Review: Steven Johnson, The Ghost Map

Snow's Broad Street Map (detail)

John Snow’s map of the cholera dead after London’s 1854 epidemic is often heralded as one of the earliest examples of graphical data analysis. Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map gives a lot of background about the London of the 1850s, Snow’s work, and how central the map really was.

Review: Cornelia Dean, Am I Making Myself Clear?

The first episode of season 4 of Mad Men opens with Don Draper being interviewed by a journalist. He doesn’t tell him anything that’s of interest and then dodges the question Who is Don Draper? by claiming that he was taught as a child not to talk about himself. Scientists do an equally terrible job at communication, and for many of the same reasons. Cornelia Dean’s book Am I Making Myself Clear? offers fascinating insights into both journalism and science, and provides concrete ideas for how to do better.

Book Review: Visual Thinking for Design, by Colin Ware

Colin Ware’s latest book Visual Thinking for Design has a promising subtitle: active vision, attention, visual queries, gist, visual skills, color, narrative, design. That’s covering quite a bit of ground, and also a lot of things not usually considered in visualization. While this is a book about design, I was interested in what it could teach people in InfoVis, and I review it from that point of view.