One of the most important books I’ve ever read―an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.”



This is not my usual reading matter – but it had good reviews so I decided to give it a whirl. Rosling writes in an engaging style using real-world examples from his years working as a doctor in some of the poorest parts of the world. Don’t think however that this means the book is only applicable to epidemiology and related fields – it’s very easy to see how the tools he proposes could enable you to spot fake news on social media, scams etc.

It’s also not necessary to be good at maths, stats or to be in any way numerically-minded in order to understand this book. He uses facts and figures to prove his point – but the examples he uses to illustrate his point from his aforementioned experiences are easy to understand.

The book is both wonderfully uplifting and daunting. Uplifting because what you almost certainly think about the state of our world is not true – the worldwide distribution of healthcare, education, protected environments etc is far better than most of us believe (Rosling describes it as being like a premature baby in an incubator – still very ill but getting progressively better).

Daunting because the scale of the task still to do in bringing all of humanity up to a basic level is enormous enough as it is – and is not helped by well-meaning and passionate people who ‘exaggerate’ the scale of their particular hobby horse in order to try to persuade people to support it.

I’m always a bit hesitant to say any book is a must-read as reading is such a personal thing – but if you are at all interested in the way the world works and, indeed, the state of the world; you could do a *lot* worse.


Reviewed by:

Debbie McCarthy

Added 1st October 2018

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Debbie McCarthy