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The Grammar of Graphics (Statistics and Computing) 2nd Edition

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0387245447
ISBN-10: 0387245448
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Editorial Reviews


From the reviews of the second edition:

"This fascinating book deconstructs the process of producing graphics and in doing so raises many fascinating questions on the nature and representation of information...This second edition is almost twice the size of the original, with six new chapters and substantial revisions." Short Book Reviews of the International Statistical Institute,  December 2005

"When the first edidtion of this book appeared in 2000 it was  much praised. I called it a tour de force of the highest order. (Wainer, 2001), Edward Wegman (2000) argued that it was destined to become a classic. Now, six years later this very fine book has been much improved." Howard Wainer for Psychometrika

"...The second edition is an impressive expansion beyond a quite remarkable first edition. The text remains dense and even more encyclopedic, but it is a pleasure to read, whether a novice or an expert in graphics...this book is a bargain...The second edition is a must-have volume for anyone interested in graphics." Thomas E. Bradstreet for the Journal of the American Statistical Association, December 2006

"I find myself still thinking about the book and its ideas, several weeks after I finished reading it. I love that kind of book." Mark Bailey for Techometrics, Vol. 49, No. 1, February 2007

"Warts and all, The Grammar of Graphics is a richly rewarding work, an outstanding achievement by one of the leaders of statistical graphics. Seek it out."  Nicholas J. Cox for the Journal of Statistical Software, January 2007

"The second edition is a quite fascinating book as well, and it comes with many color graphics. Anyone working in this field can see how many hours the author (plus coworkers) has spent on such a volume. … Demands for good graphics are high and this book will help to wetten the appetite to create future computer packages that will meet this demand. An occasional reader will get insights into a modern world of computing … ." (Wolfgang Polasek, Statistical Papers, Vol. 48, 2007)

From the Back Cover

This book was written for statisticians, computer scientists, geographers, researchers, and others interested in visualizing data. It presents a unique foundation for producing almost every quantitative graphic found in scientific journals, newspapers, statistical packages, and data visualization systems. While the tangible results of this work have been several visualization software libraries, this book focuses on the deep structures involved in producing quantitative graphics from data. What are the rules that underlie the production of pie charts, bar charts, scatterplots, function plots, maps, mosaics, and radar charts? Those less interested in the theoretical and mathematical foundations can still get a sense of the richness and structure of the system by examining the numerous and often unique color graphics it can produce. The second edition is almost twice the size of the original, with six new chapters and substantial revision. Much of the added material makes this book suitable for survey courses in visualization and statistical graphics.

From reviews of the first edition:

"Destined to become a landmark in statistical graphics, this book provides a formal description of graphics, particularly static graphics, playing much the same role for graphics as probability theory played for statistics."

Journal of the American Statistical Association

"Wilkinson’s careful scholarship shows around every corner. This is a tour de force of the highest order."


"All geography and map libraries should add this book to their collections; the serious scholar of quantitative data graphics will place this book on the same shelf with those by Edward Tufte, and volumes by Cleveland, Bertin, Monmonier, MacEachren, among others, and continue the unending task of proselytizing for the best in statistical data presentation by example and through scholarship like that of Leland Wilkinson."

Cartographic Perspectives

"In summary, this is certainly a remarkable book and a new ambitious step for the development and application of statistical graphics."

Computational Statistics and Data Analysis

About the author:

Leland Wilkinson is Senior VP, SPSS Inc. and Adjunct Professor of Statistics at Northwestern University. He is also affiliated with the Computer Science department at The University of Illinois at Chicago. He wrote the SYSTAT statistical package and founded SYSTAT Inc. in 1984. Wilkinson joined SPSS in a 1994 acquisition and now works on research and development of visual analytics and statistics. He is a Fellow of the ASA. In addition to journal articles and the original SYSTAT computer program and manuals, Wilkinson is the author (with Grant Blank and Chris Gruber) of Desktop Data Analysis with SYSTAT.




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Product Details

  • Series: Statistics and Computing
  • Hardcover: 691 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2nd edition (July 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387245448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387245447
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #367,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Keith McCormick on January 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an unusual book. It should be of interest to those who have to display data in graphic form, but it is not a typical book of that kind. A subset of those who enjoy Tufte (The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2nd edition) or Cleveland (The Elements of Graphing Data, Visualizing Data) will also enjoy this. This book does not attempt to coach you on how to make good graphics, but if that is your goal it attacks a related, important aspect: rules that connect the data and the graphic. Obviously then, it might be of great interest to computer scientists and theoreticians. The grammar described in the book is also object oriented in design which helps to make the code quite elegant. In my instance, I am a "power-user" of the SPSS statistics software package, and the ideas in this book have been partially implemented in SPSS since around 2005 (Version 14.0). This is absolutely not a user's guide or a how-to manual for using SPSS. If, however, you already have a working knowledge of the latest SPSS graphics and its related programming language then this book will put that whole approach in context, and massively increase your understanding of the technology "behind the scenes". Many technical audiences might benefit regardless of their using or not using SPSS Statistics.Read more ›
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Raphael D. Mazor on August 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I boought this book because I am getting increasingly interested in data visualization. I've played around with ggplot2, and went to Edward Tufte's seminars, and eventually found my way to this book.

As the other reviewers mention, this is NOT a how-to book. It's a much deeper, fundamnetal treatment of how data and graphics connect, and how we represent them. So, it's not as much a "useful" book, except insofar as it changes the way you put together your next graph.

This book crystalized a lot of concepts I already understood, though only vaguely and intuitively. Like, a legend and an an axis are really the same thing, and that a stacked bar and a pie chart are identical except for the coordinate system used.

It's quite a dense slog to read this book, so I recommend you pick it up and read a few pages here and there, and follow through on the issues that catch your interest.

It's not for everyone, but I suspect it could make anyone communicate better through graphs.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Weiss on January 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most of what other reviewers say has factual accuracy. But first I must say that the "subset" of people who enjoy CLEVELAND (WILLIAM S.)'s works will enjoy the Grammar of Graphics book.

Sorry, but people who enjoy TUFTE are not potential candidates for this book because Tufte has way too little to say about graphics (despite his books, lectures, which ultimately are about $$$ for Tufte). Tufte's main thing is his admonition "don't do chart junk" followed by his second favorite thing: join with him and disparage the "cognitive style" of PowerPoint. The former is true, but is not terribly subtle. As for the second, the tool of PowerPoint need not be used in the boring "cognitive style" with bullets and "branding". I for one have made plenty of PowerPoint presentations totally unlike these.

The summary of "subset"s of folks: William S. Cleveland followers: yes, you'll love this book; those who mistake Tufte for the ultimate graphical guru probably will find this book "too much". Note that the author of the Grammar of Graphics book literally says how Cleveland wins the citations contest in his book. No surprise, because Cleveland has made many creative developments for statistical graphics and has also studied graphical perception. (As just ONE of a myriad of examples: residuals are very badly "mis-read" by our perception when there is a steeply sloped curve; residual in y- direction may be very large, but we see only a very much shorter perpendicular distance.)

(Finally, in fairness, Tufte has had two good ideas -- but only two compared to Cleveland's several dozen.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephen D Herbert on December 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a standard text. Excellent
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11 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is closely related with the upcoming new book "ggplot2" by Hadley Wickham. "ggplot2" is an R package for producing elegant graphics based on the Grammar of Graphics.
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