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Paperback The Visual Display of Quantitative Information PAPERBACK : Second Edition PAPERBACK Book

ISBN: 1930824130

ISBN13: 9781930824133

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information PAPERBACK : Second Edition PAPERBACK

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Book Overview

Paperback edition of Edward Tufte's classic book on statistical charts, graphs, and tables, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. "Best 100 books of the 20th Century." Amazon.com.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

1st edition compared to 2nd

Years ago, I purchased the first edition of VISUAL DISPLAY OF QUANTITATIVE INFORMATION. The second edition provides high-resolution color reproductions of the several graphics found in the first edition. In addition, corrections were made. However, to most readers/users, I doubt that the changes would be worthy of purchasing the second edition if one already owns the first edition.Edward R. Tufte is a noteworthy scholar and the presentation of the material presented in this book is awe-inspiring. Tufte has also compiled two other books that can be best described as quite remarkable. These additional books are entitled, ENVISIONING INFORMATION and VISUAL EXPLANATIONS. All three of these volumes are not merely supplemental textbooks; they are works of art.My intent was to use VISUAL DISPLAY OF QUANTITATIVE INFORMATION as part of teaching my statistics course. Students, but mostly faculty, are overly impressed with inferential statistics. Graphics play an important role in the understanding and interpretation of statistical findings. Tufte makes this point unambiguously clear in his books.Two features of VISUAL DISPLAY OF QUANTITATIVE INFORMATION are particularly salient in teaching a statistics course. First, the concept of normal distribution is wonderfully illustrated on page 140. Here the reader is reinforced with the notion that in the normal course of human events, cultural/social/behavioral/ psychological phenomena usually fall into the shape of a normal distribution. The constant appearance of this distribution borders on miraculous. Just as importantly, it is the basis for accurate predications in all areas of science. Tufte's illustration (page 140) speaks to this issue much more clearly than a one-hour lecture on the importance of the normal distribution. Which goes to show -- once again -- "a picture is worth a thousand words." Sadly, the illustration on page 140 is small and in black and white. I wish the second edition included a larger reproduction of this photo. A color presentation would have been helpful.Second, Tufte continues his unrelenting pattern to reinforce the importance and impact of illustrations in understanding complex concepts. In particular, page 176 demonstrates the impact of Napoleon's march to Moscow. The illustration is both profound and eerie. The reader is left with a feeling of death and pain for the foot soldiers...

Superbly thought provoking

I divide my graphics work into two categories: BT (Before Tufte) and AT (After Tufte). I rarely acknowledge any involvement of a publication from those dark BT days.Tufte's masterful and dead-on takes about how to communicate statistical and quantitative data challenges standard assumptions about developing graphical information and reveals, though it is not his stated intention, the weakness of so many graphics software packages. Just look at his collection of chartjunk and "ducks" (his term for hideous graphics) to see how all the whistles and bells available to us via computer graphics programs actually obfuscate the interpretation of visual information. By the time you read how much ink and paper are wasted by created bad graphics, you should be a convert. And if you are ever lucky enough to have the chance to attend one of Tufte's seminars, pawn your PC if that's what it takes.

I rescued this book from a trash can!

True. One boss replaced another and cleared the "old junk" from the office bookshelves. I picked this gem up and out of a trash can, hurried to my office, and did a little dance with the book clutched to my chest!In the past eight years, I have read and re-read this book more times than I can remember - always amazed at its clarity and always learning something new. I've used the cut-thru-the-crap ideas it holds to get my point across in business, research, education, manufacturing, and web design. Anytime somebody tells me I have a knack for simplifying complicated ideas I smile and think of this book. IT'S GREAT! Oh, and the new boss? He's gone.

Extremely well researched book on what makes good design.

You know what's so good about this book? The research, that's what. In showing both good and bad graphic design, Tufte has examples from as far back as 1686, and many examples from the 18th,19th & 20th centuries and from many different countries. Good graphic design, he argues, reveals the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time with the least ink in the smallest space. Interestingly, some of the best examples of this come from the pre-computer era, when graphics had to be drawn by hand (and therefore more thought had to go into their design, rather than the author just calling up the Bar Graph template on the desktop.) For example, that picture you can see on the front cover of the book is actually a train timetable that packs a whole list of arrivals and departures at many different stations into a single little picture. A better example (and the "best statistical graphic ever drawn") shows Napoleon's route through Europe. It shows a) the map b) where he went c) how many people were in his army at each point and d) the temperature on the way back that killed off his army. At a glance you can see the factors that led to his army losing. AND it was drawn by hand in 1885 and is little more than a line drawing!He also gives examples of really bad design, (including "the worst graphic ever to make it to print"), and shows what makes it so bad. His examples prove that information-less, counter-intuitive graphics can still look dazzlingly pretty, even though they're useless. In some examples, he shows how small changes can make the difference between an awful graphic and a really good one. My favourite example of this is how he drew the inter-quartile ranges on the x and y axes of a scatterplot, thus adding more information to the graphic without cluttering it up.In summary, there's a lot more to good graphic design than being an Adobe guru. Reading this book made me feel like a more discerning viewer of graphics!

The essential guide to avoiding graphical lies

This book, and the two companion volumes ("Envisioning Information" and "Visual Explanations") are must-haves for anyone who is in the business or producing or interpreting statistical information. Tufte starts with a simple proposition: graphs and graphics that represent statistical data should tell the truth. It's amazing how often designers of such graphics miss this basic point. Tufte clearly and entertainingly elucidates the most common "graphical lies" and how to avoid them. Read this book and you'll never look at a newspaper or presentation graphics the same way again -- you'll be left wondering if the author *intended* to lie about what the data were saying, or if he/she just didn't know any better. Another reviewer claimed that this book talks about how to make graphics accurate, not beautiful. He's right in some sense, but who cares? There are a million books on how to make "pretty" graphical displays, but precious few on how to make useful ones. These books are they.
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