The always inspirational and insightful Anouk Pappers recently recommended I read the book “Factfulness”. This was exactly at a time when I was seeing the world filled with so much ignorance, ineffectiveness and hatred.

The book, written by Hans Rosling, with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund, helps to explain the Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Thank You Think. It starts off with a very simple test that, quite frankly, I assumed I would ace. Being someone who has travelled all over the world, spent 20 years in the World Bank Group, with strong finance, risk and leadership experience and so on and so forth… to find out I had gotten but a small fraction of the answers correct. The only thing that made me feel not as bad is that apparently most people of all backgrounds, skills and knowledge were just as low in scoring. In fact, a bunch of chimpanzees providing banana-motivated answer selections got more correct than we did.

Turns out, we need some serious refreshing of our minds, our knowledge, our perspectives, unconscious biases, along with a big ol’ injection of humility.

I strive to help leaders be their best, because I believe in the power of great leadership. That said, I was reminded in this book not to underscore the power of destructive leaders so much, given that even with the most incapable ones around, progress has been made. “It must make one ask if leaders are that important. And the answer, probably, is no. It’s the people, the collective, who build a society”. Great leaders can continue to make a difference in the world, but when they’re not around, our joint powers can shake things up and move us in the right direction.

Things are not idyllic today, by any means…but, if we remember the progress made so far, get our facts straight, use data well, and collaborate across boundaries, we can get back in the driver’s seat toward healthy change.

This recommendation could not have come at a better time. I won’t attempt to give the precious details of what our instincts bring about or how Factfulness is taught. I will simply recommend this book whole-heartedly for any of you who want to recharge your batteries and gain a healthier mindset and approach to going about our days. 

Thank you, dear Anouk!

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Tags: Damla Zeybel, Passionate Leader, CEO Arya Effective