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Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative
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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.
Top customer reviews
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While engineers may be great at making great results, presenting the information is still a challenge (especially to customers and management).
She really likes this book. It provides a great guide on how to present information so that other engineers and the 'layman' can understand it. Data presentation can be quite a problem for engineers, and this book does a fantastic job at providing methods and means for producing useful and meaningful visual representations of findings.
I'm not an engineer 'per se,' but I'm a degreed Mathematician. I flipped through the book, and it seems as though the book does a very good job at helping us that may be poor at presenting our technical ideas in a way such that it is easily comprehensible to others - in particular others that are not mathematicians or engineers.
This aside, the limited reading I did was pretty easy, and his ideas and points were easy to comprehend and well articulated.
The methods and subjects covered are applicable to a variety of media, and subject matter including, marketing and promotional materials, web design and information presentation, the presentation of scientific data, and general photography. No matter what your occupation or ambition, if it involves conveying information in a graphical format, this book will provide insight and examples that will help you get your point across more effectively, and enhance the end user experience.