The book authored by Hans Rosling along with Anna Rosling Rönnlund, and Ola Rosling, is an eye opener and pleasantly so. In a world where we are bombarded by “Breaking News” all the time, we have developed a tendency to assume that the general trend is bleak at best and things are only worsening by the day. Rosling disproves this view. He brings to light the progress we have made as a species with some wonderful and creative illustrations. The “ten reasons” quoted in the title are ten thought processes or biases humans have which lead to our cynical view of the world. The author not only highlights these biases clearly, but also suggests ways to avoid falling prey to them while evaluating the state of our world.
The title of the book is apt as every view presented by the author is backed by data. It will be obvious to anyone that a lot of work has gone in to collating this data and most importantly, analysing and presenting it in an effective way. Yet the author manages to keep the tone interesting and light. There is not a single page on which you will feel overwhelmed by the data or its implications. This at times is also a flaw as such key facts are stated with what seems like a casual tone, however this is forgivable as a trade-off.
My favourite part of this book is a set of questions (with multiple choice answers!) presented to the reader at the beginning of the book. These cover important statistics and the state of the world. The answers to these questions are quite surprising. I feel that it is an interesting way to burst the cynical bubble and helps the reader keep an open mind and be curious for the rest of the book.
It is evident why the author is renowned worldwide in the fields of public health and statistics. He advocates the importance of incremental systematic growth through this book. It is an absolute must read for everyone – young and old alike! The book will teach you two things: 1) how to be aware of the common biases in your thinking and manage them. And 2) that the world has been and will continue to improve. You will never look at the world in the same way.
Bill Gates and President Barack Obama recommend this as one of the must reads from 2018, and I completely agree with them
PS: This book is special for me as it was the first book I read on my Kindle. However, I will strongly recommend reading the hardcover version as the illustrations are more impactful in full colour and on paper.
Reviewed by: Anuj M Nichani (L&T Construction)