural assumptions. Read or listen to this book twice - you will be wiser for it.

14 people found this helpful

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This book needs a pdf!

The emphasis on data, revising one's world view as conditions change, suggestions on how to combat our tendency to the complacency of the mind were all excellent. The themes seemed to be redundant at times, and shortening up the chapters would help. One omission was how to deal with the level 4 world that is quite diverse, and there are super-rich people that are ignored. I understand the focus of the book is on the changes on the bottom, but we need to understand the other side of the curve as well.

As an Audible selection, there needs to be an associated pdf with the chapter titles and the summaries at the end of each chapter. The 'What do you think you know' quiz and the answers should also be included with relevant web links for the websites discussed in the book.

12 people found this helpful

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Myth-busting and eye-opening, fact-based book

Myth-busting and eye-opening book, based on what’s actually “fact”, that corrects the many incorrect beliefs that we have of the world.

The book is eminently accessible, despite being focused on facts :) I flew through it as I wanted to learn more about where I’d previously gone wrong. Focusing on facts, the author challenges us to also focus on facts so we can correctly understand the world as opposed to what’s presented in the media or worse, social media.

The biggest take-away for me from the book is Rosling splitting the world into 4 levels, as opposed to our previous definitions of “developed” and “developing”. Additionally, despite the sensationalism of our media, the world is getting better.....it’s just that many of these changes are small, but overtime this gradual change results in a huge change.

Great read and very educational.

10 people found this helpful

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Really good, not flawless,

But what should anyone expect of anything?

I found it uplifting and inspiring in contrast to what I generally hear reading the news. The primary take-away for me is that-regardless of the constant 'world is going to hell in a handbasket' drum-beat coming from news sources, politicians and other salespeople who benefit from panicked and thoughtless decision making- the world is in fact improving dramatically for almost everybody. Toward the end of the book, the author admits to hasty decisions that he was part of that cost lives. Wow. Very tough stuff to own and share. I think the author is a good guy, maybe cheering a bit too much for America to get knocked off the top of the heap for my tastes, but what do you want? He's Swedish.

9 people found this helpful

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Great book and good narrator, but dicey production

Overall, this is a book that EVERYONE should read! While there are real problems, they’re a) probably not as dire as you think, and b) probably the wrong problems. We can all learn, and facts are not a matter of opinion, despite what (self-refuting) moral relativism might tell you. The editing was a bit off: the narration what’s quite choppy where the narrator would end a sentence at one level and tone, and start the at a jarring level. Most likely, this was due to cuts where the narrator didn’t hear how he ended the last sentence. But, don’t let that dissuade you!

5 people found this helpful

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Factfullness

The book reveals what is versus generalized false assumptions. Cabbies, Police Officers, Unbiased Scientists, Unbiased Teachers, Volunteers for most Non-profit Organizations already have an idea of. E.g. Medical doctors in low income communities, Peace Corp. Officers etc. Data driven policies are critical for all our endeavors. Great Book.

5 people found this helpful