Dec 18, 2018 Stinne Vognaes
Only 10% of us are smarter than chimpanzees. Hard to believe? Anna Rosling and the Gapminder Foundation ask 13 questions about the current state of the globe from people coming from every corner of the world: nobel laureates, scientists, researchers and those of us who are slightly more mortal. Most people get the questions to do with climate change right. But what child vaccination rates? The statistics are a little less encouraging.
Even the smartest of us are not protected against the habit of overestimating and letting negative bias frame our answers. Most of us are much more likely to say that the world is getting worse than better. A lot of things are actually getting better: it doesn’t mean that everything’s great, but it serves as an important reminder that things are changing and a lot has been done to make this happen. But as Rosling argues: “We don’t see these improvements when we look out the window. So we look at the news and try to create our worldview from what we see there. To become a news story, story has to be something exceptional – and it is not often our normal lives.”
Gapminder and Anna Rosling want us to have models to understand the world with. This is why Rosling created Dollar Street. At Dollar Street, we can virtually visit families on all income levels and see how their homes look and how they cook. Rosling shows us different versions of toilets, stoves, couches and storages, just to mention a few everyday objects. The important part? We’re all doing those things. It gives context and understanding of the world that represents how most people actually live, as opposed to when you for example Google ‘toilet’.
It is hard to truly remember all the facts, all the time. But what Rosling reminds us of is that we can develop better tools for thinking, which is also why Factfulness was written. We need facts and framework to understand the world around us. We need to control our instincts and remember to consider the proportion of things.
So… how do we do this?
Here are 10 thinking mistakes we need to be aware of:
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