Cover Image: How I Learned to Understand the World

How I Learned to Understand the World

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Member Reviews

I wasn't;t familiar with Hans Rosling before this, but his memoir was interesting and the idea of using statistics to improve information on global health couldn't more timely. It was inspiring at a much need timer inspiration and I am now interested in learning more about him and from him through his Ted talks and his book. 

I received an AudioArcin exchange for an honest review.
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There are people that have done so much, selflessly, to improve the lives of others. Great people, like Hans Rosling. Names most will never know, but whose tireless work and dedication, will forever benefit others. The title perfectly describes what you find here: how Rosling lived, how he listened and observed the world around him, and how he was able to influence important discoveries and change because of his willingness to absorb what he saw.

I haven't read Factfulness yet. I'm glad I read this memoir first. It better prepares me for deeper understanding in to the 'how's and why's.'

I found Rosling's research and experiences with the Ebola pandemic especially timely. if only the world had been better prepared- learned from that experience and been ready for Covid-19 and other future threats that are sure to come.

I also really appreciated the look in to his early life and a chance to see how Sweden's attitudes and practices have changed. It gives me hope for the rest of the world.
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How I Learned to Understand the World by Hans Rosling is an incredibly fascinating memoir in which he reflects on his life as a doctor and in public health and what has shaped his world view and opened his mind. Rosling is famous for his Ted Talks and previous book, Factfulness, in which he explains how much progress humankind has made in the 20th and early 21st centuries in terms of escaping poverty, increasing lifespan, and the portion of the population that is vaccinated against deadly diseases. Though the world has gone through massive improvements, our perspective of how things actually are often don’t jibe with that truth. 

Rosling recounts through his life chronologically, beginning in his childhood and documenting the huge leaps his own family made in terms of getting out of poverty in 1-2 generations. It was fascinating considering how much changed in the 20th century alone. This leap out from poverty is mirrored in many other countries around the world. The middle part of the memoir focuses on his time as a young doctor serving in Mozambique and the gargantuan expectations placed upon him as one of the only doctors serving a deeply impoverished community of 100,000 people with extremely limited resources and staff. It was clear how much that changed him and caused him to reconsider the best way of care and communication. And more profoundly, determining the best ways to care for the largest number of people, which relied on finding ways to prevent medical problems in the community, sometimes prioritizing over care for individuals at the hospital. From there, he discusses his career as a professor and work in public health. Towards the end of his life, through his TedTalks, he became known for his vibrant statistics about how the world has changed in the 20th century. The illustrations really amplified his message and the statistics he was presenting. 

Throughout the memoir, I had a great sense of Rosling’s personality. He could be chatty and warm, but also was deeply contemplative and sometimes shrewd. I think this kind of compartmentalization was necessary in life because of the difficult work he performed in his career. Rosling was keenly interested in improving conditions around the world, making discoveries, and having his data/research understood by many. The narration by Simon Slater was wonderful and kept me interested and seemed to fit with the tone of the book. I highly recommend this memoir! 

Thank you Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for providing this audiobook ARC.
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This was an absolutely fascinating look into Hans Rosling's life and how he came to be such a powerful voice in the world. There were parts that were hard to listen to because they were so painful to imagine but I'm glad to know now what has gone on in other parts of the world via the eyes of such a trustworthy narrator.
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I downloaded this book in order to do some testing for the Netgalley shelf/team rather than for review.
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I have to admit that I had no idea who Hans Rosling was or what he was known for before this book caught my attention, but I liked the summary, the awesome cover, and I really liked the idea of learning about this man's life. I wish I would have done my due diligence (research) and took the time to learn about him before listening to the audiobook because I truly believe I would gave gotten more out of the experience knowing who Hans was and what drove this honest and wonderful memoir. I loved his stories and the way he presents his lifetime experiences, all relating to his understanding of the world and the people in it. A great listen!
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Hans Rosling was a Swedish doctor who has become world renowned through TED Talks and his book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think among other things. In this memoir, he tells of his childhood growing up in Sweden and how each generation of his family became more educated and better off financially. He then tells of his marriage and parenthood and their decision to move to Mozambique to work in an area that was deficient in medical care. Through this work, he develops a passion for advocating for healthcare for less well-off nations. This book is less about the data than it is about what people and events in his life influenced him and how he brought awareness of healthcare parity to the world stage.

I listened to this on audiobook and the narrator did an excellent job expressing the intended mood. It was a nice book to listen to today, as we wrap up 2020, about a man who spent time trying to make the world better for those who don't have the means.
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⭐️3.75 / 5 ⭐️

An interesting, sweet memoir about an interesting, sweet individual.

I'll be honest: I had no idea who this man was prior to reading. But he sure was interesting. In all honesty, this wasn't my cup of tea, but I could see where others who were fans of his would find this memoir very compelling. Hans' voice was clear, kind, and to the point.

Big thank you to Macmillan Audio for sending me an ARC copy of this audiobook!
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My prior experience with Hans Rosling has been watching a couple of his TED talk videos and putting his audiobook “Factfulness” on reserve at the library. I wasn’t sure I would like or appreciate his memoir, but thought I would give it a shot, having received a free copy for review from NetGalley. I ended up enjoying many of his stories. I especially enjoyed stories in two parts of his life. I found his recollections from running a hospital in Africa as a fresh-from-school doctor was enlightening. He faced many issues, learning to be a doctor while also learning how to work in this new-to-him society, with people he often didn’t understand. What he shares in these stories are the various times he has to learn from the people he worked with. You can sense the admiration he has for his co-workers who helped him succeed at times, and to survive at other times. These are great fish out of water stories.

The other parts that I enjoyed were near the end, when Rosling describes how he happens across a way to explain a topic to his students that finally gets them to understand a difficult concept. He explains this to his son, an artist, and the son builds computer tools to further refine this framing of the issue at hand and to expand the ways it can be illustrated. Rosling explains that this way of handling explanations becomes the basis for his consulting, and allows him to grow in stature as a scientific explainer. This was a wonderful example of career serendipity, moving from medical doctor to world renown scientist and futurist, helped by an artist.

An interesting book on an interesting life. After reading this, I look forward to reading “Factfulness” and will be focused on understanding how he illustrates his concepts and statistics.
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Many people will recognize Hans Rosling as an author of the bestselling 'Factfulness'. I've found that book very interesting and eye-opening but it sometimes reminded me a little too much of a self-help book, which I rather avoid. No such problems with "How I Learned to Understand the World". It's a very engaging autobiography, with many surprising stories and discoveries. Late Rosling comes here as a very humble and interesting person. 

While I usually prefer to read than to listen, this kind of memoir is perfect as an audiobook. The narrator performs very well, you can imagine that it is the author himself speaking.

Thanks to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, and NetGalley for the advance copy of this audiobook.
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I knew of Hans Rosling through his later in life TED talks and statistics documentaries for the BBC and others and for the great data viz work he helped on with the Gapminder Foundation.  I did not actually know he was an eminent public health researcher and medical doctor.  This book overs his journey from idealistic medical doctor to crusading public health researcher focused on showing how economic development has been a powerful force related to saving and improving lives.  It was interesting and heartbreaking to see how his work early in his career, and the juxtapositions between what he had available in Sweden and what little he had in his practice in Mozambique, influenced his public health worldview. On the whole a very interesting biography of
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After loving Factfulness, I knew I needed to learn more about then man behind the incredible book. How I Learned to Understand the World is both a great complement to Factfulness and holds its own as a wonderful memoir.

The first couple chapters were a bit slow. I found myself more attentive as the book moved deeper into Rosling’s projects. I really appreciated his honesty about his mistakes and ignorance; so honest that at moments I cringed. But these moments clearly transformed his mindset to make him such a thoughtful researcher. The chapter on his work during the 2014 ebola outbreak was so resonant amongst today’s pandemic. I imagine Rosling would have made great contributions to today’s global response. I listened along with the physical book and it was wonderful to see the pictures as well. 

I think a specific type of data and public health-oriented audience will be drawn to this considering Rosling is not necessarily known to the general public, but those who read it will enjoy it.
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Hans Rosling is big in my field of expertise, so since I was looking for an intellectual listen (but nothing too much), I thought this memoir would be perfect. And in fact, it's so much more than a memoir.

Rosling grew up in the 1950s Sweden, before the country was so wealthy. The memoir goes into the lessons he learned throughout that time, as well as during his education in medicine, his work at an emergency clinic is Mozambique, as well as working at the World Economic Forum at Davos.

I have never read a book like this before; it's a very personal memoir about Rosling and the people in his life, but also about research and data and his curiosity to understand the world. I finished the audiobook feeling inspired to work on my own career and excited to become curious. 

*Thank you to the Publisher for a free advance copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
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A surprising and inspiring new favorite. I had not idea what I was really getting into with this memoir, something I prefer to do so I really can just let the book take me. I love Hans, I didn't even know him in life but I miss him in the world. So this unexpectedly made me tear up, contemplate government, life and the world at large. I want more people to read this so more people can appreciate his "possible-ist" mindset. Would absolutely recommend.
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Really enjoyed this memoir!

I hadn’t read Factfulness, it isn’t a prerequisite to this book. 

This book is about people who made a difference in the life of Hans Rosling. Every chapter was beautifully written and then stunned you with how someone’s presence in Hans Rowling’s life was so instrumental and powerful.

  - updated following day - I like memoirs; but I liked this one more than most memoirs.  Hans Rosling lead an impressive life.  This memoir illustrated what it was like for a Swedish doctor managing a clinic in Africa; but what made this memoir impressive is how other people's words and actions ... inspired Hans, saved his life, awed him decades later.  Most memoirs are all about the author, this about how others impacted the author.  Really well done!

Sometimes we forget that we all can make a difference.

This advance read AUDIObook was provided via NetGalley and the author in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you for this opportunity!
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