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  • Adam Behringer

    Seattle, Washington USA

    Adam is the founder of BEEDOCS, an artisan software company that makes great timeline software for Mac OS X.

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Book Review: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Every once in a while there is a song, book, or movie that inspires you adjust the course of your life. For example, when I first heard The Only for Me by Brian McKnight in college I was inspired to start a band which played jazzy soul music in coffee shops for a few years.

Edward Tufte book are like for me too. And, I'm not the only one. In fact, the Tufte followers are ever bit the cult that Mac users are. My introduction to the information graphics world of Edward Tufte was The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. This book helped me realize what I want to do with my career, which is distill complex information into simple, clear, and beautiful visual presentations. The book itself is beautiful which is, of course, a prerequisite for any book on graphics (never learn design from an ugly book). Tufte has a manner of writing that comes across like a grumpy preacher with a sharp wit and dry humor. The main point of his sermon is creating information graphics with more information and less decoration.

This book is aimed at graphic designers, but like any really great book, you can learn from it even if you are not the target audience. Basically, if you have ever created an Excel chart, if you ever plan to, or if you hire people to do so, you should read this book. Check it out and join the cult of Tufte.

By the way, the discussions on the Edward Tufte website are great too.


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