In search of the facts

Many people in the West live in wealth, with good medical care, a decent income, and both men and women often receive a good education. In the rest of the world, it’s a different story: the vast majority of people in the world lives on a diet of hunger, poor housing, and very little schooling, especially for women. But surely you knew that already… right?

Researcher-physician Hans Rosling shook up millions of people with his book "Factfulness" (2018)*, and his TED talks have been widely viewed for 15 years. If you ask people about the facts around life expectancy, health and income, chimpanzees turn out to give better answers than people -- journalists and academics, fellow humans of all backgrounds, presumably even you and me.

Imagine that we are building a world with assumptions about all these kinds of everyday and extremely important matters, and in the end, we are often completely wrong. Assumptions that cause us to misinterpret each other and the world on a regular basis, and are often unnecessarily negative.

We are at the beginning of a new academic year. Studium Generale has the wonderful task of helping students broaden their horizons. It would be great if we could contribute to a more thorough view of the world. A critical and open view that creates room for amazement, deepening and delight.


Lucas Asselbergs, Head of Studium Generale TU/e


P.S. Via our Instagram and Facebook pages, we are giving away three “Factfulness” books. Let us know in the comments of the posts (until Wednesday September 1st) why you would like to read the book, and who knows…, you may be the one picking up one of the three copies at our SG office in the Auditorium.

* Rosling H, Rosling O, Rosling Rönnlund A (2018). Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think Flatiron Books ISBN 978-12-50-12381-7

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