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The Visual Display of Quantitative Information [Hardcover]

Edward R. Tufte
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 2001 0961392142 978-0961392147 2nd
The classic book on statistical graphics, charts, tables. Theory and practice in the design of data graphics, 250 illustrations of the best (and a few of the worst) statistical graphics, with detailed analysis of how to display data for precise, effective, quick analysis. Design of the high-resolution displays, small multiples. Editing and improving graphics. The data-ink ratio. Time-series, relational graphics, data maps, multivariate designs. Detection of graphical deception: design variation vs. data variation. Sources of deception. Aesthetics and data graphical displays. This is the second edition of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Recently published, this new edition provides excellent color reproductions of the many graphics of William Playfair, adds color to other images, and includes all the changes and corrections accumulated during 17 printings of the first edition.

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The Visual Display of Quantitative Information + Envisioning Information + Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative
Price for all three: $107.42

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Graphics Pr; 2nd edition (May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0961392142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0961392147
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
264 of 275 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1st edition compared to 2nd March 1, 2002
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Years ago, I purchased the first edition of VISUAL DISPLAY OF QUANTITATIVE INFORMATION. The second edition provides high-resolution color reproductions of the several graphics found in the first edition. In addition, corrections were made. However, to most readers/users, I doubt that the changes would be worthy of purchasing the second edition if one already owns the first edition.
Edward R. Tufte is a noteworthy scholar and the presentation of the material presented in this book is awe-inspiring. Tufte has also compiled two other books that can be best described as quite remarkable. These additional books are entitled, ENVISIONING INFORMATION and VISUAL EXPLANATIONS. All three of these volumes are not merely supplemental textbooks; they are works of art.
My intent was to use VISUAL DISPLAY OF QUANTITATIVE INFORMATION as part of teaching my statistics course. Students, but mostly faculty, are overly impressed with inferential statistics. Graphics play an important role in the understanding and interpretation of statistical findings. Tufte makes this point unambiguously clear in his books.
Two features of VISUAL DISPLAY OF QUANTITATIVE INFORMATION are particularly salient in teaching a statistics course. First, the concept of normal distribution is wonderfully illustrated on page 140. Here the reader is reinforced with the notion that in the normal course of human events, cultural/social/behavioral/ psychological phenomena usually fall into the shape of a normal distribution. The constant appearance of this distribution borders on miraculous. Just as importantly, it is the basis for accurate predications in all areas of science. Tufte's illustration (page 140) speaks to this issue much more clearly than a one-hour lecture on the importance of the normal distribution.
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266 of 280 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings November 27, 2007
By hunger
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book.

As a graphic designer and a minimalist, I love the way this book looks and I love the graphics Tufte's team has created.

Yet, the minimalist in me also dislikes Tufte's prose, which is surprisingly un-minimalist. The text is repetitive, and although Tufte does use this effectively at times to reiterate or summarize concepts, there are far more instances where I feel the repetition is simply irritating (Tufte's poems and block-quote summaries are, to me, good examples of this).

The minimalist in me is also not fond of the nature in which Tufte presents his opinions. Tufte makes frequent use of words like "lies" and "tricks," and while I am not fond of the targets of Tufte's derision, I feel that use of these words unnecessarily and unfairly assumes that poor graphs are always the result of malicious intent. Tufte's presentation as a whole, I feel, is often unnecessarily condescending (see e.g., p 120); indeed, Tufte seems to feel that unenlightened minds somehow deserve our ridicule and contempt.

As an academically oriented statistician, I also have mixed feelings. I give Tufte an immense amount of credit for opening a dialog about statistical graphics. And, I am grateful to him for pointing out the flaws and "wrongs" in the ways in which statistics are so often presented and suggesting ways in which these approaches can be changed. Moreover, I happen to agree tremendously with a large amount of what Tufte has to say, and often passionately so.

That said, I am puzzled by the amount of relevant concepts which are omitted from this text (or merely brushed over).
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly thought provoking September 24, 2001
I divide my graphics work into two categories: BT (Before Tufte) and AT (After Tufte). I rarely acknowledge any involvement of a publication from those dark BT days.
Tufte's masterful and dead-on takes about how to communicate statistical and quantitative data challenges standard assumptions about developing graphical information and reveals, though it is not his stated intention, the weakness of so many graphics software packages. Just look at his collection of chartjunk and "ducks" (his term for hideous graphics) to see how all the whistles and bells available to us via computer graphics programs actually obfuscate the interpretation of visual information. By the time you read how much ink and paper are wasted by created bad graphics, you should be a convert.
And if you are ever lucky enough to have the chance to attend one of Tufte's seminars, pawn your PC if that's what it takes.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Will Change Your Thinking May 22, 2001
Are you put to sleep by briefings on a regular basis? Do they become more colorful and simplified as the intended audience rises in your company hirearchy? Do you feel that you are being talked down to by a lot of fluff that could be condensed by a factor of say, a million? If your answers are "yes," but you cannot provide a good alternative, then this is the book for you. It changes the way you look at data. Through numerous examples, Tufte demonstrates how to rearrange and simplify tabulated lists, schedules, graphs, diagrams and maps in a way that elegantly reveals otherwise hidden relationships and patterns. I have applied his techniques to my own briefings as well as to vacation itineraries, meeting notes, and to do lists. But be forewarned. I have touted this book to my peers and managers and of the four people who have read the book none have had the epiphany I experienced. This book may be only for those who are fed up enough to change.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Statistics + Visuals = this book
If any aspect of your job is faithfully representing statistical data, this author produced the seminal works. Read more
Published 1 month ago by CharlesLaHeist
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good resource
This book helps you think through how to set up your graphics and other visual displays in your document. Wasn't definitive for my work but was good background knowledge to have.
Published 2 months ago by Kimi
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome!
this book was recommended to me by The Happiness Project. what a find! excellent reading, even if you are not into mathematics, but the pictures are wonderful.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift purchase
I give this a 5 star because the person i bought it for almost cried out of joy when he opened it. I thumbed through it, and almost immediately fell asleep. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Melanie Whalen
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite
As a prologomena to the visual arts, this book cannot be underestimated. Anyone, especially in the age of instant information, who posts graphics to support an argument, should... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Daniel Herkes
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy it if you what to have the trilogy...
Depending on your training and experience, Professor Tufte's books will be more or less useful. In all, I find he has a penchant for overstatement. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Glenn E. White
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacks a clear thesis
The author boasts that he insisted that the book would be self-published, presumably in order to avoid the meddling of the publisher's experts: editors and graphic designers. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mike Conturo
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent
This book is beloved by everyone I know who must communicate complex information to non-technical audiences. Definitely worth keeping at hand.
Published 6 months ago by Nosson Lord
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book for graphic design careers
Excellent book by one of the "Gurus" of the topic. Son very glad to get this book to increase his knowledge of his chosen field of computer graphic design
Published 6 months ago by Juliet Vincent-Daniel
5.0 out of 5 stars i liked it.
the '1984' of charts? okay not really, but its some illuminating s***; its an amazing text that can turn what you might have thought of as one of the dullest most banal subjects in... Read more
Published 6 months ago by 742
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