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This review is from: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (Hardcover)
We have all seen them in presentations: illegible graphs, gaudy tables and lousy ClipArt. As the number of Powerpoint graphics options on explode with every new release of MS Office, the profusion of colours and shapes that populate presentations becomes even more bizzare. Thank goodness Edward Tufte sorts through all the mess to remind readers--perhaps some of them consultants--that graphs should communicate data with economy. No need for additional 3D effects. No gratuitously vulgar primary colours. Just plain communication.
The book is fairly straightforward. Tufte gives a short overview of the theory of graphical presentation. He then uses numerous examples (from the 18th century up to the twentieth century) to demonstrate the principles of good visual communication. He also shows how graphs (in the New York Times, in company annual reports etc) are deliberately distorted to give wrong information to the reader.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'The Visual Display of Quantitative Information'. I will be putting to practice its recommendation on the use of scatter plots in my next presentation. If you regularly present visual information in graphs, tables or figures for reports or as part of oral presentations, I recommend Impact by Jon Moon as well as Tufte's 'The Visual Display of Quantitative Information'. These books will repay close reading and practice of the principles of compelling visual presentations.