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Information is Beautiful Hardcover – February 4, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (February 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007294662
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007294664
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.1 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #435,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David McCandless is an award-winning writer, journalist, and copywriter. He has written for The Guardian, the Independent, Maxim, Stuff, and Wired; and has won two Webby awards.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Atma Singh on November 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Please be aware that this book is exactly the same as The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World's Most Consequential Trivia. Do not buy both, or you'll end up returning one of the two, as I'm going to do now.
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By David Cain on June 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm fortunate to have attended Edward Tufte's great lecture on the visual presentation of statistical information, and so I approach any chart as a skeptic.

First off, this IS the same book as The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World's Most Consequential Trivia - you don't need to buy both.

The positive:

Elegantly designed, beautifully presented graphics, satisfies Tufte's first rule: "have a compelling story to tell with your data" (bad paraphrase, I'm sure). My book has NONE of the defects other reviewers describe (ink splats in EU version, no labels on some charts in US version).

The negative:

any reader who spends a little time with a ruler and a calculator analyzing the "Billion Dollar-o-gram" (p. 10) will wonder how many of the other charts in the book are fabrications. Seriously. $300 Billion isn't anything like 4.5 x $97 Billion, yet that's what the comparative areas in this chart suggest. What kills me is that the chart would've been just as interesting and MORE compelling if it was accurate. There's off-the-shelf treemap software that will generate such a diagram automatically AND accurately.

I had my questions about the validity of some of the charts my first time through, but other Amazon reviewers' questioning of their accuracy in The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World's Most Consequential Trivia made me look for myself.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Helen Reynolds on February 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I like the title `Information is Beautiful'best because it says clearly what I love about this book. McCandless has transformed information in the form of number data into beautiful graphics. The information can become instantly more powerful by many orders. (I say can because not all the graphics are equally powerful).
There is a wonderful almost recursive aspect to this work- the world we perceive is shaped by `invisible' streams of stuff that can be converted to data and analysed. The abstractive power of numerical analysis allows us to discover lots of exciting new information about the world, but for so many people in the world, numbers and even graphs are a foreign language. Even for those of us who can `speak' numbers will not (cannot!) always put in the effort to work through every set of numbers we come across.
What McCandless has succeeded in doing is taking some of the analysis that has gone on (and one can quibble with that analysis behind some graphics, but that is not really the point) and translating it back into the way we like to perceive the world - visually - so that we instantly see the abstractive power of that analysis, most of it really engagingly set out in colors and forms that are clear and bright.
An example of this power is the graphic called `Life Times; how will you spend your 77.8 years?'.(See user images) I was already really familiar with the statistics of the time the average person spends watching television but when I SAW the relative size of that circle, I stopped watching television that same day and have hardly watched since.
The choice of information that this book works through also functions as a fascinating insight into the author working to make sense of the world he lives in.
The cases where the graphics do not work very well are where the information has not been truly `translated' from numbers to visuals; rather picture icons have been stuck onto standard graphs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Allen_TX_Reviewer on March 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Got this in my Reading Room. Great, great book. Full of fun, thought-provoking graphics.
Some of my favorites:

p.100 - Moral Matrix - I choose to be "Modern - New Age"
p.242 - Making a Book - This seems _very_ similar to my company's software development programs
p.156 - Types of Coffee - Why can't Starbucks make me a Granita con Panna ?
p.151 - Body By - HaHaHa!!
p.134 - Dangers of Death - I'm still trying to map this onto my activities list

_Buy_This_Book_
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Taodanfu on September 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is really cool and it opens your mind up to new possibilities for presenting information in dynamic ways. Not only was it an interesting read, I think I'll actually incorporate the presentation styles into presentations I do for work. The only complaint I had was that a lot of the data was pretty sketchy at best. If you read the footnotes about where financial and environmental data was derived from, you'll see that, in several cases, it might not stand up to scrutiny.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Babak Soleimani on January 14, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book for those who want to attain a general idea on data visualization. For those of you who are skeptical between this book and the Visual Miscellaneum I would definitely suggest you to buy this one. It almost covers all the Visual Miscellaneum drawings and also has a lot more pictures.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
book was in worse condition than listed. There was a chunk missing from the spine. It also took more than the maximum shipping time listed. I needed this book for a project and it was several weeks behind the maximum arrival date. I had been looking at this book for years, I was so disappointed that when I finally bought it, this is the copy I am stuck with.
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