- Hardcover: 156 pages
- Publisher: Graphics Press (February 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0961392126
- ISBN-13: 978-0961392123
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 9.2 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
He has received so many accolades that one more won't add to his credibility.
These are among the most significant non-fiction books (there are a half dozen in an informal series) ever written, and an absolute must for anyone even marginally involved in producing information graphics.
*** And by the way, if you ever get the chance to see Tufte in person, do not miss it.
I've seen him twice, maybe $500 a pop. Worth every penny.
The man is a genius who is the primary influence in defining an industry.
Needless to say, the books are each graphically exquisite.
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.
This book may not for everyone, however. It does not contain ready-to-use concepts nor does it present a comprehensive solution for displaying dynamic information. What it does contain, are keen observations and commentary on past attempts at dynamic information display. The relation of each chapter to the next is not readily apparent and is quite precarious in fact. What results, is a book that reads better if each chapter is taken independently. In short, this book will be more rewarding to those willing to spend time to ponder over Tufte's observations. Conversely, the book will appear to have a lack of focus to those in a rush to find solutions.
It looks like he publishes one every seven years ("The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" in 1983, "Envisioning Information" in 1990) so I
think I'm going to budget $0.02 per day
and get them all.
Perhaps the most significant chapter is
his analysis of how bad graphic presentation contributed to the loss of the space shuttle "Challenger." Basically, he believes that data were available which could and should have led to a decision to cancel the launch, but that the engineers failed to communicate it to the decision-makers. And he shows exactly how and why they failed.
Left brain? right brain? Tufte shows us visual elegance in the service of quantitative thinking.