Factfulness describes the satisfaction of stating your opinion based on evidence instead of guessing. The term was first coined by Hans Rosling’s son, Ola Rosling, in 2015.


factfulness definition

Can you correctly answer these questions about global trends?

  • What percentage of the world’s population lives in poverty?
  • Why is the world’s population is increasing?
  • How many girls finish school?

You might think correctly answering these questions would be easy for today’s informed citizens.  In fact, we systematically get the answers wrong.

So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

Factfulness offers a radically new explanation of why this happens. It reveals the ten instincts that distort our perspective―from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse).

Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases.

It turns out that the world is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most.

 Factfulness is a new thinking habit that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to challenges and opportunities of the future.

Don't worry, Be Factful

Factfulness aims to fight devastating global ignorance. It can change people’s ways of thinking, calm their irrational fears, and redirect their energies into constructive activities.

Factfulness transforms data into therapy. The world is not as dramatic as it seems. There is less doom and gloom than media would have us believe. Understanding this is a source of mental peace.

The Factfulness Habit

Factfulness, like a healthy diet and regular exercise, can and should become part of your daily life. Start to practice it, and you will be able to replace your overdramatic worldview with a worldview based on facts. You will be able to get the world right without learning it by heart. You will make better decisions, stay alert to real dangers and possibilities, and avoid being constantly stressed about the wrong things.

Train your Brain

Factfulness can teach you how to recognize overdramatic stories and give you some thinking tools to control your dramatic instincts. Then you will be able to shift your misconceptions, develop a fact-based worldview, and beat the chimps every time.

Get the Factfulness book and start your journey towards a fact-based worldview.

4 Minutes of Factfulness from Hans Rosling