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The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World's Most Consequential Trivia [Paperback]

David McCandless
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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The World In Graphs
View sample pages from The Visual Miscellaneum by David McCandless [PDF].

Book Description

November 10, 2009 0061748366 978-0061748363 1
The Visual Miscellaneum is a unique, groundbreaking look at the modern information age, helping readers make sense of the countless statistics and random facts that constantly bombard us. Using cutting edge graphs, charts, and illustrations, David McCandless creatively visualizes the world’s surprising relationships and compelling data, covering everything from the most pleasurable guilty pleasures to how long it takes different condiments to spoil to world maps of Internet search terms.

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The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World's Most Consequential Trivia + Infographics: The Power of Visual Storytelling
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Dangerous…to have on your desk if you have other work to get done….[T]he visuals will draw you in, and the sharpness of the questions some of them attempt to answer—and the efficiency with which they can communicate complex comparisons in a single page—will keep you hooked.” (Omnivoracious)

“For those drowning in the digital age’s information glut, Visual Miscellaneum, the new eye-popping book of infographics …makes the perfect antidote. … By turns alarming and humorous in its revelations, it’s a timely, if meandering, look at the state of our world.” (Coolhunting.com)

“...like a Harper’s Index that’s sprung to life....For a book that’s as much about the online universe as it is a product of it, The Visual Miscellaneum is surprisingly timeless....The Visual Miscellaneum is not only required reading, but a book that rewards any number of re-reads.” (EyeWeekly.com)

From the Back Cover

The Visual Miscellaneum is a unique, groundbreaking look at the modern information age, helping readers make sense of the countless statistics and random facts that constantly bombard us. Using cutting edge graphs, charts, and illustrations, David McCandless creatively visualizes the world's surprising relationships and compelling data, covering everything from the most pleasurable guilty pleasures to how long it takes different condiments to spoil to world maps of Internet search terms.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Design; 1 edition (November 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061748366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061748363
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,799 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
76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Needs an editor November 24, 2009
Format:Paperback
I love this book - creative and thought provoking - Thank you.
A few of the pages alone are worth the price of the book - political left vs political right, creationism vs evolutionism, nature vs nurture. Access to the web site for updates is a great idea.

Suggestion for author's consideration: please clean up the errors and omissions. This should be a five star book. For example: the visually beautiful and useful index excludes several pages of the book; Pages 60 to 65 are missing a number of details. As a result, the pages make no sense.
My advice to the reader - wait for a revised edition or hope that someone replaces the printer.
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160 of 176 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Full of examples on how NOT to present information. November 25, 2009
Format:Paperback
This book's charts are very pretty to look at, but the quantative approach in many of them was so bad and so confusing that for the first 50 pages I thought I was reading a spoof.

On page 10, an area representing $21B is larger than one representing $27B, and $60B looks to be about half of $230B. On pages 60 - 65 the charts have no labels whatsoever, and so there's literally no way to tell what they're trying to say: it's just six pages of colorful polygons. You'll find these kinds of blunders on almost every page; I've just chosen a few early examples.

I know it seems like I'm nit-picking, but for a book claiming in its subtitle to be some kind of statistical "guide," such flaws are fatal. If you're at all interested in examples of beautifully presented and accurate information, please read Beautiful Evidence or The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2nd edition instead.
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, but... December 2, 2009
Format:Paperback
As pointed out in other reviews and in comments on the Website [...], there are mistakes in this book that make you question the validity of many of the graphs. There are incorrect figures and scaling errors. For example, why does an area representing $60B look about half as large as one for $230B?

I want to make it very clear that the approach to visualize information this way is excellent, but the author seems to have given priority to artistic expression rather than accuracy.

Also, there are labels missing on several pages, due to a technical fault. ([...]) I would wait for a new edition with corrections.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars so sad November 21, 2009
Format:Paperback
This book has such incredible potential, and is quite fascinating, but they obviously rushed it without editing it properly. There are many graphics with missing text, thus rendering them totally meaningless. I'm returning mine, hoping they will do a second edition with corrections. So very sad. Also, it is NOT a hardcover. The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World's Most Consequential Trivia
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
On a cursory glance, The Visual Miscellaneum by David McCandless looks pretty good. The book covers a wide breath of topics and everything is very colourful. However, a more detailed inspection will reveal some serious errors in the visualizations the book contains.

Some of the data items within the information graphics have been intentionally left unlabeled. For example, "Sex Education" on page 62, presents a bar chart and the only entry that is labeled is Studio Art which has no students that are virgins. Having seen this chart before, the bar chart on page 62 emphasizes the original joke. In the introduction, McCandless asks "Can you make jokes in graphs?" Indeed you can, and this is a borderline ok example. However, the joke isn't clear if you haven't seen the original chart.

From here, it gets worse. The "Excuse Us: Reasons for Divorce" graphic on page 64 does not have any labels on any of the items in the graphic. Where is the actual content? Or are the data items intentionally left unlabeled?

Similarly, in the "Salad Dressings: All in proportion" graphic on page 118, why aren't the individual dressings labeled? On the previous page, with "The Poison" and "The Remedy", the drinks are labeled, so therefore I would expect the salad dressings on the following page to labeled as well (especially since the graphic design of these pages are so similar). However, this is not the case.

In general, it seems like there are more than a few labeling issues in the graphics through out the book, and I was left wondering if this omissions were erroneous or intentional? It wasn't always clear.

But missing labels isn't the only problem.
Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please be aware November 30, 2010
Format:Paperback
Please be aware that this book is exactly the same as Information is Beautiful. 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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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By caley
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just got and have been skimming through. Some of the visual charts are more interesting to read than others. Some charts are also easier to read/interpret than others. However, there are plenty to choose from.

Though says hardcover, the copy I have is actually a nice softcover. [Appears that Amazon has corrected this on the product page]

I have found a couple pages that it looks like the writing didn't print properly on. Most of the pages 60-65 (may be 66) are missing writing. I haven't noticed outside these pages.

Example of pg missing text:
pg 64, Excuses Us: Reasons for Divorce
The page in my book is a collection of colored circles. Only writing besides title and reference is that purple indicates the top excuse for women and pink is the top excuse for men.
If the text does appear in someone else's book, please comment. [I've heard from others that they are missing text on those pages from their copies also. Author has now put up a PDF with the missing pages. Password required (indicates it is a word from the book and where to find it).
[...]]

Overall, I am glad got the book. I'm looking forward to comments from friends and conversations that result from casual browsing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Lots of ideas here for how best to create and present infographics.
Published 20 hours ago by Steve Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great
Published 5 days ago by Charles C. Muscoplat
4.0 out of 5 stars For those missing pages....
I am a very visual person and was thus very excited when I came upon this visually represented collection of interesting facts. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lacy Pennington
5.0 out of 5 stars Information junkie
I love misellaneous trivia and tidbits of knowledge. This is a great book (both for the bookcase or coffee table) that presents information and statistics in a visually stimulating... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Paul Michalowski
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book
My son loves this book. He stayed up half the night reading it. Very informative. The math/science minded love it.
Published 6 months ago by T. DeGuelle
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book to use as reference if you're a designer.
Awesome book to use as reference if you're a designer. I'm an architecture student, and I use it all the time to find ways make interesting graphs.
Published 6 months ago by Brian Hong
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring thorough informative
McCandless presents some compiling statistics in designs and formats that enhance communication. A great reference for anyone wanting to design a compelling presentation of... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Chris from Canada
5.0 out of 5 stars So many ideas for creative presentations!
This book is a worthy descendant of Edward Tufte's books on the presentation of visual information. It shows many creative ways to display quantitative information, and the content... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Claude Baudoin
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth buying
I expected more insights into presenting information graphically. I did not see more value than what I saw in the TED presentation
Published 16 months ago by Jacques Roy
3.0 out of 5 stars Architecture Student and Data Viz
I am a student of GSAPP at Columbia University. I took a course taught by Professor Laura Kurgen and the studio she taught was Data Visualization. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Tim C. (GSAPP Columbia University)
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Forums

Topic From this Discussion
Missing text
I emailed amazon about the printing defects noted in these reviews and this forum -- and by their response (and the fact that the book is no longer In Stock but rather is shipping in 7-13 days) I think they have pulled the defective copies and are awaiting a new supply from the publisher.

So I... Read More
Dec 4, 2009 by emmejay |  See all 4 posts
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