Review: Kraak, Mapping Time

Can you write an entire book about a single chart? Even if that chart is supposedly the best one ever? Menno-Jan Kraak’s new book, Mapping Time: Illustrated by Minard’s Map of Napoleon’s Russian Campaign of 1812, discusses the historical context of Minard’s work, his, life, and walks through a number of design exercises to show the same or similar data in different ways. Continue reading Review: Kraak, Mapping Time

Review: Alberto Cairo, The Functional Art

When Alberto Cairo first told me about the book he was writing, called The Functional Art, he warned me that only a small part of it was going to be about visualization. I have no idea what he was talking about, the book I read was a visualization book from start to finish. It is one of the most interesting and insightful books on the topic I have read in a while. Continue reading Review: Alberto Cairo, The Functional Art

My Review of Visualize This and Visual Complexity for Science Magazine

I was asked to write a review of two recent visualization books for Science: Nathan Yau’s Visualize This and Manuel Lima’s Visual Complexity. The piece appeared in the last issue of 2011, right before Christmas. Below is a link to the review and some additional comments on it and the two books. Continue reading My Review of Visualize This and Visual Complexity for Science Magazine

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. Continue reading Review: Steven Johnson, The Ghost Map

Review: Kaiser Fung, Numbers Rule Your World

Numbers Rule Your World

You all know what statistics is, right? I mean, everybody knows. But if you had to explain why it’s useful, and what it’s useful for, would you have an answer? Do you know how statistics makes a difference in all our lives, all the time? Even if you (think you) do, check out Kaiser Fung’s book, Numbers Rule Your World. Continue reading Review: Kaiser Fung, Numbers Rule Your World

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. Continue reading Review: Cornelia Dean, Am I Making Myself Clear?