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Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten Second Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
In addition to the design coverage, Few covers some (very) basic statisics, how to adjust for inflation, rgb values of a nice selection of colors to use in graphs, how to make box graphs in Excel, and many other workaday details that make the book immediately useful. Most of the charts in the book are made in Excel, showing that you don't need advanced design software to make attractive, clear charts.
The book itself is a beautiful large hardback. This is the source of my one complaint: its large size makes it somewhat difficult to just pop off the shelf and flip through to find something.
If you want to learn how to design good tables and graphs, get it.
My field is organisational performance measurement, and I've seen countless examples of performance reports that truly suck. They are ugly, they are cumbersome, the data is misrepresented and awkwardly displayed. It's near impossible to draw conclusions, and even more impossible to draw valid conclusions about what performance is doing, and why. How can you make wise business decisions with information fodder so poor?
So Stephen's book is a gold mine of sensible statistical basics to help us all - novices and experienced practitioners alike - to improve the way we design and use tables and graphs to highlight relationships and patterns in data like comparisons, trends and correlations.
One of my favourite parts of the book is in chapter 7, "General Design for Communication", where Stephen lays out a wonderful framework for how text can be used to assist tables and graphs to tell the story of the data. This framework is a wonderful checklist for how to design the content of a performance report that can highlight, interpret, explain and recommend responses to signals in our performance measures.
Cindi Howson, Successful Business Intelligence: Secrets to Making BI a Killer App
 learning the most important takeaways from the charts
 making decisions based on data
This book opens your eyes to learn how to create a truly useful chart instead of presenting data merely for eye candy. Thanks Stephen Few!
While the dashboards book, Information Dashboard Design: Displaying Data for At-a-Glance Monitoring, is focused on at-a-glance dashboards, Show Me the Numbers is more broadly focused and goes into extreme depth on both table and graph design. Like the dashboards book, Show Me the Numbers begins by laying a foundation with the science on how our brains perceive visual information, then builds its design principles on that foundation. Mr. Few is widely cited (or disparaged) as "the cranky guy that hates pie charts". But his criticism of pie charts (and other poor visualization practices) is grounded in the science of visual perception, not his personal taste in visualizations.
A 371-page book may sound kind of scary, but it is broken down into fourteen chapters that can be easily digested. Mr. Few's writing style is clear and easy to understand, although if you're like me you'll put the book down at the end of each chapter so you can think. The book is tool agnostic, so even if your primary tool is Microsoft Excel you'll benefit from reading it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
one of the best books i have read- a final note to the gray book reviewers- this is a great book, and "i don't care" what you are trying to show me, this book, show me the... Read morePublished 1 day ago by graywar3
At first I loved this book. I felt like I was getting the hard fast rules of Data Viz in no uncertain terms. About 2/3 of the way through I hated this book. Read morePublished 8 days ago by gf
If you make charts and have some time you should read this. So many great design principles. I took my entire team through this book!Published 11 days ago by dodiggitydag
This book is well written. From the introduction to the closing chapter. I've not completed all the readings, but his other book is consistent. It is a great book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
If you are over 50, never been exposed to Lotus 1-2-3 or basic Excel charts, wonder what a bar chart is and have nothing better to do, then this book might be for you. Read morePublished 3 months ago by J. Fdez Perdiz
I have been a fan of techniques for improving visual information and information design starting with the Tufte book in 1983. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Stephen Boane
Excellent discussion and review of the presentation of numerical data. Definitely an inspiration for future data depiction.Published 7 months ago by John Ciprus