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Information is Beautiful [Hardcover]

David McCandless
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 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.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (4 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007294662
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007294664
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,113 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
107 of 112 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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109 of 118 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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5 of 5 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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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychedelic Cyclopaedia 24 Feb 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
That there are printing mistakes in this book is a crying shame. For a book that will rise or fall on the veracity of its data, to have twelve pages with the data missing is more than unfortunate. That this UK addition has the same mistakes as an earlier American edition, seems like commercial suicide. What were Collins thinking? I feel for David McCandless, as this book has clearly been a labour of love.

That said, 'Information is Beautiful' is a brilliant book. If the twelve messed up pages were completely absent, it would still be a brilliant book. So even though you feel like you are being cheated, you're not. The other 244 pages are a feast for the eyes, and are well worth parting you from your cash. The US version is in its second edition, so if you want it to be perfect, maybe you could wait for the same over here? (There is an downloadable errata on 'IiB' website)

February strikes me as an odd date for the release of this book. It's exactly the sort of thing you would expect to see on the shelves in the run up to Christmas. It's Schott's Almanac on acid, made to appeal to the reader's inner geek. McCandless' mission is to take the assault of information that comes with living in the technological age, and represent it in a way that is easy to understand: Visually. He does so with aplomb - there are hundreds of facts in here, all in glorious technicolor.

There are graphs, pie charts and flow charts, fairly ordinary ways of displaying information, but there are also bubble clusters, Coxcombs and the delightfully named 'semantic polar grids', which are like candy for nerds. There is even a page displaying visual ways of displaying information. Subjects range from Creation Myths to Salad Dressings, via The Middle East. It's wonderful!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless book, always great to have
after receiving this as a present from my sister, i have bought it for 3 people as gifts myself. it is ultimately the best book, so interesting and innovative. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Shelll
5.0 out of 5 stars EPIC
Published 7 days ago by Yoav Segal
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great present
Published 8 days ago by Mr M R Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars Each page is a new insight
A great book to have in one's design library. Even though the information may not be 100% accurate, it seems to do a great job conveying the information as a tool for greater... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Simone
4.0 out of 5 stars Great buy
Bought it for my friend who is a graphic designer. He loves it
Published 19 days ago by K. Ale
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book
A really nice book to have on the coffee table to be able to pick up and flick through. Some really interestting inforgraphics.

Nicley presented and feels good quality. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Leanne
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect 'coffee table book', or as a gift
Each page presents a number of interesting facts in graphic form. The number and variety of facts is good, as is the variety in the way that they are displayed. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Slimdog-g
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Recommend this for people into info graphics. You might also find that you will learn something you didn't expect. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Pam
5.0 out of 5 stars staggering achievement.
a graph will teach you in an instant what a chapter of prose will fail to teach in an is that concept on steroids and only beef (! Read more
Published 3 months ago by brianbotanic
5.0 out of 5 stars Diagram Bonkers Book!! great
I bought this as a gift - but so wish I could have kept it.
Colours everywhere and diagrams and data abound.
Absorbing to read or dip into.
Published 3 months ago by Pedro
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