This short easy read is a beautiful introduction to how to make professional graphics. Because the WSJ is featured in the title, I was a bit nervous that the entire book would be focused on visualizing financial data but it has great advice for anyone who needs to visualize numeric data. I really enjoyed it because there is unique advice that adds to other practical books on visualization like Creating More Effective Graphs, and it nicely complements or leads into classics like The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2nd edition or Visualizing Data.
The first chapter covers basic issues like how many colors, what colors, how many lines, etc.. The second, which is the bulk of the book, contrasts effective and poor graphics on side by side pages. There is concise useful advice on truncating ranges, breaking axes, using broken bar graphs, how many pie pieces, etc. The advice is beyond simple do or do not break a bar, it discusses how much of a discrepancy in the height of a bar chart merits a break. While other books have advice that ends with "do or do not use some graphics" (like pie charts), this one has great advice on when it makes sense to do things like break graphics into sets of pictures, use broken bars in bar charts, how and when to set scales (so that graphics afford meaningful comparisons) and how to make the best use of pie charts. There is a short section on descriptive statistics, when to use means, medians, plotting percentages vs actual changes, etc. and there is a surprisingly nice section on the algebra for setting axes which I have never seen written up. The final two chapters deal with specialize topics like plotting financial matters or plotting time series and relations among groups.
The only real down side is there is no discussion of what tools to use to make the graphics or how the graphics in this book were rendered. Despite this, the book is superb because it covers the material in adequate detail and it gives insights that are either not covered at all or are scattered across many sources.