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Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative

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Book Overview

Display of information for paper and computer screens; principles of information design, design of presentations. Depicting evidence relevant to cause and effect, decision making. Scientific... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

another great book by Tufte on graphs

In this third book by Tufte on graphics, he provides great examples through history where good pictures conveyed important information to decision makers and bad graphics left uncetainty and indecision. A great success story is the identification of the source of the cholera epidemic in London in the 1850s. With regard to the Challenger Space Shuttle, Tufte suggests that one good picture may have convinced the NASA engineers of the need to avoid launching at low temperatures. Great pictures, great examples and great advice are found throughout the book. You may not believe that graphs can be used to answer all scientific questions but Tufte will convince you that they are important and must be done right!

Tufte is an intellectual giant

VISUAL EXPLANATIONS: IMAGES AND QUANTITIES, EVIDENCE AND NARRATIVE represents one volume within a set of three. In this volume, Edward R. Tufte explores the visual and artistic aspects of the assessment of change, dynamics and most importantly cause and effect. In my mind, Edward R. Tufte is one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century. His work is magnificent! He employs a powerful conceptual framework that has had a profound effect on the reader.I own all three volumes. I use VISUAL EXPLANATIONS: IMAGES AND QUANTITIES, EVIDENCE AND NARRATIVE when I teach statistics. Students, but mostly professors, are too caught up with the power of inferential statistics leaving behind or seeing the visual display of data as insignificant or too simple to be introduced in a college course. Even worse, some are just plain ignorant regarding data presentation. To dispel any attitude that inferential statistics are the heart and soul of the study of cause, I use the section about the Challenger space flight to illustrate the importance of graphic illustrations in the field of engineering. The book hits home like no other visual presentation. Students see how decisions are made on the basis of poor quality and high quality graphics. These graphics produce a rare quietness in the classroom. There emerges a respect for the deceased astronauts. Students see how decision-makers employ graphic illustrations to determine a critical (in this case, life-threatening) course of action. The illustrations played an important function in endorsing the liftoff of the doomed Challenger. After students emotionally recover from the trauma of visually understanding the flaw in the O-rings, the graphics lead students to understand the statistical concept of "independence." This statistical concept is initially difficult for undergraduates to grasp. However, the illustrations in VISUAL EXPLANATIONS provide a powerful springboard.On the lighter side, I insist that students turn to page 90-91 to review the graphic that establishes the cause and effect of "rock `n roll." It, like all of Tufte's illustrations, is inspiring.Every professor who teaches statistics should have a copy of this and Tufte's other volume entitled, THE VISUAL DISPLAY OF QUANTITATIVE INFORMATION. In addition, every academic library should house all the volumes.

Readers Delight

Oh my - Mr. Tufte just carries on producing one fine piece of work after another.This third book in the triology on "information presentation" is as splendid as the previous two books. In this volume the emphasis is, as the title suggests, on methods for creating powerful illustrations and graphics that could help you present your knowledge in a non-disputable way.The most intriguing section in this book without doubt the chapter on the Challenger disaster in 1986. The rocket engineers back then had worries about the launch on Jan 28. However they were not at all able to communicate their worries to NASA and so it ended... In a worrying few number of pages, Mr. Tufte, dissects the data presented to NASA by the engineers and creates a information redesign which makes it clear to anyone that the launch should have been postponed.I still belive that book 2, "Envisioning Information" is the most required. Buy that book and if you love is (as I do), then buy the other two books as well.The layout of this book is fully in thread with the others in the series. Beautiful, engaging, ingenious, etc. The print quality is second to none - you really have a feeling that the crew behind these books have been nursing their babies.So Mr. Tufte - where is number four in the series?

invaluable, every scientist, hell every american should read

the examples are incredible. this book is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read both for its content and execution. The advice Tufte gives with regard to the presentation of information will only become more important in the future. Whether reading the newspaper or writing a technical report, the proper display of quantitative information is an invaluable skill. this book helps you to think clearly and concisely. one of the best books of all time.

Ultimately it's about truth-telling

In the spring of 1998, I participated in a semester-long class taught by Edward Tufte.The subject was information design and his three books, Visual Explanations, Envisioning Information and The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, were the core reading materials of the seminar.Had I only read the books and not participated in the class, I might have missed some underlying core themes that Tufte conveyed through his passionate presentation of the material. Beyond just putting the right mark on a piece of paper or on a computer screen, these books are about truth-telling, about removing all impediments to understanding between the communicator and the receiver, and about being selfless in one's representation of the truth.Similar books just catalog graphical techniques. Tufte's books will leave most readers with an indelible sense of obligation to communicate transparently, selflessly and truthfully.
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