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The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  5,960 Ratings  ·  407 Reviews
The classic book on statistical graphics, charts, tables. Theory and practice in the design of data graphics, 250 illustrations of the best (and a few of the worst) statistical graphics, with detailed analysis of how to display data for precise, effective, quick analysis. Design of the high-resolution displays, small multiples. Editing and improving graphics. The data-ink ...more
Hardcover, 2nd, 200 pages
Published 2001 by Graphics (first published 1983)
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Zanna
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Zanna by: Tony Bleasdale
Shelves: stem
When I started secondary school I was mildly apprehensive about 'physics', an unfamiliar word that elicited an actual shudder from my mother. Fortunately, my elderly teacher had an infectious affection for his subject. I remember that he noticed me examining the monthly night-sky chart pinned to the classroom door, and thereafter would print off an extra copy specially and wordlessly hand it to me if he saw me in the corridor (never in class, not wishing to embarrass me*) Our first lessons tried ...more
Lily
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. I read this book because 1) as a scientist, I care a lot about visualizing information in ways that are both meaningful and attractive, and 2) this book is hailed as a classic and cited by many when discussing what constitutes a good graphic. After eying it on many coffee tables and office bookshelves, I finally decided to pick it up from the library. I'm glad that I didn't buy it.

There are some positives: a few inspiring examples of creative, precise designs that tell a story and re
...more
Hadrian
I've read this previously, but I was reminded of it again when someone brought up the ink/information ratio. It's vital for anybody in science, research, or business, anybody who has to make presentations or write reports or analyze data, and is an antidote to years of sloppy PowerPoints and reading captions verbatim off of slides.



Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Apr 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: what-nonfiction
Edward Tufte is brilliant. His books, including this one, are artwork disguised as a textbook. The purpose of all three is to explain both good and bad ways of explaining information but they are so much more than that. There is a rich history interwoven in the books' pages. The examples are so interesting that I found myself learning more than just how to convey information. For example, one of the best graphics for conveying information ever made is a chart/map tracking Napoleon Bonaparte's ar ...more
Roger Wood
The book led was one of the most enlightening books that I've every read. I've always had a penchant for using numbers, images, and heuristics to explain, and began taking Edward Tufte's courses when the opportunity arose, starting in 1998. He held them in hotel ballrooms throughout the United States, and his followers attended with cult-like repetition, sometimes registering for the same course 6 times in one year.

Edward Tufte is one of the most elegant designers of information alive today, the
...more
Bruce
Mar 31, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who has to illustrate a report or presentation
Well, 3 1/2 stars, really, but GoodReads won't permit that. Don't let the horrifically dull title fool you. Edward Tufte knows a thing or two about chart design, to say the least (he's built a second career on this obsession). Think this is dull stuff? Ha, and again I say ha. It's darn sexy. Don't believe me? Consider this consequence of the era of optimism or this version of Little Red Riding Hood or this nifty day-in-the-life or this graphic design shop which is such a brilliant specialist in ...more
Paula
Jan 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a book about graphs.

How, you ask, could anyone write a book about graphs, let alone read one? Surely you've never found the sex appeal of a bar chart, the seductiveness of a scatterplot. Well my friend, you simply have never realized the power of a well-designed graph.

Tufte took on the challenge of making visual information interesting decades ago, and it's still considered one of the top 100 books of the 20th century. He shows examples of what the best displays and worst displays are i
...more
Isk
Aug 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
One-sentence summary:
The graphical analogue of Elements of Style: obvious (avoid junk!), useless, contradictory, and wrong.

Don't understand the hype about this book; it's super outdated (refers mainly to hand-drawn-ish charts; and considering most of use standard tools to create our visualizations, not sure how we're supposed to actually implement his suggestions), and a lot of the advice and "good" examples (Marey's train schedule? Come on!) are horrible (and even contradictory -- at one point
...more
Daniel Rekshan
Apr 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: programming
People have told me to read this book for years and I've always been impressed by the strength of their recommendations.

However, on reading this book, I was initially underwhelmed. I felt like Tufte was just rehashing common sense about graphs. I read through it and found myself saying, 'yeah yeah, I get it.'

On reflection a week after finishing, I realized this book is genius. Tufte concisely and clearly articulates principles, which should be common sense, so well that they have appearance to b
...more
Sasha
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Never was a dude so salty about bad graphs and bad data. Humorous as well as clever.
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
Before going into the review itself, a comment on a slight oddity of the book (which will become important in the review): The copy I read is the 7th printing (March 2011) of the second edition (originally published in 2001; the first edition was published in 1982). The reason I bring this up is a discrepancy not mentioned anywhere in/on the book or on any website I could find. At least one chapter has been rewritten (or added) since the second edition was originally published. Chapter 8 contain ...more
Padraig
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: visualisation

It's good, I guess I’m knocking a star off because it focuses on paper-based graphs as opposed to computer ones (not really the fault of the book as it was first published in 1983).

The book is like the graph equivalent of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style. Where Strunk says ‘Omit needless words.’, Tufte says ‘Omit needless ink.’ (I’m paraphrasing). Despite concerning itself with paper-based graphs, the concepts still apply, and if I took one lesson from the book, it’s to let the data sh
...more
Michael Economy
May 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Michael by: Ken-ichi
Shelves: work-related
I'm imaging tufte writing up this rant in a basement with "we're not gonna take it" blaring in the background, every few paragraphs he mumbles something like "this will show them!" to himself.

Section two is pretty much the kind of five paragraph essay I was required to write in school. It's not very often someone makes an argument that hard.


Overall, this book is awesome, the book isn't 100% up to date, but the same complains with visualizations would still apply.


I'm all amped up to create lots o
...more
Lindig
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I discovered Tufte when I was collecting movable books and this showed up in my bookstore with a pop-up pyramid in it. I found out later that he had self-published this title because no printer or publisher he approached wanted to do the pop-up and he was determined to have it.

It's a wonderful explication of the ways in which to analyze data and figure out how to present it in clean, efficient ways that slide the information into waiting minds.

Essential.

And anybody who enjoys this book will lik
...more
Steve
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I went to a Tufte course and four of his publications were given out as part of the course fee. This is the first one he published on this subject, and the first I've read. Overall, if you've never made a statistical graphic, this covers some of the basics but it feels a bit dated as well. Read this book if you're looking for some history on the subject of plotting data, and plenty of opinions from the (well-respected) author.

I'm no stranger to making statistical graphics, it's a task that comes
...more
Kjetil Endresen
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was a joy to read.

The book is essentially about graphical display of information, like the graphs we put in our powerpoints and maps in our texts. It is not a gallery of modern and beautiful visualizations as could be expected, rather, it takes on the history and creation of visualizing data in the 1600s and forward, and giving some general principles that goes for all display of information. He talks about data pr. square centimeter and suggest that the human eye can see differences d
...more
Jacob Ritchie
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Some good shit!!! 💯
Min Tran
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A classic!
Louis
Apr 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arts, math-stats
The book goes through many examples of displaying information visually. And it does so through a historical context, reminding us that the issues that are faced and the many ways to (mis)-represent them have been around for centuries.

What I'm reminded of is that statistics and data analysis is not just about methods, but they are means of communication. And like all methods of communication, they can be made less clear whenever you have something other than clear communication as the goal.

Many o
...more
Lucas
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a helpful and thoughtful work, and I enjoyed it almost as much for its book-design as for the design of its charts and graphs. Certainly I will now think differently about such items. I also look forwards to trying tol roll sparklines into my academic work.
Todd N
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: big-data
Since I work for a business intelligence company I figured I might as well learn something about the grammar of data visualization. And this is definitely the Strunk and White of displaying data.

I especially liked the historical tour of data display. It showed how Snow’s map helped to end an cholera epidemic in England and prove that contaminated water was indeed the causative agent. And the famous graphic of Napoleon’s march to Moscow and back that makes the terrible loss of life very clear. It
...more
Sashko Valyus
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Книга про те як перетворювати цифри в красиві мінімалістичні графіки. Досить занудна не дивлячись не те, що контенту не багато. Основні тезиси:
- розберіться спочатку в тому, що маєте малювати
- не брешіть графіком, і не дайте виглядом неправильного розуміння
- при оцінці цін на часовій шкалі, варто враховувати рівень інфляції
- відсікайте все лишнє і надавате додаткової цінності
Margie
Nov 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, data, series
Everyone should read this book. Although I am not yet adept at creating data-rich, well-designed visual displays of information (and frankly, I blame spawn-of-satan Microsoft), Tufte's books at least have taught me to recognize the inferiority of other's attempts (and the limitations of Microsoft's software).
^
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone using or working with numbers
Utterly superb. Utterly unmissable.

A book which also indirectly draws one's serious attention to the significant dangers of information LOSS in our computer age, because the incredible subtlety of information capable of expression via the medium of pen and ink on paper.

Sally
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A well-produced book, where for a wonder each graph and its accompanying text are visible together. Many interesting graphs; an initial discusion of history, the rest of the book being criticism. The author is expert but somewhat opinionated (never, ever use a pie chart?)
Dustin
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reads quickly. I'll never design a graph the same way again.
Stanley
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If my textbooks in school were drawn like this one, I might actually have read them.
Marjori
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Not as organized as his later works. Beautiful Evidence published in 2006 compiles most of the good work from his books.

But this one still contains very useful tips and examples!

Spencer
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
what makes a graph sweet? what makes a graph lame? do you care? do you care enough to read all 4 of this authors books on the subject?
Annuska
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hci
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Edward Rolf Tufte (born 1942 in Kansas City, Missouri to Virginia and Edward E. Tufte), a professor emeritus of statistics, graphic design, and political economy at Yale University has been described by The New York Times as "the Leonardo da Vinci of Data". He is an expert in the presentation of informational graphics such as charts and diagrams, and is a fellow of the American Statistical Associa ...more
More about Edward R. Tufte...
“Above all else show the data.” 20 likes
“Graphical excellence is that which gives to the viewer the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time with the least ink in the smallest space.” 11 likes
More quotes…