Displaying data clearly is so important, but how many times have we seen charts and tables that we can't make head nor tail of? Written mainly from the perspective of presenting health-related information, the chapters are illustrated with scores of useful examples. The book will be of use to students and researchers on health-related courses, as well as statisticians and information analysts. I've added it to my course reading lists and will be recommending it to students and colleagues. It's written very clearly with no scary formulae or stats speak. This book leaves us with little excuse to continue presenting poor graphs and tables.
The "How to......" series from BMJ books published by Blackwell, who of course are now Wiley Blackwell are an excellent set of books with a common style and a uniform format. As such many comments and observations are applicable across the range. First and foremost these books are nearly all the same handy size, each a different colour and look good on the shelf.
With the exception of the front cover these books are a world of black and white, even the boxes of importance are a sparkling shade of grey! We are all too aware of the global thought in relation to colour publications: The rainbow is in!!
This book offers the most excitement and is abound with promise. Would it offer up the secrets of the fabled complication free procedure with a 100% success rate? (i.e.: would it teach me how to lie and deceive?) Sadly not, but it did divulge the secrets of scatter plots, regression analysis, ROC and spider plots along with a few other methods of data display which quite honestly sounded like Caribbean cocktails such as Lowess smoothing and Box-whisker plots! Fortunately this book kicks off with the humble bar chart and progresses on with the invaluable aid of a plethora of examples and diagrams. Each of the nine chapters has a concluding summary and a reference list at the end but there is no denying that for a non academic, this is hard work and undoubtedly falls into the "one chapter at a time" category. A valuable book, but certainly not a joy.
Reviewer: Ian Pearce, Consultant Urological Surgeon.