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Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis Hardcover – April 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 329 pages
  • Publisher: Analytics Press; 1st edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970601980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970601988
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen Few is the author of Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten, Second Edition (2012), Information Dashboard Design: Displaying Data for At-a-Glance Monitoring, Second Edition (2013), and Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis (2009). Stephen is recognized as a world leader in the field of data visualization and he has worked for 30 years as an information technology innovator, educator, and consultant. As the principal of the consultancy Perceptual Edge, he focuses on practical uses of data visualization to explore, analyze, and present quantitative information.

More About the Author

Stephen Few is on a mission to help organizations squeeze real value from the mounds of data that surround and threaten to bury them. Through his consultancy Perceptual Edge, Stephen teaches simple, clear, and practical data visualization techniques for analyzing and presenting quantitative information. He teaches, speaks, and consults internationally with organizations of all types and writes the quarterly Visual Business Intelligence Newsletter. He is also the author of three popular books: Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten, Second Edition, Information Dashboard Design: Displaying data for at-a-glance monitoring, Second Edition, and Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis. You can learn more about his work at www.perceptualedge.com.

Customer Reviews

The example data sets are easy to understand and the lessons of good design seem to pop up from the surface of the pages.
Ben Shneiderman
I feel I have a much better understanding of how to make good visualizations after reading this book, and am really excited about the possibilities.
JR
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is either involved with data or designing software for data analysis or visualization.
Anthony J. Rose

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

135 of 140 people found the following review helpful By Rich Johnson on June 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Now You See It" is the latest book by author Stephen Few. The description says this book is a companion to "Show Me The Numbers," which is a favorite book of mine. "Show Me The Numbers" is about building charts and tables that will help you show others what you see in your data. "Now You See It" is about helping you to find new ways to display your data for your own analysis. Before you can show others your data you need to understand it yourself, and that's where this book fits in.

Creating charts is front and center as the focus of this book. "Show Me The Numbers" focused on charts and tables that could be built with simple tools such as Excel. Now You See It shows you the types of analysis you can do when you employee more advanced software such as Tableau and R. Some of the illustrations are really cool to look at and inspirational, even if I will never have the tools or time to prepare my own version of them.

"Now You See It" is broken up into 3 sections:

In Part 1 - Building Core Skills for Visual Analysis. Stephen Few covers the history of information visualization, the basics of analysis, and how we perceive data. There is some overlap with "Show Me The Numbers," but it's only one chapter, and not a deal breaker for me. I found the history of information visualization chapter interesting, and I imagine that in 50-100 years there are going to be new kinds of visualization methods available that we haven't even thought of yet.

In chapter 4, Analytical Interaction and Navigation, the author covers the role of good software in the data analysis process. He lists a few requirements that good software should have, and in many cases popular software such as Excel fall short.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Georgette Asherman on November 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stephen Few has put together a book that is useful as a reference but readable as well. I heard him speak at a conference and really think he has hit the mark. The book is accessible without being shallow. He gives worthwhile examples of how to combine the features of the software with good graphing techniques. As someone who has worked with many of the techniques, he provides a reason for what I did intuitively. This is invaluable for both displaying findings and training subject experts to analyze their data.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jock D Mackinlay on July 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As someone who's done over two decades of research and development on visualization technology, I highly recommend "Now You See It" for everybody - novice to expert. Stephen Few explains visual analysis clearly and conversationally. His examples are accessible, appropriate, and beautiful.

The book is well-structured. Part I focuses on core concepts, principles, and practices. It prepares the general reader for Part II, which focuses on more technical material involving specific types of analysis (time-series, deviation, correlation, etc). Part II contains practical advice that will help everyone become better at visual analysis.

I particularly like the recommendations Stephen Few has included for visual analysis techniques that should be supported by commercial systems that are helping us work with data. After all, computers are now automatically collecting data. This book teaches us how to use this data to inform our individual work and to enhance our communication with each other. I believe these are key skills that will help us improve our modern, complex world.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ben Shneiderman on June 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Clarity and calm are great virtues in making difficult problems seem easy. Stephen Few offers an abundance of these virtues in his book, Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis. He methodically guides readers from example to example in an orderly journey made even more tranquil by his gentle personal style of writing. The "I", "you", and "we" phrasing make for easy reading, even as the information visualization concepts get progressively more complex and potent.

The example data sets are easy to understand and the lessons of good design seem to pop up from the surface of the pages. Color is used cautiously and appropriately, with no wasteful distractions. The clean designs show respect for Tufte's data-to-ink ratio.

As early as 1965, statistician John Tukey recognized that one of the great payoffs of interactive computing was the potential for exploratory data analysis. Stephen Few reiterates Tukey's vision and then fulfills it by showing that good graphical representations "pave the way to analytical insight." Few has a potent advantage in that modern software tools enable him to show off the good and bad approaches for each concept. Successful commercial tools like Spotfire and Tableau are put to work repeatedly, while university research projects show up where appropriate. Over all, Few lays out the territory and gives us a grand tour.

Few closes with this declaration: "I love information, in part for the understanding that it offers...Mostly, though, I love it for what I can do with it to leave the world a little better off than I found it." Few proudly presents this noble aspiration to his readers in a compelling way; now it's up to us to realize this goal through the emerging discipline of information visualization.
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