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Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals
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Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  3,716 ratings  ·  434 reviews
Don't simply show your data--tell a story with it! Storytelling with Data teaches you the fundamentals of data visualization and how to communicate effectively with data. You'll discover the power of storytelling and the way to make data a pivotal point in your story. The lessons in this illuminative text are grounded in theory, but made accessible through numerous real-wo ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 2nd 2015 by Wiley (first published October 7th 2015)
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Kevin Parkinson Because of it's nature, I wasn't able to listen to this audiobook in the same way I listen to most. Normally, I listen to only one book at a time, and…moreBecause of it's nature, I wasn't able to listen to this audiobook in the same way I listen to most. Normally, I listen to only one book at a time, and I listen to it any chance I get - driving to work, going for a run, etc. Many books have accompanying PDFs with helpful visualizations, but in most books these can generally be ignored. With this book, the accompanying PDF is long and absolutely essential. While she makes an attempt to describe verbally what is written on the paper, I would have been absolutely lost without being able to see it. The visuals did wonders, and were incredibly helpful in driving home the big ideas. As a result, I simply had to change up my approach. I broke my typical "only one book at a time rule" and read this book in conjunction with others. When I was listening on the go, I always listened to the other book I was reading at the time. When I was listening as I was completing household chores, I listened to this book and I had my laptop pulled up at my side. For example, I would be listening as I did the dishes, and then she would say, "As you can see in figure 9.25," and I would step away from the sink to check out my laptop on the counter. I would give it a good view, then head back to washing dishes. Because of all of this, it took me longer to work through this book then it typically takes me, but I didn't mind at all, and I also had the chance to hear other books as well. I don't regret listening to it the way I did. I think I would have hated this book without doing it that way, but it ended up being a very enjoyable read and incredibly useful!(less)

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Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mpd
This book is super-useful for anyone dealing with data of any size or scope. It’s clear, practical advice backed by insight into how the human brain works.

As I’ve worked on improving my visual communication skills, I’ve gotten better at including visuals such as graphs. However, I tend to stop there — “okay, I have a graph; visual checkbox ticked off!” — which is necessary but not sufficient. Just because I’ve visually outlined information does not mean I have done so in a way that’s best for my
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ever since I read The Visual Display of Quantitative Information when it came out in the 1980's, I have been awed by the power of a really good graphic to communicate insight. From time to time I pick up a book on the topic to find tips to help me improve my information design skills.

I have not seen a better introduction to the subject of data visualization for storytelling than Storytelling with Data. The audience is clearly analysts using basic tools (think Excel) who are new to the subject.
Michael Scott
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: design
TODO full review:
--- Overall, yet another book about information visualization. There is nothing bad in it, but also there is nothing particularly new, or particularly good, or particularly inspiring.
+ Summary: take the idea of storytelling being the most important part of communication (many sources, including authors of excellent books on presentations Scott Berkun and Nancy Duarte, plus pop-science authors Simon Sinek and Chip Heath), combine with the idea of communicating in visuals (Edward
Diogo Sá
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Storytelling with data is a great book for anyone who desires to grasp the basic concepts behind communication with data. From general understanding of the different types of graphs to pick from to showcase different stories, to learn how to declutter and improve your creations, this book gives you great insights. It is a fun, enjoyable and easy to read book.
Paul W
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business, data
As the amount of data we generate grows exponentially, it is increasingly important that we can make sense of it for decision making. To do this we need to be able to use data visualisation to discover the story, the insight, behind the raw data.
Knaflic sets out six key points for effective storytelling using data: start by understanding the context and choosing an appropriate method to visualise the data. Then focus attention on the key points and eliminate clutter. And adopt user-centred desig
Ha Pham
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most important books I read this year. It's the kind of inspiring book that open your eyes and make you see the world differently. It also makes you a much better and nicer person, and will help you go to heaven when you die, because by finishing this book you will treat the audience of your visualizations with love and respect. Your data, your story, your friends, your colleagues, your clients... all of them deserve better.

100/10 recommended.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely fantastic book and a must read for anyone who is doing any sort of data analytics. The author has an awesome simplistic style not only in her data visualization but also in her writing. The book was powerful and concise in its messaging. I don't think a single word in the book was superfluous, and the author does an amazing job of walking you step by step in how you can have that same power in communicating with data. ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book!! Lots of great reminders, and excellent points! Lots of us use data to help our clients (internal and external) but most of us don’t have formal training on how to make sense of it, and help our audience understand it. Like any other type of communication, you need to think about your audience and be organized. Very great read!
Tuncay Özdemir
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've read a few more books on this topic before. Some points in this book contradict what I have read before. For example, in the book "Say it with Charts" I read before, pie chart was suggested in the representation of the components that make up the parts of the whole. In this book, it is suggested to avoid visualizations such as pie chart or donut chart and to focus on alternatives.

According to the author, it seems very important to focus especially on the story to be told. The graphs to be d
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The biggest impact this book had on me was in changing the mindset of showing the data to actually telling a story with the data. The focus of the book is to make clear data visualizations that makes the audience see the results you want them to see. The author urges the reader to go beyond the default settings in your tool and guides the reader on choosing the right type of visualization, removing clutter and design tips. I think the design tips are especially helpful since most non-designers d ...more
Joakim Ljungren
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Coming from a design background, I was looking for more of something that could be relevant to UI design. I guess this book targets business people more than designers and I think ways to apply her ideas mainly concerns static powerpoint presentations rather than interactive user interfaces.

My take-away is the storytelling chapter. Other than that, it's basically just usability principles redefined in a business context.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great resource for data biz basics ... explains the psychology and reasoning behind all of the best practices using the standard arsenal: gestalt principles and preattentive attributes. Would recommend to anybody who wants to spruce up their charts or data-based presentations.
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
After learning about data visualization this semester, it's unsurprising to me that the data visualization textbooks were some of the best textbooks I've ever had. Concise, visually appealing, easy to understand. Would honestly recommend to anyone who has to make data visualizations at work or who just wants to further their appreciation of data visualizations.

Read for LIS 707: Data Visualization and Communication for Decision Making
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There is always a story to tell. If it’s worth communicating, it’s worth spending the time necessary to frame your data in a story.

An amazing and very-on-point book with a lot of useful tips and examples to help understanding how to build better visualisations and why you should do it. Highly recommend it!
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Quite decent entry level guide on how to visualise data that supports the message that you are trying to get across and how to create the narrative that is supported by data, in that sense all the basics are covered here. For me it was bit too basic, but I found main value in examples I can learn from and there's a lot.

Few takeaways:

- live presentation - not too information dense graphs, all data does not have to be in one slide, because when you start to explain it, you will loose the audience
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good reminder how to make data vizuals better, what works and what does not.
Comparable graphs in the book make visual understanding easy.
Maciej Gajewski
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I know that there is only 5 stars rating available here. I would still give this book 10 stars out of those 5, nonetheless.

It's a perfect combination of theoretical background with practical business examples. By reading this piece, you will learn both the theory of creating a compelling chart (with rules taken out of psychology, design and storytelling standards at the same time) & you will see best and worst practices in data visualisation. Each rule/example is presented with a detailed analy
Elitsa Yordanova
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book explains with a lot of details, examples and good chart/bad chart comparisons and transformations how valuable design and being thoughtful are when creating charts (part of reporting and presentations that many people find boring and don't give enough thought to). It helped me learn how my charts can be easily understood by my audience using easy to implement techniques. I suggest making notes while reading (at least up to chart 7) as they can be easily referred to at a later stage whe ...more
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This would have been so helpful to read a decade ago. I've created hundreds of presentations for school, MBA case competitions, and for work, yet there are always these little things I've wondered how best to display. This book answered my questions.

- Using minimal borders and not highlighting table headers
- Left justified titles instead of centre aligned
- Avoid everyone's favourite - the pie chart (and other dessert graphs)
- Ideal width of the bars
- Default to grayscale and only use co
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended by a friend many years ago and I am so happy that finally I've got the opportunity to read that. The text was very fluent and I think all we need in the process of storytelling with data was covered. I already feel some changes in my presentations. I think they are more mature now!
Here are main lessons of "Storytelling with data":
-Understand the context
- Choose an appropriate visual display
- Eliminate clutter
- Focus attention where you want it.
- Think like a designer.
Gustavo Fonseca
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Cole is focused on teaching how to please the eye, and this is an example of an easy-to-read and super compelling book that teaches and provides advice on how to build visualizations. I still require a lot of experience, but I'm happy I read it at the beginning of my career. I will definitely have it for reference in the future. ...more
Zachary Knowlton
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic resource for communicating with plots and data. I knew some of the stuff but really liked how this is outlined. Bonus points as well for the audible pdf and great audio descriptions of the plots
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dicas-amigos
Very practical, funny to read and useful. A game changing for everyone who has to create graphics and tell any story.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Best book I've read on data visualization for business audiences. The author obviously has a lot of practical experience. She has also read and digested what you need to know from the major books on the subject (e.g., Tufte).

For data exploration and more technical data visualization, this might not be the best answer. But you should still consider the principles from this book.
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Must read.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Storytelling with Data serves as a beginning for people who want to better present the results of their analysis. The book's title gives the author's approach: you're telling a story, so who is your audience, and how should you best tell them the story so that they understand what you want them to learn. How you shape your data is based on how the mind perceives graphical images. The book is introductory: enough for most people to get started, which is probably enough as well. While the methods ...more
Avisek Barla
Jun 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Data is powerful and lot of hardwork goes into selecting and presenting it. Your audience sees only the last bit and that is what matters. Storytelling and presentation acts as a multiplier and the techniques in the book give such clarity on how to make the audience go through your thought process. As my first book on data visualization, I did learn a great deal about selecting the right graphs and will continue the challenge of thinking like a designer which is a lot harder than I anticipated.
Hanako Shigenobu
No joke this book changed my life
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Very handy for both students and professionals. Every theory is backed by relevant and practical examples. Irrespective of your background, if you are to make a presentation, this book is going to be your trusted consultant.
Omid Milanifard
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book will help you to improve the ability of presenting data to your audiences. If you are a data scientist, business analyst or a postgraduate student, I highly recommended to read this book.
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“Having all the information in the world at our fingertips doesn’t make it easier to communicate: it makes it harder.” 3 likes
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