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Information is Beautiful Hardcover – January 1, 2000
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Frequently bought together
- ASIN : 0007294662
- Publisher : Collins (January 1, 2000)
- Language: : English
- Hardcover : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780007294664
- ISBN-13 : 978-0007294664
- Item Weight : 2.14 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.68 x 1.1 x 9.92 inches
Best Sellers Rank:
#824,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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First off, this IS the same book as The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World's Most Consequential Trivia - you don't need to buy both.
Elegantly designed, beautifully presented graphics, satisfies Tufte's first rule: "have a compelling story to tell with your data" (bad paraphrase, I'm sure). My book has NONE of the defects other reviewers describe (ink splats in EU version, no labels on some charts in US version).
any reader who spends a little time with a ruler and a calculator analyzing the "Billion Dollar-o-gram" (p. 10) will wonder how many of the other charts in the book are fabrications. Seriously. $300 Billion isn't anything like 4.5 x $97 Billion, yet that's what the comparative areas in this chart suggest. What kills me is that the chart would've been just as interesting and MORE compelling if it was accurate. There's off-the-shelf treemap software that will generate such a diagram automatically AND accurately.
I had my questions about the validity of some of the charts my first time through, but other Amazon reviewers' questioning of their accuracy in The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World's Most Consequential Trivia made me look for myself.
I have no way to check some of the other charts (which occasionally lapse into what Tufte calls "chart-junk") - as they're irregular figures, and difficult to compare by area. Suffice it to say that the accuracy problems with the billion-dollar-o-gram place the rest of the charts in the book under a cloud of suspicion as well.
When you present data, you're putting your own reputation on the line. You MUST present data accurately, if you're going to present your data as truth.
Great book for someone who is curious and fascinated with the living world around them.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 16, 2017
The most serious fault that I can level at McCandless's "Information is Beautiful" is that is has almost single handedly given rise to the infographic obsession that means that you can hardly go online without encountering some designer's view of information that is all style and little substance. However, returning to McCandless's book shows how, when done with thought and insight, the graphic can add to the reader's understanding of the data. The book is one part modern art, one part geek-porn and several parts graphic design. It's not only interesting, but is indeed as beautiful as the title promises it to be.
When the book was first published, in 2009, many of the designs were seldom used - not most of them will be familiar and that threatens to minimise the importance of the book in the history of infographic design. Rather like HDR photography, a badly thought out infographic is dull and a bit cliche now, but when done properly, they really do get the message over. A picture is said to paint a thousand words, but a well-designed infographic can get over more than that. And this is full of them.
McCandless is good at sourcing the data. One slight concern though is that there is a fair bit that is sourced from Wikipedia - which is seldom the most reliable of sources on anything. With that caveat, this book is a modern design classic. It's beautiful, interesting, clever and thoughtful.
Some of them look 'pretty' but actually convey little information, or make the reader work hard for the insight, or generate confusion and ambiguity. Often unnecessarily.
So: treat it as a book of source material to discuss and consider and analyses, and you'll be absolutely fine. Treat it as a holy gospel handed down by the almightly via his representative on earth, and you - and your readership - will suffer.