The Book ‘Factfulness – Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World And Why Things Are Better Than You Think’

I’ve been wondering why I’ve been in such a good mood recently. Is it that spring is here? Is it that my children seem to have mellowed a bit? Or is it that I finished the book ‘Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think’ a few weeks ago and as the title implies, I’ve been wrong about the world and things are better than I think?

Here’s what it’s about:

“When asked simple questions about global trends – why the world’s population is increasing; how many young women go to school; how many of us live in poverty – we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

Professor of International Health and a man who can make data sing, Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens and reveals the ten instincts that distort our perspective.

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. But 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.”

Read an edited excerpt of Factfulness.

 

Fad Free Kitchen – Quick, Healthy Recipes, No Overhyped “Superfoods”

If you want quick, healthy recipes without the fuss of using overhyped, expensive superfoods and spending ages in the kitchen, check out Fad Free Kitchen.

Fad Free Kitchen is a collaboration between a dietitian and a writer who are time poor but love to eat healthy food. They refuse to use to overhyped and expensive “superfoods” in their recipes (because there is no such thing as a superfood) and will never ask you to ferment anything.

Read the Fad Free Kitchen story.

Follow Fad Free Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

(Full disclosure: I am one half of the collaboration).

Silent Waves Podcast

I recently stumbled across the new Silent Waves podcast and after listening to the first one, devoured the following five episodes in a matter of days.

I am in awe of Raquel O’Brien for having not only the bravery to pull this podcast together, but for managing to get the rest of her family to speak up as well. It’s an important story and one that hopefully inspires others to speak out too.

Trigger warning: Sexual assault.

“Silent Waves tells one true story led by 25-year-old Raquel O’Brien, as she attempts to liberate herself from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse and a father with a dark secret.

To do so, she has raw, brutally honest and open conversations with her family about the cataclysmic circumstances of their story for the first time… and all on tape.

What emerges is a larger story as her previously fractured family, emboldened by being interviewed, find the freedom to confront their conflicting versions of the events and reconcile with it and each other.”

Listen to Silent Waves now.

Hannah Gadsby’s Stand-Up ‘Nanette’ on Netflix

In Nanette, now on Netflix, “Australian comic Hannah Gadbsy reshapes standard stand-up by pairing punchlines with personal revelations on gender, sexuality and childhood turmoil.”

I saw the award-winning Nanette live at the Sydney Opera House earlier this year where the show was being recorded for Netflix. Steering clear of detailed reviews, I went in knowing only that it was powerful, confronting and those who saw it said it had changed them.

Funny and furious, it is life-changing and thanks to it being on Netflix, it turns out the whole world is loving it.

Watch the trailer for Nanette.

Watch Nanette on Netflix.

If you want to see more of Hannah Gadsby on screen, check out Please Like Me.

The Teacher’s Pet – A True Crime Podcast

The Teacher’s Pet is a true crime podcast from The Australian about the cold case of Lynete Dawson, who disappeared 36 years ago.

Journalist, Hedley Thomas, digs deep into the unsolved murder and shines a spotlight on Lyn’s husband, Chris. All evidence suggests he murdered her and while two coroners found this to be true, he has not been charged and denies killing his wife.

It’s a sordid and intriguing story with a creepy twin brother, inappropriate/illegal relationships with the Dawson’s teenage babysitter and other school girls, and so many people just turning a blind eye to what Lynete was going through before she disappeared.

I gave true crime podcasts a rest for a while because they tend to get a bit much but thanks to my friend EJ for getting me hooked on this one.

Listen to The Teacher’s Pet.

Book: The Woman Who Fooled The World – Belle Gibson’s Cancer Con

Belle Gibson convinced the world she had healed herself from terminal brain cancer with a healthy diet. She built a global business upon her claims. There was just one problem: she didn’t have cancer.

This has to go down as one of the world’s greatest scams and the book, meticulously researched by Beau Donnelly and Nick Toscano, takes you through a moment by moment account of how it all unravelled for Belle Gibson.

Even if you read the news stories and watched the cringe-worthy interview with Gibson, I guarantee you will blown away by how she duped everyone, including Apple and Penguin Random House. She was a spectacular liar and it makes for an enthralling read.

Very Good Things for a Rainy Long Weekend

How is it almost the middle of the year already? Here are my recent top picks for TV, books, podcasts and food. Very Good Things to get you through a rainy long weekend.

Watch
Killing Eve – when Phoebe Waller-Bridge is one of the writers, you have to watch it. View trailer, watch on ABC iView.
The Defiant Ones – history is made when two unexpected music moguls come together. A four-part documentary series about Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. Watch it on Netflix.
Sour Grapes – a fascinating documentary about fine wine fraud on a grand scale. Watch it on Netflix.
Atlanta season 2 – that ‘Teddy Perkins’ episode. Whoa. Watch it on SBS On Demand.

Read
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie – an urgent, fiercely compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide.
I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell – an astonishing memoir of the near-death experiences that have punctuated and defined O’Farrell’s life.
The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn – a page-turning thriller, the movie is already in development. Great holiday read.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – traces the intertwined fates of a picture-perfect family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

Listen (I’ve been in a bit of a podcast slump recently but my friend just gave me a bunch to get over it so stay tuned):
Revisionist History Season 3 – Burden of Proof (episode 2).
This American Life – #339 act one (Break-up) and Five Women.

Eat Out
Two restaurants I’ve revisited recently after years and they are still excellent, particularly if you’re after a cosy winter vibe – Alpha (Greek) in Sydney CBD with a stunning bar upstairs and Sagra (Italian) in Darlinghurst for perfect pasta.

Eat In
Curried Fish Pie from River Cottage.
Jill Dupleix’s Salmon in a Light Fragrant Broth. I like to up the spinach and chilli for a green hot hit.

The Habitat Podcast – The True Story Of A Fake Planet

I get a lot of questions about space from my five-year old, many of which I’m not equipped to properly answer. He has high standards when it comes to explanations. The Habitat, a new podcast from Gimlet, has helped me formulate some more convincing answers. It’s also a fascinating experiment.

On a remote mountain in Hawaii, there’s a fake planet Mars. Six volunteers are secluded in an imitation Mars habitat where they will work as imitation astronauts for one very real year.

The goal: to help NASA understand what life might be like on the red planet—and plan for the day when the dress rehearsals are over, and we blast off for real.

Host Lynn Levy has been chronicling this experiment from the moment the crew set foot in their habitat, communicating with them through audio diaries that detail their discoveries, their frustrations, and their evolving and devolving relationships with each other.

There are seven episodes at around 30 minutes each.

Listen to The Habitat podcast.
Read a review of The Habitat.

The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster

If you read only one book this year, make it The Trauma Cleaner.

“A poignant and powerful celebration of one remarkable woman’s unrelenting drive to make order from chaos,” it tells the story of Sandra Pankhurst, a trauma cleaner. But before she was a trauma cleaner, she was many things: a husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman and trophy wife.

As a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, Sandra just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.

Sarah Krasnostein spent four years researching and writing this award-winning, extraordinary biography. If you are not moved by this book, your heart is likely made of stone.

For those in Sydney, Sarah Krasnostein is speaking about The Trauma Cleaner at the Sydney Writers Festival on 5th May.

Read an extract.
Read a review.
Learn more about The Trauma Cleaner.

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