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The Visual Display of Quantitative Information Hardcover – 31 Jan 2001


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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: 2.5 x 22.9 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,678 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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Excellence in statistical graphics consists of complex ideas communicated with clarity, precision, and efficiency. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Feb 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is the first of Edward Tufte's brilliant trilogy on how information should be displayed. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information is about pictures of numbers. Envisioning Information is about picturing nouns. Visual Explanations is about picturing verbs. All three are beautiful artefacts in their own right, encapsulating the author's ideas in the actual production of the book. Each is crammed with examples of good and bad practice over the past centuries.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By AK TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Nov 2009
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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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Warren on 7 Dec 2001
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 A Customer on 20 Mar 1997
Format: Hardcover
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Oct 1996
Format: Hardcover
This book is an excellent style guide on how to present
data in graphical format. Every idea is clearly explained
and backed up with excellent visual examples. Tufte
emphasizes the use of graphics as a tool that accelerates
the flow of information to the reader instead of an
ornamental attachment. Latest advances in personal
computing and world-wide web has made this point even
more important - just think about the amount of junk we
get to see on a typical web page. Tufte criticizes the
increasingly familiar case of graphical data distortion
in publications with striking examples and offers basic
guidelines for avoiding this problem.

The book is overall very well written and designed. I
consider "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information"
required reading for anybody who needs to present or use
data in graphical form.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Dec 1998
Format: Hardcover
When it was published in 1983, it was an insightful work, that provided guidance for a limited number of designers and academics working in fields where data interpretation was critical. With the growth of the Web, this book, and it's companion "Visual Explanations" have become seminal, like McLuhan's work became.
Modern commerce and entertainment is now being forced into a matrix of 800 * 600 pixels: even more constraining than the constraints of a printed page. Tufte urges us on to get the the core of our intent, to separate the wheat from the chaff, at a time when media is reinventing itself faster than artists can keep up.
No professional or technologist can afford not to read Tufte's work. As Tufte ends the book "Design is Choice". Choices must be informed.
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