With Visual Explanations
, Edward R. Tufte adds a third volume to his indispensable series on information display. The first, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information,
which focuses on charts and graphs that display numerical information, virtually defined the field. The second, Envisioning Information,
explores similar territory but with an emphasis on maps and cartography. Visual Explanations
centers on dynamic data--information that changes over time. (Tufte has described the three books as being about, respectively, "pictures of numbers, pictures of nouns, and pictures of verbs.")
Like its predecessors, Visual Explanations is both intellectually stimulating and beautiful to behold. Tufte, a self-publisher, takes extraordinary pains with design and production. The book ranges through a variety of topics, including the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger (which could have been prevented, Tufte argues, by better information display on the part of the rocket's engineers), magic tricks, a cholera epidemic in 19th-century London, and the principle of using "the smallest effective difference" to display distinctions in data. Throughout, Tufte presents ideas with crystalline clarity and illustrates them in exquisitely rendered samples.
From Library Journal
Tufte is the master of visualization. You can immediately add this new work alongside his previous gems, Visual Display of Quantitative Information (1983) and Envisioning Information (1990, both from Graphics). Tufte's discussions take place in a world where specific software and certain parameters of the web don't exist?we all know such limitations are always changing anyway. His historical perspective allows Tufte to demonstrate simple, timeless guidelines that are independent of special stylesheets or the latest upgrade from Netscape. In this volume, Tufte illustrates not only traditional areas such as statistics, repetitions, and multiples but also magic and compositional allegories.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.