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Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals Paperback – 20 Nov 2015
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This book is excellent value for money and recommended reading for Business Analysts and Project/Programme managers or anyone who finds they struggle to achieve the impact they hope for when attempting to communicate their reasoning and analysis. (BCS, February 2016)
From the Back Cover
praise for storytelling with data
"Storytelling with Data is a superbly written, masterful display of rare art in the business world. Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic possesses a unique ability a gift in telling a story through data. At JPMorgan Chase, she has helped improve our capabilities to explain complicated analysis to executive management and the regulators with whom we work. Cole′s book brings her talents together in an easy–to–read guide with excellent examples that anyone can learn from to encourage smarter decision–making."
Mark R. Hillis, Chief Risk Officer of Mortgage Banking at JPM Chase
"We have so much data that it can be hard to get people to pay attention to our critical findings. Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic taught us valuable lessons in her workshop and it is fantastic to see these expanded upon in Storytelling with Data. My team is already using the lessons Cole teaches to move people to action as they see new pearls of understanding and make a difference in the lives of others. Now others can, too!"
Eleanor Bell, Director of Business Analytics at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
"There is something lovely about being consistent with your own teachings. Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic accomplishes that with her first book. She is an advocate for clarity and concision in visualization, and her book is as clear, concise, and practical as it gets. If you are a beginner in visualization, or if you struggle to produce good charts in your everyday job with tools like Excel, Tableau, Qlik, and the like, this is a great place to start learning the core principles."
Alberto Cairo, Knight Chair in Visual Journalism and Professor of Visualization at the University of Miami, and author of The Functional Art
"Data slides are not really about the data, they are about the meaning of the data. Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic understands this and has written a straightforward, accessible guide that will help anyone who communicates with data connect more effectively with their audience."
Nancy Duarte, CEO at Duarte, Inc. and bestselling author
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What Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic provides in this volume is an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that can help almost anyone to master the skills needed, in Knaflic's words, “to visualize data and tell stories with it” in order to turn the data “into information that can be used to drive better decision making.”
These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Knaflic’s coverage:
o Thinking like a designer (Pages 15-16 and 127-150)
o Importance of context (19-33)
o Selecting visuals that will be effective (35-69)
o Graphs (43-49)
o Bar charts (50-59, 156-158, 161-162, and 236-237)
o Visuals to avoid (61-68)
o Voiding clutter (71-98)
o Gestalt Principles of Visual Perception (74-81)
o Lack of visual order (81-86)
o Focusing on an audience’s attention (99-126)
o Preattentive attributes (102-116)
o Affordances (128-138)
o Hierarchy of Information (135-138)
o Accessibility (138-145)
o Storytelling (165-185)
o Storytelling with data process (187-205 and 242-255)
o Case Study 2: Leveraging animation in the visuals you present (210-218)
o Case Study 4: Strategies for avoiding the spaghetti graph (227-234)
I agree with Knaflic: “There is a story in your data. But your tools don’t know what that story is. That’s where it takes you — the analyst or commentator of the information — to bring that stay visually and contextually to life. That process is the focus of this book.”
These are the specific learning objectives on which she focuses, each preceded by “How to….”
o Understand the context in which the story is presented
o Select an appropriate visual display of the data
o Eliminate clutter
o Focus attention where it is most needed
o Think like a designer
o Tell the story (setting. characters, plot, conflicts, resolution, etc.)
Presumably Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic agrees with me that the most effective storytellers are aware of an unspoken question that every member of the given audience has in mind: “Why should I care?” or perhaps “What’s in it for me?” The story format will help to engage their interest but there must also be substantive support of the message. That’s where the data component is decisive, for better or worse. If you need help with creating visualizations “that are thoughtfully designed to impart information and incite action,” look no further.
It would get 5 stars from me if there was an appendix with more detail on exactly how to produce some of the graphs shown in excel but the book fulfills its purpose in describing what is to be done and encouraging the reader to get to know their tools to achieve what they need
The examples in this book will help you communicate you insight more effectively and you will never create an excel default graph again!
For those with a nascent interest in Data Visualisation this is THE place to start.
I would definitely suggest this book to anyone who is in training and/or in a business that have regular board meetings and presentations.
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