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Bill Gates is giving a book to every US student graduating this year

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Have you ever read a book and loved it so much you wanted to give a copy to someone else? Of course you have.

Have you ever liked a book so much you decided to give a copy to four million other people? Well that’s exactly what Bill Gates has done: The Microsoft billionaire has announced that he will give a copy of Hans Rosling’s book Factfulness to every student graduating from a US college in 2018.

Image: Sebastian Vital

With the subtitle ‘Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think', the book expresses Rosling’s view that ‘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.’

Since its publication in April, it has topped charts in both the US and in the UK, where publisher Sceptre has shipped over 100,000 copies and is now on its 16th reprint.

Gates has called Factfulness ‘one of the most important books I’ve ever read – an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world’.

He has invited every student due to graduate in the US in 2018 (about four million in total) to download a free copy of the book from his website.

‘Although I think everyone should read it’, he announced, ‘it has especially useful insights for anyone who’s making the leap out of college and into the next phase of life.’

Rosling, a Swedish doctor and professor of international health, died last year while still working on the book. It was finished by his son Ola Rosling and daughter-in-law Anna Rosling Rönnlund.

'Things are bad, and it feels like they are getting worse, right?” Rosling wrote. “War, violence, natural disasters, corruption. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer; and we will soon run out of resources unless something drastic is done. That’s the picture most people in the west see in the media and carry around in their heads.

'I call it the overdramatic worldview. It’s stressful and misleading … Perhaps not on every single measure, or every single year, but step by step, year by year, the world is improving. In the past two centuries, life expectancy has more than doubled. Although the world faces huge challenges, we have made tremendous progress.'

Gates signed off his announcement by telling students in the US: ‘My wish for you at this special time is to learn to think, and act, factfully.’

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