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Information is Beautiful [Hardcover]

David McCandless
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Feb 2010
ISBN 9780007294664 was first published in 2009 and the reprint was published in 2010, hence the the original publish date will be mentioned on the book.

A visual guide to the way the world really works Every day, every hour, every minute we are bombarded by information - from television, from newspapers, from the internet, we're steeped in it, maybe even lost in it. We need a new way to relate to it, to discover the beauty and the fun of information for information's sake. No dry facts, theories or statistics. Instead, Information is Beautiful contains visually stunning displays of information that blend the facts with their connections, their context and their relationships - making information meaningful, entertaining and beautiful. This is information like you have never seen it before - keeping text to a minimum and using unique visuals that offer a blueprint of modern life - a map of beautiful colour illustrations that are tactile to hold and easy to flick through but intriguing and engaging enough to study for hours.

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Information is Beautiful + Knowledge is Beautiful + Infographica: The World As You Have Never Seen It Before
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (4 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007294662
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007294664
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 2.9 x 25.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm a London-based author, data-journalist and information designer, working across print, advertising, TV and web. My book and blog Information Is Beautiful is dedicated to visualising ideas, issues, knowledge and data. All powered by my passion for discovering new patterns and stories in the seas of data swamping and surrounding us.

I started my career as a writer for cult video games magazines in the late 80s, hacking into games and penning a programming column. Over the next 25 years, I've worked as a journalist, conceptual copywriter, web editor, creative director and comedy writer. I've had pieces exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Wellcome Trust gallery in London, and at the Tate Britain. I have an occasional column on the Guardian's Datablog.


Product Description


"Information is Beautiful" is a wonderful present for anybody from 6 years to 96. I can't stop reading it. A lot of information is funny, all of it interesting, some of it even quite useful, so no house should be without one.
--Stoker Devonshire (12th Duke of Devonshire)

From the Publisher

We are on the third reprint and all copies now available are free from printing errors.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
109 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Error free, and beautiful indeed 21 Sep 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I wanted this book from the day I read about it, but waited until the printing errors were sorted out. Amazon haven't really highlighted the publishers note that says this is now on to the third reprint, and is therefore error free. So I now have a copy. And it was worth the 6 month wait.

This really is beautiful. The way some of the figures are presented is brilliantly original, and really fires the imagination for how information could be better presented. And I was surprised at some practical pages as well - eg salad dressing recipes, with quantities represented visually.

This is one of those books that will sit in the book case and be dipped into every now and again for inspiration. Enjoy it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty colours and the curse of tiny type 25 Feb 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Page 128 of this book is devoted to the different types of graphics used in diagrams, forty are named with a little graphic of each (pie chart; bar chart; word cloud etc and one called 'Dunno what to call it' chart) and I thought it would have been useful to run this page at the front of the book so that readers could try and identify what type of graphic was used on each page.

The editorial is an interesting one and gets away from the Tufte format of reproducing existing material by creating all the graphics for this book and maybe this is one of its weaknesses. I found so many of these graphic pages just too unwieldy and confusing, sort of the opposite of what this type of material is supposed to do: visually present information with clarity and simplicity. Plenty of pages have data that has been crowbarred into something visual that really should have remained just as typed list.

Shame about the missing text that everyone has mentioned. More importantly to me (and a real editorial weakness) is the large amount of unreadable type, either white out of a black page, light coloured panels or just too tiny. Heavy use of 'Batteries Not Included Bold Condensed' and 'Prices Subject To Change Without Notice Roman' do not encourage clarity. It means I quickly turn over the page to the next diagram.

There are some fascinating visual ideas here but because they were not created for anything other than this book they lack the creative rigor that would normally be required if they were to be used in print elsewhere.
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111 of 120 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wait for next edition to buy 21 Feb 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Author David McCandless deserves full marks for concept, design, and content of this book. It is indeed a beautiful and endlessly fascinating book that presents all sort of information from the profound to the trivial in a highly accessible way. It is the sort of thing that is ideal to dip into at random and know you are bound to come away with some new bit of knowledge, and I have no doubt our copy will end up very well-thumbed indeed.

So why the low marks? Those are for the publishers alone. A substantial number of the graphics here are missing the text that turns them from an abstract image into information. Some graphics seem to disappear off the edge of the page, others have a title but no legend to help decipher the image, graphs may show a legend for only one axis and leave the reader to guess the other. Frustratingly, the author's own website reveals that these errors were noticed in the American edition and he attempted to correct them before the British edition was printed, however the publishers opted to just publish the same book, errors and all.

This should be a stunning book with broad appeal, however in its present state I cannot honestly recommend paying for a copy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection of data visualizations 4 Aug 2010
Information is Beautiful is a great book. The vast array of visualisation techniques is mind blowing, from the simple, yet wonderfully created pie chart to a number of techniques (e.g. semantic polar grids) that I had never encountered before (and I have a PhD in ecological statistics). I would recommend this to anyone interested in data visualisation / infographics who wants inspiration or wants a nice looking book that would not be out of place on any self-confessed geeks coffee table.

The fact that the book is now on its third reprint, shows how immensely popular it has been. This has also allowed for the correction of the original printing errors (publishers fault). If however you do have an early copy you can still download the correct pages direct from David's website "Information is Beautiful". A website that is constructed with the same amount of care and attention that is shown in this text and should be immediately addded to your RSS subscriptions.

Now that this text is under £10 makes this an instant purchase for any intersted party or even as a gift item. Enjoy being immersed in the beautiful display of normally impenetrable data.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Style and Substance Combined 24 Feb 2010
By C. Verspeak VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Its perhaps a little ironic that a book full of pictures is likely to be most enjoyed by people who like a lot of words. This is a really nice collection of data, attractively presented. Part experiment in and exhibition of style, part exploration of interesting topics, this book will go really well on most coffee tables where it can be picked up and perused. The data included varies from the topical (comparison of the USA's Iraq war budget with cost of educating the world's children) to the esoteric (the evolution of all recognised forms of popular music) but all are represented in different ways. These forms are similarly varied - some are easy to read, some are more of a challenge, but all are imaginative and stimulating. My main beef with the book is that I am not sure all of the graphs and charts are correctly labeled - although may be I have just not understood how to correctly read them. Some data also seems oversimplified for the sake of presentability - a little style over substance. More a conversation starter than serious research then. Perhaps this book could do with a companion web site offering an explanation of each page's design choice and sources. Still, it is a nicely put together piece of work and great to dip into for occasional inspiration. Well recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great insights into how to represent potentially complex data
For the logically overloaded, such as myself, this book is a really insightful way to understand how to represent complex data comparisons. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Allan Watton
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book
Love this book! bought this as a present and worked a treat. Came in good time and was everything I expected.
Published 13 days ago by little rainy man
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived in good condition and great book .. very useful.
Published 14 days ago by Marilyn Wilkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully presented: a gift for a teenager who doesn't ...
Beautifully presented: a gift for a teenager who doesn't read fiction but who likes graphics! He found the info fascinating, but this may date quickly, which is the only down-side. Read more
Published 19 days ago by HopeFaith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great, great, great if I didn't think so I would not give it 5 stars.
Published 21 days ago by Mr. Rodney Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars love the way this book opens the mind on how ...
love the way this book opens the mind on how to read and display data in a manner anyone could decipher.
Published 25 days ago by ZoZo
5.0 out of 5 stars good read and perfect to leave in the toilet for ...
Got this for a present for our 16 year old who loves facts, and everyone who has seen it wants to get a copy, good read and perfect to leave in the toilet for those who like to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by nigel hall
2.0 out of 5 stars but I was really disappointed.
I thought this was going to be a really informative/entertaining book, but I was really disappointed.
Published 1 month ago by Mary
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book. Must read!
Published 1 month ago by A. Ko
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
Really interesting book. Some of the diagrams take a little bit of time to totally figure out, but it's an excellent book to dip in and out of at random.
Published 3 months ago by gingernj
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