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Please be aware Please be aware that this book is exactly the same as The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World’s Most Consequential Trivia. Do not buy both, or you’ll end up returning one of the two, as I’m going to do now.
Approach with skepticism… I’m fortunate to have attended Edward Tufte’s great lecture on the visual presentation of statistical information, and so I approach any chart as a skeptic.First off, this IS the same book as – you don’t need to buy both.The positive:Elegantly designed, beautifully presented graphics, satisfies Tufte’s first rule: “have a compelling story to tell with your data” (bad paraphrase, I’m sure). My book has NONE of the defects other reviewers describe (ink splats in EU version, no labels on some charts in US version).The negative:any reader who spends a little time with a ruler and a calculator analyzing the “Billion Dollar-o-gram” (p. 10) will wonder how many of the other charts in the book are fabrications. Seriously. $300 Billion isn’t anything like 4.5 x $97 Billion, yet that’s what the comparative areas in this chart suggest. What kills me is that the chart would’ve been just as interesting and MORE compelling if it was accurate. There’s off-the-shelf treemap software that will generate such a diagram automatically AND accurately.I had my questions about the validity of some of the charts my first time through, but other Amazon reviewers’ questioning of their accuracy in made me look for myself.I have no way to check some of the other charts (which occasionally lapse into what Tufte calls “chart-junk”) – as they’re irregular figures, and difficult to compare by area. Suffice it to say that the accuracy problems with the billion-dollar-o-gram place the rest of the charts in the book under a cloud of suspicion as well.When you present data, you’re putting your own reputation on the line. You MUST present data accurately, if you’re going to present your data as truth.
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