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The best there is – – after Tufte. Tufte writes about brilliant, eloquent graphic design. Few writes about competent, legible business presentation. Tufte writes about good art, Few writes about servicable craft. If you’ve ever seen data presented in Excel, Word, or (god forbid) PowerPoint, you know how much we need competent craft.The book is gently paced. It’s for people who need to present numbers, but may not be wholly comfortable with numbers. It takes the reader by the hand, and walks through a series of very basic steps in reasoning about how a chart communicates, or fails to.The book is very much oriented towards the chart and graph types that Excel can produce. Like it or not, that makes sense. Excel is what most readers have most acess to, and is what causes some of the ugliest problems. This book addresses those problems.Few illustrates his points with a number of examples, both good and bad ones. He presents problems to solve, and presents answers to many of them. It’s a textbook, and a good one. Its main message is, “Less is better.”This is for anyone who presents information, and for anyone who creates presentation software. I recommend this one.//wiredweird
The summaries make it worthwhile I bought and read the books of Tufte and Cleveland (The elements of graphing data). Tufte is pushing things too far, there are certain expectation people have about what they want to see in a graph, but his analysis of the “lie factor” is great and it’s a beautiful book. Clevelands book is becoming outdated; the use of colours is really helpful and other than two glued-in pages he does not mention it at all. The analysis is cristal clear and it’s full of good and bad examples. Someone ought to rework it, it’s invaluable to me.The recommendation that Few makes in his book are worth buying it and you can read this book in a day, just skip the long explanations. Its indeed long and a somewhat simple, leaving the impression that the content is rather thin, but if anyone presenting data would stick to these simple rules, presentations would make a major step forward in clarity.My conclusion:- if you are a scientist, go for Cleveland.- If have been a scientist and became a “manager” buy Few.- If you are active in politics or other domains that communicate to the large public, Tufte will tell you how to tell the truth :-)One more thing: pie charts are there to stay, no matter how hard we fight them and how many authors hate them and break them down with good arguments. One cannot turn back the clock, there is something like fashion in the way we present data.
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