FACTFULNESS: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
By Hans Rosling
Hardcover: 352 pp. Flatiron Books
The conundrum about this book is that it really should be read by those folks who never read books. You know who I’m talking about. The late Hans Rosling, who died in 2017 after an impressive career in education and public health, urges us to let the data tell the story, rather than imposing a narrative based on our “dramatic instincts.” He highlights ten ways that our instinctual bias and craving for drama, similar to our craving for sugar and lethargy, undermine our wellbeing.
Sufficient savings, diligent budgeting, and smart financial planning are of course crucial for a comfortable retirement. Adequate income and assets are essential for the basics— food, shelter, and healthcare—and to maintain one’s lifestyle. However, money is by no means the only important consideration in retirement.
During a recent conversation with a retired couple we serve, they shared how their community organizes an abundance of volunteer activities that offer opportunities to facilitate community engagement and encourage cooperative solutions to shared social barriers. Their enthusiasm illuminates the qualitative concerns that are central to resilient investing and highly desirable for what we might call “resilient retirement”: engaged communities, adaptability, and prioritization of the common good.
In June I participated in the inaugural Conscious CompanyGlobal Leaders Forum, a gathering of about 200 business executives who are interested in evolving themselves as a conscious leaders. They share a goal of bringing deeper awareness to bear inside companies to change how business is done, and to create positive, meaningful ripple effects in the bigger world.
As you might guess, some of the attendees were from recognizable companies like Google, Patagonia, Clif Bar, GoPro, and Seventh Generation. Economic innovators like Kat Taylor from Beneficial State Bank, and mission-oriented CEO Vincent Siciliano with New Resource Bank were there. Game changing leaders from BALLE, Bioneers, Social Ventures Network, Oxfam, B Lab, and American Sustainable Business Council attended as well, along with many chapter heads and members of the Conscious Capitalism national network, NEXUS, and Village Capital.
This fall brought a big transition back to Hawaii for me. My oldest daughter started college this year, freeing me up to return to east Hawaii, my home of twenty years. It’s been interesting to come back to Hawaii after three years of being centered in the city of Portland, Oregon. I’m struck by the changes – once sleepy little Hilo town seems to be having a Renaissance. There are new shops and restaurants and the downtown area is bright, creative, and colorful. “Think Local, Buy Local” signs are everywhere and the shops are full of beautiful, quality, island-made creations.
I can directly see the impact of the work my friend and colleague, Michael Kramer, has been doing in this island community. He played a critical role in the founding of a local BALLE chapter, called “HALE” – Hawaii Alliance for a Local Economy. The organization, led by newly named BALLE Local Economy Fellow, Andrea Dean, spearheaded the “Think Local, Buy Local” campaign to increase awareness about the value of supporting local business. Their website states that “Independent businesses located in communities that have an active “buy local” campaign operated by a local business organization (such as HALE!) experienced markedly stronger revenue growth compared to those in areas without such an initiative.” The results are clear in Hilo. Andrea also drove the Kanu Hawaii Eat Local Challenge – a project near and dear to my heart because my youngest daughter and her 4-H club made a fantastic video (see bit.ly/YLrndK) documenting their week-long commitment to eat only locally grown foods that culminated with a feast prepared for their friends and families.
Our very own James Frazier is a movie star! Well, maybe he’s not the only one who can point to an online video with pride, but we’re excited to see him sharing his great work as part of a vibrant community economy in his home town of Port Townsend, Washington. Port Townsend is home to LION: the Local Investing Opportunities Network, which allows local citizens to make loans to local small businesses. The work was featured on Peak Moment TV, which features video journalism on “locally reliant living for challenging times,” and on Treehugger. You can check out James’ star turn — we mean, thoughtful and forward-looking comments — on either of those sites, or right here: