Top positive review
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Stunning data infographics
on 29 May 2013
It's quite hard to write a review that does this book (or should it be tome?) justice. It's big, beautiful and stunning. If you're interested in visual communication, and how to illustrate data in graphical form, then this book is for you.
It's a huge book - this isn't one for bedtime reading. The first part of the book is printed on smaller width paper and features essays by Richard Saul Wurman, Simon Rogers and Paolo Ciuccarelli - all look at data in some shape or form, be it understanding data, how data changes journalism, or turning data and visualisations into stories. All the essays are insightful - for me, the most interesting one was Rogers' essay (as a former journalist, I was very intrigued by what he had to say on data and modern journalism). The essays are in English, French and German.
The bulk of the book is dedicated to all manner of infographics and data visualisations. It's split into four categories - Location, Time, Category and Hierarchy. There is barely a subject that isn't covered - hunting whales, choosing a typeface, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Biofuels, City Waste Management, Fraud, Governments, Tax, Sports, Swine Flu - the list is endless. Some graphics are accompanied by explanation text, while others are granted a short caption. These are the types of illustrations you're likely to see in everyday life (news/broadcasting websites, consumer websites, global brand websites etc) as opposed to academic text books.
A lot of credit needs to go to the publishers and the team that put this book together - it must have been a labour of love. You cannot fail to be inspired by the contents. If I have two criticisms, it's that (first) many of the graphics have been reproduced over double page spreads, and because of the spine of the book, it makes it very difficult to read them. And (second) some of the diagrams are virtually impossible to read because the text is so small. These minor flaws don't detract from what is an excellent book.