When I mentioned Edward R. Tufte’s excellent The Visual Display of Quantitative Information in a recent blog post, it prompted me to search North Yorkshire’s online library catalogue to see if they had any more of the great man’s works. I was delighted to find that both Envisioning Information and Visual Explanations were available, yet languishing in a storage room somewhere rather than being on the shelves of one of the county’s libraries! So, I placed a request and they turned up at my local branch a few days later.
I have to say, they are both fascinating reads, though I think Visual Explanations appealed to me most. As a so-called “knowledge worker” in the software industry it’s occasionally necessary for me to crunch some numbers and produce appropriate charts and graphs to support hypotheses or dismiss speculation. This book explains how best to go about such tasks, and also what pitfalls to avoid – the most stark example being the poor explanations given by the solid fuel rocket manufacturer as to why the launch of the Challenger space shuttle should be delayed.
Amazon UK don’t appear to have the book in stock, and the marketplace sellers are all showing vastly inflated prices. Much better to get a copy from Stateside, or do as I did and check it out from a library.