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Beautiful Evidence Hardcover – Big Book, July, 2006
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From Scientific American
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm a huge fan of dr. tufte's very influential writing on information visualization - as far as I know he's done the best work in the field. But this book - while simply physically and visually stunning - is a real disappointment.
In this work I read about 20% insight, 40% recycled material and preaching to what is probably the choir (this includes an overly repetitious chapter-long discussion of minard's lovely march to moscow graphic & his previously available power point piece), and 40% filler & drek. I don't find his comments on art, writing styles, baseball, and the like to be terribly compelling, and are certainly done better in many other works - and indeed, his thoughts on these ended up as being pretty grating and condescending, if not just wrong.
And that the book ends with several pages of photos (a few of really poor quality, I might add) his own outdoor artwork (which are of passable quality, but what the *bleep* does this have to do with evidence as defined at the front of the book?) only throws salt on the wounds.
This thing is maddeningly inconsistent. I wish I could simply dismiss the work, but it's full of beauty and joy as well as the bad. Sparklines are fun, but could be improved on. Words + images combined inline, some great stuff there. But while some of the really lovely things, like the translations of galileo, are wonderful and exciting to any science-loving person, they really are pretty pointless to the conversation at hand. He has gone straight down since his first major book - a 5+ star effort, the 2nd, 4.5-5 stars, 3rd, 3 stars, and this is about a 2 star one (2.5+ if you haven't read the others.Read more ›
dea 1: Sparklines (there are examples on the author's Web site). Tufte points out that nothing stops the modern printer from including small graphs right in-line with text or tables and that these graphs make comparisons much easier. Baseball fans will enjoy Tufte's depiction of a baseball season, first for one team and then for all teams. Tufte argues convincingly that showing history in a "sparkline" reduces "recency bias, the persistent and widespread over-weighting of recent events in making decisions."
Idea 2: Forcing people to write English sentences instead of PowerPoint bullets results in a lot more clarity, especially with respect to causality.
Idea 3: If you're running a business, figure out how to pack a huge amount of information, including sparklines, onto a single 11×17″ sheet of paper and print it out on a laserprinter, then give it to decision makers. With that one sheet of paper, they will have as much information as 15 computer screenfuls or 300 PowerPoint slides.
A thought-provoking book that will reward repeat scrutiny.
Inevitably there is some overlap with the earlier books, but this is deliberate policy, not carelessness. As Tufte makes clear, it is better to repeat information than to expect readers to hunt for it somewhere else. Many potentially useful books have been rendered much more difficult to use than they ought to be, at worst by gathering together the artwork in one place, far away from the text that it relates to, or, slightly less bad, by failing to ensure that it appears on the same double-page spread as its accompanying text. Tufte doesn't even believe in referring to tables and figures by numbers, because he considers that any illustration can just be introduced with "here" or "in this example", etc., if it is properly placed. This is what he practises himself, but the technical demands of commercial publishers will make it difficult advice to follow, unfortunately. However, with modern computer-based publishing it ought to become easy in the future if enough pressure is put on publishers. If Galileo could integrate all of his diagrams into his text, why can we not do that now, with far more technical aids at our disposal than were available to him?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Cool book, well packaged. I am using it for teaching purposes.Published 24 minutes ago by Baba Yaga in the City
If you are serious about information graphics and the visual display of information, Tufte is essential.Published 3 months ago by Randall Reed
Tufte talks a lot about the way certain elements are presented throughout the world. I used this book in my writing class about visual representations and arguments, especially... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kori
I started reading Beautiful Evidence the minute I received it! I rarely read a book of this sort in a linear fashion choosing rather to select topics and jump around. Read morePublished 12 months ago by JPF - just plain folk
I like it so far. However, I think there is unneeded information. I wouldn't say irrelevant, but could have been shorter. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Ahmed Jolani
I happened to find this book on an online search in my local library system, without ever having heard of Edward Tufte, but being intrigued by the title and by the range of... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Nathan Albright