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on 26 April 2013
The book description (both online and physical) offers this as a guide to data, and that's exactly what it is. By presenting so many examples, from murder to MP's money to multiculturalism, the author gives you the chance to question whether patterns exist and, if they do, learn how you can find and show them.

It's true, the book doesn't give you a step-by-step guide to how to make a bar graph but that's what makes it so great. At least half of the book's 311 pages are printed with graphics that change the way we think about communicating complex information. And that's actually the first step in the real 'how to'. Because if you don't take the time to stop and think about what you want to say and how you want to say it, you won't get very far learning about data.

Note: I know the author but I'm not obliged to say nice things as we no longer work together - every word is sincere, buy the book and see for yourself!
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on 19 April 2013
I purchased this on the back of a Guardian Tech Weekly podcast (12 Apr 2013) in which the author was being interviewed. In this, it was suggested that this book may be a useful 'how to' tool. This is only true to a point in that it talks about the theoretical arguments around data journalism, but it is less an instruction manual than I believed it to be. This misunderstanding was compounded by the lack of internal book preview feature before the purchase. The final chapter does offer some broad observations on data journalism practices, but it's not sustained or detailed.

Nevertheless, this is a beautiful coffee-table book in the style of David McCandless' data visualisations, e.g. Information is Beautiful (New Edition). It contains many of the high profile visualisations that have graced the pages of in recent years). Just don't come to this expecting to learn techniques and you won't be disappointed.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 February 2014
“Facts are Sacred” is really more about the rise of data-journalism rather than information per se. And Simon Rogers, the editor of the Guardian’s excellent Datablog is well placed to comment on this and is arguably at the forefront of the use of data in journalism.

The book, though, is a slightly strange and at times feels unfocussed and as if it is trying to do too much at one time. Yes, there are many nicely reproduced displays of information - some more effective than others and some easier to follow than others - and some are intriguing in their own right. However, also running through the book is Rogers’s manifesto for open data and the rise of data journalism. Often the text is well observed and interesting but it battles to hold the reader’s focus against the plethora of often random data that runs alongside.

To give one example from near the end of the book, there is a case study on the use of data journalism in covering hurricane Sandy. There’s interesting words on the challenges and how they were overcome, and some nice pictures and graphs of what happened. Throughout the book there are circular, what you might call “sidebars” of information. In this part of the book, one such info-circle tells how many people lost power in the aftermath of the storm (8.5 million, in case you were wondering). Another, on the same page though tells us how many Nobel Peace Prize winners were female (15, since you ask). And this is the problem - in this instance, if the circles are going to be unrelated to the text then fine - but why have half that are and half that aren’t. It makes no sense and the problem is that this rather strengthens the feeling that some data presentations are just data for the sake of data rather than really providing illumination.

If you are, or want to be, a journalist, then this is a must read. For the rest of us, it’s less compelling. At times the writing is spot on and really worth reading, but at others, less so. It seems that it cannot make up its mind if the data is or is not integrated with the text and the end result is slightly disappointing.

This is one of those three and a half star books that left me slightly disappointed but still glad to have read it.
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on 9 April 2014
How to bring clarity to chaos, with beautiful presentation. For journalists who want to delve deeper into the enormous wealth of data now available online, and tell compelling stories from it, this is inspirational.
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on 25 April 2013
Good book with lots of detail to take in, will probably be one of those books that will take me a couple of reads for it to sink in. Using it in real life at work will be the true test!
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on 27 January 2016
Great Book , Best Egyptian Regards
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on 17 August 2013
Need this book in my life, finally got it after seeing it at the Tate Modern. This book is great for the creative who cant visualise numbers and facts , great use of colour, charts and diagrams.
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on 28 April 2013
This is a beautiful book with stunning visuals. Easy to read this is a perfect buy for anyone interested in this expanding area of journalism and the impact it has on our everyday lives.
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on 27 May 2013
A worthwhile read but very much conceptual without much time spent exploring the specifics of data journalism. Good examples of its influence in modern society but little as to how it could or should be improved or how we can play a part.
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on 16 July 2013
Interesting but not technical.

It explains some of the most important events in the last couple of years.

Good read
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