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The Visual Display of Quantitative Information [Hardcover]

Edward R. Tufte
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Graphics Press USA; 2nd edition edition (31 Jan 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0961392142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0961392147
  • Product Dimensions: 27.4 x 22.5 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

The first edition of Tufte's now classic text on the design of statistical graphics was published in 1983. Tufte published it himself with the help of a second mortgage in order to have complete control over the book's design, which he wanted to reflect the intellectual principles put forth in its c

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First Sentence
Excellence in statistical graphics consists of complex ideas communicated with clarity, precision, and efficiency. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it, before you make a really bad mistake. 7 Dec 2001
By Warren
Format:Hardcover
This book should be a compulsory read for all graphic designers dealing with data visualisation.
The clearly focused chapters, all with superb illustrations, take the reader through some of the best and worst graphics and charts ever printed, with Tufte providing crystalline insights and techniques that will stick in your mind and make your own work better.
Whilst this book deals only with printed graphics, I think that the lessons learned are even more valuable as a foundation for interactive media designers. With the added dimensions of time and user involvement comes the potential to commit far worse design-crimes than many of the examples laid bare in this book!
Like I said: Read it before you make a really bad mistake!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By AK TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is simply stunning. It consigns most of the graphical designs of the consulting industry into the dustbin of bad practice and presents some slightly unconventional alternatives, which actually do look more compelling on second thought. The standard rules of avoiding lie factors in graphics, maximising the data / ink ratio, the integration of graphics and text are all spot on and show how statistics, when done right, is far from boring, tending far more towards the fascinating instead.

The book also provides some splendid examples of good graphical design, shockingly most of them fairly old - i.e. the field did not progress nearly as much as should be expected, with most of the progress being pre-20th century, with several unfortunate steps back from the 1920s to 1970s (shown as well). Another interesting facet is the historical development of methods for presenting quantitative information, which is interesting in its own right.

This book should be essential reading for anyone who relies on visually presenting quantitative information and is an absolute must in management consulting.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Professor Tufte writes simply excellent books. 17 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
These books appeal on so many levels. They are informative, interesting and entertaining. Beautifully produced and very well written. One hardly notices one is being educated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous, timely 30 July 2013
Format:Hardcover
We have all seen them in presentations: illegible graphs, gaudy tables and lousy ClipArt. As the number of Powerpoint graphics options on explode with every new release of MS Office, the profusion of colours and shapes that populate presentations becomes even more bizzare. Thank goodness Edward Tufte sorts through all the mess to remind readers--perhaps some of them consultants--that graphs should communicate data with economy. No need for additional 3D effects. No gratuitously vulgar primary colours. Just plain communication.

The book is fairly straightforward. Tufte gives a short overview of the theory of graphical presentation. He then uses numerous examples (from the 18th century up to the twentieth century) to demonstrate the principles of good visual communication. He also shows how graphs (in the New York Times, in company annual reports etc) are deliberately distorted to give wrong information to the reader.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'The Visual Display of Quantitative Information'. I will be putting to practice its recommendation on the use of scatter plots in my next presentation. If you regularly present visual information in graphs, tables or figures for reports or as part of oral presentations, I recommend Impact by Jon Moon as well as Tufte's 'The Visual Display of Quantitative Information'. These books will repay close reading and practice of the principles of compelling visual presentations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars insightful and stimulating 25 Aug 2010
Format:Hardcover
Every management consultant should look at the pictures.
This is excellence in story telling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting point about graphical data integrity 11 Mar 2010
By M.I.
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book provides suggestions and ideas about how to represent data in a graphically meaningful and elegant way. The focus is set on how to maximize the information shown without producing chartjunk, in order to reveal the meaning and the complexity of the data in a visually effective way. Guidelines are given for producing better graphics, such as maximising data ink and erasing non data one, and many examples of good and bad graphics taken from present and past scientific literature following such guidelines are shown. I found interesting the point made by the author about graphical data integrity, which means that graphics are supposed of telling the truth and not distort graphically the information content. The sizes of the graphical elements shown must represent the magnitude of the data correctly, without distortions. On the contrary, nowadays graphics published in newspapers and magazines often lack such integrity, and the message conveyed by the data is altered and telling a lie. Readers aren't usually aware of such subtleties! In conclusion, anybody dealing with scientific data and its representation should own a copy. Well done!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, but repetitive 19 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover
This book is very well produced and executed. Heavy use of graphics, clear text, excellent glosses on the side of each page to highlight important reading. The graphics are generally lovely examples of how to optimise your graphic design so as to "channel" the reader toward the take-home messages of quantitative data.

These examples intersperse the text very neatly. Indeed, the layout of the book itself is meant to be a talking point, and is certainly very rational and a pleasure to flick through.

However, I find the examples given can be repetitive and the text can lack depth without a sense of depth to the analysis. I would have preferred something a little academic in the reading. As it is, it reads quite like an online tutorial (which are freely, widely available...). In fact, I think you could perhaps garner more from a well-chosen blog or two.

Much of the "exemplar designs" selected by Tufte are also repetitive, especially between his books. While the examples in question are undeniably outstanding (e.g. particularly elegant train schedules and Minaud's military escapades from Paris to Moscow), I find myself feeling, "I get the point! Show me something new!"

Lovely as a reference book, but if you've already done extensive reading on this sort of thing (on blogs or otherwise), you're probably looking for more depth -- so maybe try elsewhere. If you're looking for a reference book that will consolidate the basics in a beautiful way, then this is an excellent, appealing solution!

(I am very happy with my purchase!)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
A dry title for a completely wonderful (and beautifully produced) book. Nobody should ever prepare a presentation using graphics to convey numbers without having read it!
Published 2 months ago by H. Carter
2.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book, but do not read it
This book has good and bad aspects. First let me look at the bad part: the text Tufte has written. The problem is, most of it is founded on a single principle: maximise the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by James Oldfield
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!
The reproductions are wonderful and the text is informative. A great book to have and read. Get it now!

A classic for every thinking-man's shelf!
Published 10 months ago by Paul Janka
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
Nice print
Easy to read
Full of quality illustrations
A very good book to have.
I would say worth the money.
Published 11 months ago by taufiq
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Amazing book, amazing service! Really apreciate!
This book began in 1975 but is still so trendy now days. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Leo
4.0 out of 5 stars well regarded classic on the subject, but a bit too old-fashioned...
well regarded classic on the subject, but a bit too old-fashioned style, avoiding colour as the tool for some reason. Read more
Published on 31 Oct 2011 by ReviewerX
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
The ideal introductory book to Tufte, an absolutely beautiful book, an essential read for all those working in the data visualisation field. Perfect.
Published on 28 Sep 2011 by Howie
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
This is a great "classic" and would even make a good coffee table book with its images and high quality paper! There are plenty of useful tips on how to visualise data. Read more
Published on 6 Sep 2011 by Simon Gifford
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite technical and historical
Molto più tecnico e storico di quello che mi aspettassi, ma in fin dei conti fa il suo lavoro, ancora non l'ho finito di leggere, ma promette bene, impatto buono
Published on 24 Aug 2011 by Sion
5.0 out of 5 stars Economists, econometricians and statisticians all need this book
This book is perfect for anyone who must present data and information visually in their career. I am an econometrician and find this book, and others like it by the author, a great... Read more
Published on 2 April 2011 by Tommy
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