Stephen Wong's Reviews > Beautiful Evidence

Beautiful Evidence by Edward R. Tufte
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's review
Aug 10, 2011

I made explicit use of the sparklines approach in analysing and presenting multi-layered time-series data. While I consider the outcome less elegant than what can be produced by a graphics package, just putting the picture of the numbers together was powerful. In later discussing what Beautiful Evidence can do for tamping down on speculative methods of analysis and easing on the conflicts that arise from where the problems lie, it also became apparent that what was produced was a snapshot of data that probably even the best data-mining programs will have difficulty capturing.

I would be interested to discover, for example, how Tufte's approach will clarify and spark research in risk management and regulation given the lost battles of recent days (e.g., at AIG, the insurer which has mispriced risk and will bring the credit default swap system down). I would love to see the NY Times do something similar to that map of Napoleon's march into White Russia and back. But this time have the feds do the marching... it would be fascinating indeed to keep track of what decimation takes place in terms of job losses, investment losses, asset devaluations, and number of firms and businesses in the financial system going belly up on a single map of the carnage.

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