Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Thinking Fast, Slow and Factual

Written by: on April 28, 2023


In an age where information is abundant and opinions often need to be corrected for facts, understanding the actual state of the world can be challenging. Hans Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund’s work, “Factfulness,” seeks to shed light on the actual conditions of our global society and combat the misconceptions that often cloud our judgments. By presenting data-driven insights, the authors encourage readers to develop a fact-based worldview and make more informed decisions in their personal and professional lives.

Debunking Common Misconceptions

“Factfulness” begins by identifying ten instincts that often distort our understanding of the world. These instincts include the negativity instinct, the gap instinct, and the straight-line instinct, among others. The authors use these instincts as a framework to debunk widespread misconceptions about global issues such as poverty, education, health, and the environment. By presenting data and real-world examples, Rosling and Rönnlund demonstrate that many of these issues have improved significantly over the years, contrary to popular belief.

The Importance of Fact-Based Decision-Making

As someone who deals in data all the time I really appreciated how the authors emphasize the necessity of fact-based decision-making for leaders and policymakers. By adopting a fact-based worldview, leaders can better assess their challenges and devise appropriate solutions. Moreover, individuals can make more informed decisions in their daily lives, from personal finance to career choices.

In a world where decisions often have far-reaching consequences, relying on outdated or inaccurate information can lead to ineffective policies and misguided actions.

Developing Critical Thinking Skills

“Factfulness” also encourages us as leaders to cultivate critical thinking skills and question the information we encounter. These skills are essential not only for understanding the state of the world but also for navigating the increasingly complex information landscape. By being aware of the instincts that can cloud our judgment, we can better evaluate the credibility of the data and arguments presented. The authors provide practical tips and techniques for overcoming these instincts, such as comparing data, seeking alternative explanations, and questioning the sources of information.

Implications for Education and Communication

My grandmother was a teacher for 30 years so I always keep in the back of my mind how we might make education better for students. The insights from “Factfulness” have significant implications for education and communication. By integrating fact-based approaches into educational curriculum, teachers can equip students with the tools to assess information and make informed decisions critically. Additionally, communicators, journalists, and media professionals can benefit from adopting fact-based storytelling methods to present accurate and engaging narratives that resonate with their audiences. I was lucky to have some amazing teachers but I think all students need the same experience.


“Factfulness” intersects with several other works emphasizing the importance of a fact-based worldview, critical thinking, and understanding global trends. One of the works it intersects with is “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman (a book we visited before in this program). Kahneman’s work delves into the two systems that drive human thought: the fast, instinctive system and the slow, deliberate system. This book aligns with “Factfulness” in exploring cognitive biases and the importance of critical thinking in overcoming these biases.

Both books share the goal of helping develop a more accurate and nuanced understanding of the world by recognizing and overcoming cognitive biases. While “Factfulness” focuses more on global trends and misconceptions about progress, “Thinking, Fast and Slow” takes a broader approach, examining biases that affect various aspects of human decision-making. Nonetheless, the intersection between these works lies in their shared emphasis on the importance of critical thinking, data-driven analysis, and self-awareness in overcoming the cognitive biases that can distort our perception of the world.

Both books stress the need for humility and self-awareness when dealing with complex issues. “Factfulness” encourages readers to question their assumptions and recognize their ignorance, while “Thinking, Fast and Slow” highlights the importance of acknowledging the limits of our intuition and being mindful of potential biases. This shared emphasis on humility and self-awareness is particularly relevant for leaders, who must be willing to challenge their assumptions and learn from mistakes to make better decisions.


“Factfulness” offers a refreshing and much-needed perspective on the state of the world. By challenging common misconceptions and advocating for a fact-based worldview, the authors provide readers with valuable insights and tools to better understand the complexities of our global society. Leaders, policymakers, and individuals alike can benefit from incorporating the lessons from “Factfulness” into their decision-making processes and critical thinking skills. In doing so, we can work together towards a more informed, accurate, and ultimately more constructive understanding of the world in which we live.

About the Author


Daron George

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4 responses to “Thinking Fast, Slow and Factual”

  1. Daron, What a great perspective of factfullness and addressing the Thinking Fast and Slow part of the process. Our instincts and bias are a part of our thinking process. This makes sense. Thanks for your thought provoking post.

  2. mm David Beavis says:

    Hey Daron,

    Great work. “Factfulness” as well as Steven Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now” are critical books in the conversation around the state of the world to balance out the normative “everything is burning, we’re all gonna die” ethos in the news.

    I’m glad you brought up the need for system two – slow, deliberate, critical thinking – in order to be a leader who makes decisions based on factual information. Unfortunately, a reason leaders respond and make decisions without critical thinking is because of the cultural standard of “quick-response” to events that occur. There is a time for us to make quick decisions, but I feel like we often make too quick of decisions without taking the time to assess the facts. Great work Daron!

    • mm Daron George says:

      Thanks David,

      I agree! I think that “quick-response” is a detriment unless it’s backed by years of experience. I would trust a seasoned leader to make a correct quick judgment than a young leader with no experience. No saying the young leader wouldn’t make the right call but with no experience it’s hard to trust.

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