… is from page 142 of the late Hans Rosling’s insightful 2018 book, Factfulness :
When I see a lonely number in a news report, it always triggers an alarm: What should this lonely number be compared to? What was that number a year ago? Ten years ago? What is it in a comparable country or region? And what should it be divided by? What is the total of which this is a part? What would this be per person? I compare the rates, and only then do I decide whether it really is an important number.
DBx: The heightened relevance today of this bit of wisdom is obvious.