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on 29 February 2012
Tufte is brilliant, and this is the missing manual on report and user-interface design. Its very good at making you think differently - much like a Guru of The Week for design.

I purchased this book so that my team could use it for inspiration on new report designs (KPIs, dashboards, trend analyses etc). Our primary problem being that we work with non-math/technical people who needed very simplified reports for complex problems. Tufte's work and cutting analysis seemed a good place to start.

Don't be fazed by the fact that the examples in this book have no immediate relevance to your problem: just thumb through the book, and try to understand why the examples are good or bad. A number of patterns will start to emerge, and its these patterns that will inspire and direct you to your solutions. For example, we took the Japanese map at the beginning, combined it with the no-gridlines rule and the novel train-timetables and ended up with a simple printed report which condensed multi-dimensional information into a perspective drawing interspersed with floating blocks. So instead of churning out pages of Excel reports, we created a simple dashboard that uses colour and perspective to draw focus to the important data. If you keep an open mind, and ignore your technical limitations, you will learn a lot from this book.

However, this book will only show you design inspiration; it will does not consider how the designs can be implemented or applied, and it does not explain the art of data analysis, KPI/Scorecard design. It is very shallow in any area other than report design. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information should be read alongside this book. For technical issues of implementing these ideas in Excel/Office, I would recommend Balanced Scorecards and Operational Dashboards with Microsoft Excel. That said, this books ideas are best implemented in html.
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on 12 July 2011
As many reviewers have noted, this book does not provide guidance. It is more like a museum with examples of interesting work. If you like to browse and you get inspired, perfect! If you desire guidance on design -- perhaps an earlier book by Tufte would be more suitable.
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on 19 December 2013
This is a book about how to lay out information which is full of beautiful information.... It's that simple and yet it is a complex and thought provoking book.... As far away from the election swingometers and PowerPoint slides as it is possible to get....
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on 19 March 1998
... though there are plenty others in the book that are fascinating.
I flipped open the book just now and arrived at a discussion of whether Maya Ying Lin's Vietnam Memorial should have had the names ordered by date of death or alphabetically. As there were over 600 Smiths who died in Vietnam and 16 James Joneses, an alphabetical listing would have given the memorial the flavor of a telephone directory.
Tufte persuasively argues and demonstrates how graphic design and information presentation affects thinking, decision-making, and emotion.
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on 18 July 2014
I bought this to help with dashboard data presentations. This book is great to understand data presentation from a historical standpoint (for this it is superb and very interesting) but as an aide memoir for designing, it isn't that much help. Better to buy the Stephen Few book (Information dashboard design)
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on 11 October 2015
Just what I want with an affordable price, perfect!
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on 4 May 2016
a little basic, good for beginners
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on 21 December 1997
The book is expensive,thin, and misses the point. The illustrations for the book are never labelled, so you have no idea where the text refers to the illos! How can a book by a "designer" be that bad?! Some of the examples of good or innovative design is excellent but it says more about the "other" designers and not this book's author. Some of the obscure older examples of information design is rather good but if you want a good book on design, this is not it. Perhaps it will be a source of inspiration... The book is a confusing and artsy fartsy sort of a book typical of the mindset of artists and designers. They're so wrapped up in their personal aesthetics. It's not practical and it does not help to illuminate the history and development or practice of good design when conveying information. The idea that good design in the case of the space shuttle explosion could of been prevented thru good information design is rather silly. The reason why the space shuttle disaster was not prevented has as much to do with management issues (ie not listening to engineers that issue warnings in memos) and hubris of the NASA agency and confidence as well as political pressures from Congress that wished to ax the agency's funding led to the disaster and NOT the fact some graph wasn't well prepared. If you want good design, just go buy an issue of ID or other expensive design magazine or journal or better yet, go to a university library. I don't understand why other reviewers here gush over Tufte. The production values for this book are excellent. If you are interested in this book, please review it first. You may be disappointed and you may end up loving it.
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on 5 June 1997
Ed Tufte has created an essential resource for every software designer and developer that imparts the RELIGION of good design, while avoiding the typical lists of "do's" and "don'ts" that are so pervasive in design texts. Tufte offers incredible examples of his design concepts and the publication itself is a tangible example of extraordinary design.
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on 15 May 2009
I bought after I read all the great reviews about this book. I should say I am disappointed. I was expecting this book to give me great and arcane insights about how to present information like never-before seen/used charts, graphs, etc. A big part of my work by the way is presenting to the company CEOs and CFOs regarding various measurements, figures, etc.

It could very well be that I just miss the point. At any rate this is definitely not the book for me.

I am not throwing it away as the book looks nice (physically). If somebody who will have use for it would only drop by my house and ask for it, I would gladly give it for free as I truly doubt I would ever touch it again from my shelves.
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