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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful examples of how to present information
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...
Published on 2 Feb. 1998

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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 information-to-ink ratio. Now as a scientist myself, this sounded like a great idea. It would not just improve your graphs (and similar diagrams), but do it in a fairly systematic way. Why add more...
Published 15 months ago by James Oldfield


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful examples of how to present information, 2 Feb. 1998
By A Customer
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone regularly graphically presenting quantitative information, 3 Nov. 2009
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (Hardcover)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it, before you make a really bad mistake., 7 Dec. 2001
This review is from: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (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
5.0 out of 5 stars The essential guide to avoiding graphical lies, 20 Mar. 1997
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference on graphical representation of data, 23 Oct. 1996
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just timeless, timely, 14 Dec. 1998
By A Customer
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting point about graphical data integrity, 11 Mar. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (Hardcover)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous, timely, 30 July 2013
By 
A. O. P. Akemu "Ona" (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, Astounding, Practical, 13 Feb. 1999
By A Customer
This wonderful book has earned a very special space on my professional bookshelf. Tufte's work was immediately put to use in reducing "chart junk" in a very important presentation I was preparing. This book can help anyone seeking to communicate complex information to nearly any audience. The graphic of Napoleon's march to Moscow is intense and focused - and sparked several conversations around the office.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, reoriented my thinking., 26 Sept. 1996
By A Customer
I've been working in marketing research for over 20 years and am constantly challenged to present complex information to managers -- quickly, efficiently, accurately, ...and visually.

This book completely reoriented my approach to this task, and ranks among maybe half a dozen that have had such an influence on my worldview. My graphs now communicate huge amounts of information very simply. Managers can "get it" within a few minutes at most. I write less text because I can convey so much visually. My reports are shorter, more concise, more reader friendly, and my value to clients has gone up.

Others in my company come to me to review their graphs too, and I can almost always find something to recommend, based on Tufte's principles.

This book is well written and illustrated. It seems nothing was spared to make it useful and visually appealing. It is well worth the investment.
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The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte (Hardcover - 31 Jan. 2001)
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