- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Collins; UK ed. edition (6 Dec. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007492898
- ISBN-13: 978-0007492893
- Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 2.7 x 25.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 307 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Information is Beautiful (New Edition) Hardcover – 6 Dec 2012
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‘Unbelievably brilliant’ – Vogue
‘(a) terrific compendium of visual information’ – Shortlist
‘thought-provoking, lovingly crafted and informative; a handsome book that anyone would be grateful to receive’ – The Independent on Sunday
‘In this intriguing book, David McCandless presents a cavalcade of compelling and colourful graphics, each one innovative in its attempt to offer a new perspective on some of our most pervasive twenty-first century obsessions’ – Time Out
‘Stunning’ – The Sunday Times
‘thought-provoking, lovingly-crafted and informative; a handsome book that anyone would be grateful to receive’ Picked as one of the best science books of the year in Arts & Books, Independent on Sunday
‘What David McCandless has done is genius… dry data is transformed into small pieces of pop art that engage so much you end up learning more, without realising it. The ideal encyclopaedia for the information age.' Red Handed
About the Author
David McCandless is an award-winning writer and journalist. His work has appeared in over 30 magazines in the UK and the US and all over the web. He currently works as creative consultant for Orange and the BBC and writes about the Internet, underground culture and ‘anything interesting’ for Wired and The Guardian.
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Some of them look 'pretty' but actually convey little information, or make the reader work hard for the insight, or generate confusion and ambiguity. Often unnecessarily.
So: treat it as a book of source material to discuss and consider and analyses, and you'll be absolutely fine. Treat it as a holy gospel handed down by the almightly via his representative on earth, and you - and your readership - will suffer.
The most serious fault that I can level at McCandless's "Information is Beautiful" is that is has almost single handedly given rise to the infographic obsession that means that you can hardly go online without encountering some designer's view of information that is all style and little substance. However, returning to McCandless's book shows how, when done with thought and insight, the graphic can add to the reader's understanding of the data. The book is one part modern art, one part geek-porn and several parts graphic design. It's not only interesting, but is indeed as beautiful as the title promises it to be.
When the book was first published, in 2009, many of the designs were seldom used - not most of them will be familiar and that threatens to minimise the importance of the book in the history of infographic design. Rather like HDR photography, a badly thought out infographic is dull and a bit cliche now, but when done properly, they really do get the message over. A picture is said to paint a thousand words, but a well-designed infographic can get over more than that. And this is full of them.
McCandless is good at sourcing the data. One slight concern though is that there is a fair bit that is sourced from Wikipedia - which is seldom the most reliable of sources on anything. With that caveat, this book is a modern design classic. It's beautiful, interesting, clever and thoughtful.
My working environment is characterised by massive spreadsheets where the prize seems to be to hide the information you need in a morass of data that you don't - what this book does is show that just because you have a lot of data in order to make sense of it you don't have to display all of it (never mind the quality feel the width approach) For example on Page 218 there is a display of whole has the worlds's oil - and who will have it in 2020 - now, instead of a big table you get a bubble diagram showing the relative sizes - and the point just leaps off the page that the Middle East will have a GREATER share of the world's oil in 2020 that it does today - now thats information and NOT data - one for the policy makers to mull over ?
And the book is full of them
Then try the one on Page 158/9 on Carbon production - again a table, even or ordered one does not give you the full difference - but put a picture on it and you see that the airline industry produces a huge amount
This book shows you many ways to present data - not all of them work for me - but oh it makes it more interesting that yet another line or bar graph - now if we could just use this in the civil service ..
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