We misunderstand the world and its challenge, we know little about reality. When the doctor and public health researcher, Hans Rolling, on 5 February 2016, got cancer in his pancreas. He immediately cancelled all 67 of his lectures. But after his passing, Hans rollings book with his son was published.

Why you should read it :

  • I have seen many of Hans Rolling’s lectures on Youtube. The book is structured in such a way that there are connections between his treatise and text.
  • The book uses many statistics from a historical perspective, which can show the world’s change over short and long periods.
  • Graphic presentation (bubble. Diagram), so you can follow developments in the world over many years in motion.
  • The use of multiple-choice tasks so that the audience can test their knowledge on the spot.
  • Compare the audience’s task solution, with other, selected audiences.
  • We do the tasks worse than a collection of chimpanzees, which of course – based on the principle of chance – will be able to answer a third of the three possible answers correctly.

You can test your knowledge of the world :

1. How many girls finish primary school in the world’s low – income countries?

A. 20% B. 40% C. 60%. (The correct answer is … (at the end))

10 ignorant instincts. (Take the test on Hans Rolling’s website: https://www.gapminder.org)

The 10 instincts that prevent us from answering correctly are dealt with in separate chapters in the book. I hate when people say “the west and the rest” therefore Hans Rolling has divided the world into four:

Level 1: 

You start at Level 1 with $ 1 every day. You have 5 children and you have to walk barefoot for several hours with a plastic box, back and forth. To fetch water from dirty hole, 1-hour walk. On the way home, they gather twigs, branches, and you improve the same porridge. As you have eaten every day throughout your life – except months when you make the soil in the fields and you go to bed hungry. One day your daughter develops a dirty cough. The smoke from the fire, making her lungs faint. You can not afford Antibiotics, and a month later she dies. This is extreme poverty. If you are lucky you will get a good harvest and you can earn more than $ 2 every day. Which would take you to the Next Level. Good luck! (Approximately 1 billion people live like this today)

Level 2 : 

You are now in level 2. You have quadrupled your income and now you can earn $ 4 every day. But what do you do with all that money? Now you can buy food that you could not grow yourself, and now you can buy chicken, which means eggs. You can save money, buy sandals for your kids, a bike, and more plastic boxes. Now it only takes half an hour to fetch water. You buy a gas stove, and your kids can go to school, instead of collecting twigs, and branches. When there is electricity, you do your homework under a light bulb. But electricity is very unstable for a freezer. You save up for a mattress so you do not have to sleep on the floor. Life is much better now, but if you get an illness that has a consequence that you sell it all and buy medicine. It would throw you back at level 1 again. Let’s say you don’t get a bad disease and if we say you have quadrupled your income again because you now have a job. (Approximately 3 billion people live like this today)

Level 3 : 

WOW! You did it! You have been working on different jobs, 16 hours a day, seven days a week, and you have quadrupled your income AGAIN. Your savings are impressive and you have installed a faucet. No more going back and forth to fetch water. With a stack of electricity, and the kids’ homework improve and you can buy a refrigerator. Now you have to buy a motorcycle which means you can ride longer which means a higher paid job. But unfortunately, you come across an accident. And you have to use your children’s education to pay the hospital bill. But you recover, and thanks to your savings you have not returned to level. Two of your children are starting school. If they finish, they would get Højer paid jobs than you ever got. To sweep it, take your whole family out on a trip for the first time, one afternoon to the beach. Just for fun (Approximately 2 billion people live here today)

Level 4 : 

You have more than $ 32 every day. You’re rich, with $ 3 you changed your life. Therefore, three dollars can save people living in extreme poverty. That’s a lot of money. You have been going to school for more than 12 years and you have been out travelling with the aeroplane. You can go out and eat in the restaurant every month. And you can buy a car. But since you’re reading this, I’m sure you live in level 4. And I guess I need not explain more. When you live in this life it is always hard to see how $ 3 can save lives. It’s like you’re standing on a tall building looking down, but you can not see how far down it is. (About 1 billion people live like this today)

Here are the 10 instincts that prevent us from responding correctly. Here is the summary of each chapter in the book

  • THE NEGATIVITY INSTITUTE – which makes us focus on bad/negative news, even though we know that good news / positive tendencies do not get the same attention in the media at all.
  • THE SIZE INSTITUTE – which makes us focus on individual figures that look large, without putting them into context or comparing them with other relevant figures.
  • THE GAP INSTINCT – which makes us think in dichotomies, in clearly separated groups (“them and us”), although the reality is rarely clearly polarized or marked by deep gaps.
  • THE INSTITUTION INSTITUTE – which makes us want (and perhaps demand from politicians) new initiatives and decisions here-and-now, even though there may be no cover for it at all
  • THE GUILT INSTITUTE – which makes us look for (and point out) scapegoats where there probably are none. Systems often mean more than individual groups.
  • SIMPLE PERSPECTIVE INSTINCT – which makes us focus on phenomena we know well – and forget that there are many things we do not know, especially about slightly more unknown areas
  • THE INSTITUTION INSTITUTE – which makes us prejudiced to see things as static or “natural” and forget that most important changes happen slowly and over a long time.
  • STRAIGHT LINE-INSTINCT– This makes us think that (number) tendencies grow proportionally, which they quite rarely do.
  • THE FEAR INSTINCT – which causes us to focus on (often media-mediated) frightening things and risks that are not relativized or put into a larger context.
  • THE GENERALIZATION INSTITUTE – which makes us see general tendencies and similarities between much larger groups and global phenomena, where there may be no basis for it at all.

“One of the most important books I have ever read – an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world,” – Bill Gates

I think the book brings hope and optimism. I use it as a tool to be more critical of the information I hear and read. I always wanted to look at the big picture. One of the reasons I’m critically over any information I intake.

Why should you read this book:

⁃ If you lack hope

⁃ If you love facts. (statistic,numbers, etc.)

⁃ If you would like to be critical of news you see and read

⁃ If you would like to see progress in the world

⁃ If you hate listening to: the west and the rest,”

– If you think that developing countries cannot catch up with developed countries

Answer to question: C

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