The Roots of Progress


Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Hans Rosling

When most people are polled about conditions and trends in the world (e.g., is extreme poverty increasing or decreasing?), they not only get the answers wrong, they do worse than random guessing. That is, they are systematically biased in a wrong direction—a pessimistic direction. The state and direction of economic and social statistics is better than most people realize. In this book Rosling suggests several cognitive biases and other mistakes that cause these misconceptions. Interesting, concise, and very readable, although I found his explanations less than convincing or satisfying. If you are interested in Rosling, better than this book would be to watch his talks “The magic washing machine” and “200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes.”

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