- Hardcover: 213 pages
- Publisher: Graphics Pr; Third Printing edition (July 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0961392177
- ISBN-13: 978-0961392178
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 81 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Beautiful Evidence Hardcover – Big Book, July 1, 2006
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From Scientific American
"Science and art," according to Tufte, "have in common intense seeing, the wide-eyed observing that generates empirical information." This book is about how that seeing turns into showing. Tufte, professor emeritus at Yale University and author of three previous widely praised books on visual evidence, displays outstanding examples of the genre. One of the most arresting is Galileo's series of hand-drawn images of sunspots. A colleague of Galileo, the author tells us, said that the astronomer's drawings "delight both by the wonder of the spectacle and the accuracy of expression." That, Tufte says, is beautiful evidence.
Editors of Scientific American
"Edward Tufte's Beautiful Evidence is a masterpiece from a pioneer in the field of data visualization. His book in brilliant. The Galileo of graphics has done it again. It's not often an iconoclast comes along, trashes the old ways, and replaces them with an irresistible new interpretation. By teasing out the sublime from the seemingly mundane world of charts, graphs, and tables, Tufte has proven to a generation of graphic designers that great thinking begets great presentation. In Beautiful Evidence, his fourth work on analytical design, Tufte digs more deeply into art and science to reveal very old connections between truth and beauty -- all the way from Galileo to Google." -- Business Week, Best Innovation and Design Books for 2006
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In more than one book, Tufte uses Charles Joseph Minard's multivariate data map depicting Napoleon's invasion of Russia. In this book, he uses it once again, but he does so in a chapter devoted to this single map. The chapter, The Fundamental Principles of Analytical Design, begins with a much larger view of the map that folds out into a double-sized page making the details more available. Further, it is translated into English for those of us who do not read French. In one respect, the translation illustrated how strong the graphic explanation was--the translation didn't add much to it. However, using detail from Minard's map, Tufte is able to illustrate the principles of analytic design--the chapter's topic.
This book is not a fast-food takeout. You must be willing to (and want to) mull over the graphics and text. While Tufte's fussiness may bother some (along with pronouncements that "THIS IS SO!) I find his efforts worth the time...taken leisurely and with the expectation of both an intellectual and enjoyable outcome.
Tufte's rant on PowerPoint is reproduced in a chapter, but let's face it; it's worth thinking about. (Tufte blames both the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle losses on poor communication between engineers and decision makers--PowerPoint gets the blame fully for Columbia.) Even better than Tufte's rant about the thinness of PP as far as a tool for clear communication is Microsoft's smug response suggesting that the misuse of PP is the problem, and Tufte doesn't know what he's talking about. (The responses to Tufte's article from Microsoft and its hired guns (or flying monkeys) are not reproduced in the book, but the amount of clamor caused by Tufte indicates he hit a nerve. Even Don Norman, who knows a thing or two about design came to Microsoft's defense is one of his most disingenuous articles to date.)
The last chapter, Sculptural Pedestals, is not as bad as I feared. To be sure, it is an opportunity for Tufte to showcase his own sculptures, but he is able to provide enough analytical material to justify this somewhat irrelevant addition to the book
All in all, it is a recommendable book, which - even if a little bit too hyped up for what it is supposed to offer - still offers a valuable read.