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50 Facts That Should Change The World 2.0 by…

50 Facts That Should Change The World 2.0

by Jessica Williams

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There are 27 million slaves in the world today. Nearly half of Americans believe aliens have landed on Earth. Landmines kill or maim at least one person every hour.

Before I read Jessica Williams' "50 Facts that Should Change the World," I considered myself a fairly aware person when it comes to problems facing the word. Poverty. Global warming. The oppression of women and children. Nailed it! Right?

Wrong. So very wrong. This book is poised and ready to slap you across the face with a big dose of awareness. I would challenge anyone who thinks they have a grasp on the world's problems to pick up this book. Also, it would be great for anyone who simply wants to learn more about what's really going on in the world, and enjoys that process. Many argue that, as a country, as individuals, it "isn't our job to solve the world's problems." Even if that's the way you feel, Williams' books can provide valuable snapshots into life in the 21st Century.

BBC journalist Jessica Williams put out the first version of "50 Facts" in 2004. I read the "2.0" version, which was published in 2007 -- and already seems outdated in many ways. The book was published by Disinformation Company Ltd., which brought us such wonders as "Everything You Know is Wrong" by Russ Kick (which I might save for next year, when I need another blast-to-the-brain of awareness).There is also a "50 Facts that Should Change the USA" out, by Stephen Fender.

Because Williams is a British journalist, "50 Facts" contains both American and British statistics. Each fact is backed up by 3-5 pages of explanation, reference and context. However, don't be fooled by it's concise content: this book is heavy.

I'm a rather stubborn learner, but I feel that reading this book straight through, cover to cover, changed me. Brightened with new facts about the world's plights, I would attempt to read them out loud to my boyfriend: eventually he urged me to stop, because they were too depressing.

And, truthfully, it is depressing. There are so many drastic problems facing this world, and most Americans truck along through their lives, unaware. It took me nearly two weeks to complete this book, because sometimes those facts will hit you hard and you have to stop. After reading about executions, torture, the rise of Starbucks, domestic violence in Russia or food additives, I would have to put the book down and hug my cat for a little while.

However, I am deeply glad I read this book. Yes, it is "shocking, sickening and sordid," but in many ways it woke me up, and I had no idea I was asleep to a majority of the world's problems. It has given me a new focus, and blessedly the book provides ways for concerned individuals to get involved and make a difference. I wouldn't reccomend reading it straight through, like I did; perhaps read a chapter at a time, process what you've read and then put it back on the bookshelf for another day.

I am going to keep this book around until 3.0 comes out, and I feel that I'll always have some "50 Facts" books in my library for reference. ( )
  wanderingeileen | Feb 10, 2010 |
This is a collection of short essays on 50 different facts -- ranging from troubilng to shocking -- that the author has compiled. Fact such as: there are 27 million slaves in the world today; black men born in th U.S. today stand a one in three chance of going to jail; 30 million people in Africa are HIV positive.

The book is saved from being totally depressing by the inclusion of ideas on how individuals can get involved and do something tomake the world a better place.

Well documented, not preachy. ( )
  LynnB | Jul 15, 2008 |
This book should be on everyone's shelf. It is a journalist's list and discriptions of some of the most intriguing and important facts that somehow get buried in the news cycle between Britney's escapades and local dog shows. Some are horrifying, some are tear jerking, but the point of the book is to humanize the statistics and raise awareness and, yes, anger in an attempt to provoke some sort of reaction. It's the journalistic equivalent of a splash of cold water in the face. ( )
  starfashionque3n | Feb 7, 2008 |
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