Beautiful Evidence

The first of this series of books by Edward Tufte, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" was the one that, in my opinion, would be of most practical use to the average scientist. That was six volumes and twenty four years ago. I would recommend the most recent one, "Beautiful Information", as a logical continuation. In it, he provides ideas for annotating and enhancing information in photographs, the use of "sparklines" to highlight tabular data, the use of links and causal arrows, the proper combination of numbers and images, a reprise of the principles of the first volume in a chapter entitled "The Fundamental Principles of Analytical Design", and a criticism of substandard arguments and faulty presentations in "Corruption in Evidence Presentations: Effects without Causes, Cherry-Picking, Overreaching, Chartjunk, and the Rage to Conclude". This is a beautiful book (as are all of the others) with high-quality color reproductions of inventive and economical depictions of data and concepts. Tufte has himself quite a racket. He publishes his own books (Graphics Press LLC) which he sells at relatively high prices (but justified by their production values). These provide grist for his relatively expensive seminars for graphic designers. If you can't get to (or afford) one of his design seminars, you can profit by his books. Also, be sure to visit the lively online forums linked from his Web site.

Pick Attribution: 

Edward R. Tufte

Publication Date: 
Sunday, January 1, 2006