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111 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Error free, and beautiful indeed
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...
Published on 21 Sep 2010 by Robin Hilton

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty colours and the curse of tiny type
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...
Published on 25 Feb 2010 by Robin Benson


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty colours and the curse of tiny type, 25 Feb 2010
By 
Robin Benson - See all my reviews
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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 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Error free, and beautiful indeed, 21 Sep 2010
By 
Robin Hilton (Hertfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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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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116 of 125 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wait for next edition to buy, 21 Feb 2010
By 
J. Dawson (Edinburgh, UK) - See all my reviews
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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Nearly A Great Book, 24 Feb 2010
By 
Mr. N. T. Baxter "Neil" (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a great idea for book, especially for us stat-buffs. There are loads of diagrams, graphical representations and charts - many in original and colourful formats - presenting data from a huge range of subjects.

The author, David McCandless, has, on the whole, done a great job compiling and devising this book, but there are a few problems which undermine it:

1) As others have mentioned, some - quite a few- diagrams are missing captions and labels, rendering them meaningless (e.g. country names missing from a diagram showing relative %age of athiests by country)

2) Some of the data is collected from less than 24 carat sources (eg. small commercial websites). This doesn't mean the information is less 'fun', but it is less representative.

3) Sometimes the more unusual charts need a bit of time in interpretation. We could do with a brief explanation of how to read them sometimes.

Despite these limitations this is a fun book to dip in and out of, and looks very nice (although I would prefer a high gloss paper to the matt that the publisher chose). I'd probably recommend the second print run - there are too many mistakes in this one - just hope the publishers haven't produced too many already!
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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 "f*" (London) - See all my reviews
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where the interesting bits from weekend newspaper supplements go, 26 Feb 2010
By 
Many Beans (York) - See all my reviews
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I liked this: it's something like Schott's almanac in pictures, or a collection of the more interesting Guardian wall charts.

Good:

* Striking graphics
* Interesting and eclectic topics - from what tastes complement each other, to causes of death
* Some great ways to present information
* Nice printing and layout

Less good

* Some parts feel like filler, for example:
- seven variants of very similar maps of film profit versus quality (ten pages, 224 - 233)
- essentially the same internet map over pages 86 -91
* Printing errors mean that some pages just don't make sense - so it is flawed (see other reviews for more detail on this)
* The quality and interest of the items is uneven:
- some seem lazy (Google insights, pages 136-139)
- some didn't work for me - the overly busy "rock band" map on page 220/221

Accepting these flaws, this has a rather good ratio of "oh, that's interesting / clever" articles to "seen it before" items. It's something a little different, and a definite hit. Four stars.

If you like this, you might also like The Art of Looking Sideways - one of my all-time favourite books for visual thinkers.
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychedelic Cyclopaedia, 24 Feb 2010
By 
Quicksilver (UK) - See all my reviews
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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!

I must confess that you don't have to cut into me very far before you reach my inner geek (nerdiness is only skin deep), but I love this book. I've been flicking through it for hours much to the annoyance of my wife. This is a fine reference book (though I have no idea about the quality of the data collected), and would make an ideal gift for the geek in your life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful but still contains errors in new 2012 edition!, 24 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Information is Beautiful (New Edition) (Hardcover)
So the information contained in this book is fascinating, educational & ultimately beautifully presented.

However, there still seems to be errors:

1) A portion of the graphics are missing at the seam when they cover two pages. For example, page 166/167 features illegible text where the pages meet. 230/231 is also mis-matched. It's strange because it seems care has been taken to prevent this for some pages and yet not others.

2) On page 219 for 'The Future of Energy' there are text labels missing for the Geothermal & Hydroelectric images.

These errors have been noticed within 10 minutes of reading so I imagine there may be other examples too.

A real shame when the whole purpose of infographics is to present information beautifully and clearly. It taints the brilliance of this book. Would have been 5 stars otherwise.

Fingers crossed a new edition will appear that is completely correct!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow research and unforgivable printing errors, 9 April 2010
Whilst this book is beautifully laid out and contains some fascinating facts (Finns are the happiest people in the world, it takes 5 litres of water to make 1 litre of bottled water) I was disappointed for several reasons:
The predominant cited source seems to be Wikipedia. This is laziness for a book that celebrates the diversity of information.
Items such as Loevinger's Stages of Development or Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs are mainly unembellished lists, freely available in the same format elsewhere. Why not celebrate the wondrous things that are now being done with mashups instead?
The omission of the text on a number of pages, as reported in other reviews, is inexcusable. The publisher is knowingly selling faulty goods.
I was so looking forward to this book, being a fan of McCandless's work, so it pains me to give it such a poor review.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection of data visualizations, 4 Aug 2010
By 
Dr. Philip D. Roberts (Wallingford, UK) - See all my reviews
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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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