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Graphic Discovery: A Trout in the Milk and Other Visual Adventures Hardcover – October 26, 2004
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2005
"Well written and innovative. . . . The book is fascinating with its wide view, including introductions to historical personalities, analyses of statistical paradoxes, and well-documented discussions of actual uses of visual data to mislead viewers."--Choice
"During a dairyman's strike in 19th century New England, when there was suspicion of milk being watered down, Henry David Thoreau wrote, 'Sometimes circumstantial evidence can be quite convincing; like when you find a trout in the milk.' Howard Wainer uses this as a metaphor in his entertaining, informative, and persuasive book on graphs, or the visual communication of information. Sometimes a well-designed graph tells a very convincing story."--Raymond N. Greenwell, MAA Online
"Wainer's wit and broad intellect make this a very entertaining book."--Linda Pickle, ,American Statistician
"[A] personalized and readable jaunt through the history of charting."--The Economist
"This book may be seen as a chronology of graphic date presentation beginning with Playfair to the present and pointing toward the future. . . . It is a remarkable value that every practitioner of statistics can afford."--Malcolm James Ree, Personnel Psychology
"Graphic Discovery is a welcome addition to the literature on investigation and effective communication through graphic display. It contains a wealth of information and opinions, which are motivated and illustrated through a plethora of real life examples which can be easily incorporated into any educational setting: classroom, seminar, self-enhancement. . . . This book will be useful to and it can be mastered by a diverse readership."--Thomas E. Bradstreet, Computational Statistics
From the Inside Flap
"The use of charts and graphs to make numbers both intelligible and memorable is a surprisingly modern idea. How this idea grew from a curiosity into a basic tool of modern science is a story of remarkable men and curious paradoxes, a story that Howard Wainer tells with zest and sympathetic understanding. Informative, readable, profoundly engaging."--George A. Miller, Princeton University, author of The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two"I liked this book very much indeed. It will be very useful to the many who are interested in the interplay of forces that have yielded modern science."--Eric T. Bradlow, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania"Fascinating. This book . . . the first to explore the chronological development of graphical data display . . . should be required reading for statisticians, applied researchers, scientists, and certainly for all journalists."--I. Elaine Allen, Babson College"A delightful and thought-provoking book on statistical graphics. Wainer provides compact case studies of how graphical presentations such as bar charts, plots, and scattergrams can lead to important discoveries. The most compelling examples show how a published graphic could be dramatically improved to avoid misleading interpretations or make new discoveries. The most entertaining parts are his vignettes of historical figures, such as his twin heroes of William Playfair and John Tukey. I enjoyed Wainer's sardonic wit, personal anecdotes, and popular culture references, but the real gift was the clarity of thinking and the wise guidance about deep issues in statistics, data mining, and information visualization."--Ben Shneiderman, College Park, MD
Top customer reviews
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I can't imagine any mathophile, and particularly any teacher of statistics at any level, who won't find this book a treasure trove of delights. Highly recommended.
I will often combine my reading with internet searches to read more background information on a scientist/philosopher, a published paper that may be mentioned or a process that is talked about.
There are some very interesting graphs as well as the discussion relating to how graphs can be used (manipulated) to enhance an argument about a specific subject.
In a sense Author Wainer is suggesting caution and the need for clear understanding when faced with a graphical representation of data. Don't jump to conclusion without supporting data and information.
Good book..."That' all I have to say about that".
I think the author is actually a fine fellow who genuinely loves graphs and charts, and he does manage to present many classic pieces of graph design advice in a congenial way. But the essays are rather disconnected. The author is fairly good on mathematical graph design but his ventures into related issues such as collation and ordering and document design are not successful and his lack of expertise in these areas is painful.
The book ends with a very odd twenty-page biographical dictionary, which partly covers people prominent in the history of graphing, but also includes random folks who just seemed to have caught the author's attention or who were mentioned peripherally in examples in the text, such as Seneca, Henry David Thoreau, and all (I think) of the current American Supreme Court Justices.
Overall, this book is a kind of brain dump which feels like reading the backup copy of the author's future-projects file. There are other better places to start learning about graph design, including Tufte, Cleveland, or even the old standby "How to Lie With Statistics."
James H. Steiger, Professor
Dept. of Psychology and Human Development
Nashville, TN 37203