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Beautiful Evidence (2006)

by Edward R. Tufte

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1,601109,196 (4.19)9
Science and art have in common intense seeing, the wide-eyed observing that generates empirical information. Beautiful Evidence is about how seeing turns into showing, how empirical observations turn into explanations and evidence presentations. The book identifies excellent and effective methods for presenting information, suggests new designs, and provides tools for assessing the credibility of evidence presentations. Here we will see many close readings of serious evidence presentations - ranging through evolutionary trees and rocket science to economics, art history, and sculpture. Insistent application of the principles of analytical thinking helps both insiders and outsiders assess the credibility of evidence.… (more)
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» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
All of Tufte's work should be required reading in high school. ( )
  jtth | May 4, 2020 |
A book that rewards close reading. ( )
  encephalical | Apr 8, 2019 |
It is just possible that if I can't understand it, it is poorly written. The diatribe against the abuse of bullet points in PowerPoint presentations, however, is funny and must be right. ( )
  themulhern | Jun 21, 2014 |
The first of this series of books by Edward Tufte, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" was the one that, in my opinion, would be of most practical use to the average scientist. That was six volumes and twenty four years ago. I would recommend the most recent one, "Beautiful Information", as a logical continuation. In it, he provides ideas for annotating and enhancing information in photographs, the use of "sparklines" to highlight tabular data, the use of links and causal arrows, the proper combination of numbers and images, a reprise of the principles of the first volume in a chapter entitled "The Fundamental Principles of Analytical Design", and a criticism of substandard arguments and faulty presentations in "Corruption in Evidence Presentations: Effects without Causes, Cherry-Picking, Overreaching, Chartjunk, and the Rage to Conclude". This is a beautiful book (as are all of the others) with high-quality color reproductions of inventive and economical depictions of data and concepts. Tufte has himself quite a racket. He publishes his own books (Graphics Press LLC) which he sells at relatively high prices (but justified by their production values). These provide grist for his relatively expensive seminars for graphic designers. If you can't get to (or afford) one of his design seminars, you can profit by his books. Also, be sure to visit the lively online forums linked from his Web site. ( )
1 vote hcubic | Jul 7, 2013 |
Possibly just a fraction less focused than his previous works, but also taking a wider-ranging and more aesthetically driven view of the practice of presenting information. The book certainly satisfies the expectation created by the title; it is indeed beautiful. PowerPoint users beware. ( )
  gbsallery | Sep 5, 2011 |
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added by Delfi_r | editNPR, Jeffrey Freymann-Weyr (Aug 20, 2006)
 
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Epigraph
What was observed by us is the nature or matter of the Milky Way itself, which, with the aid of the spyglass, may be observed so well that all the disputes that for so many generations have vexed philosophers are destroyed by visible certainty, and we are liberated from wordy arguments. - Gailieo Galilei
Medical statistics will be our standard of measurement: we will weigh life for life and see where the dead lie thicker, among the workers or among the privileged. - Rudolf Virchow
If you look after truth and goodness beauty looks after herself. - Eric Gill
Dedication
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A colleague of Galileo, Frederico Cesi, wrote that Galileo's 38 hand-drawn images of sunspots "delight both by the wonder of the spectacle and the accuracy of the expression." That is beautiful evidence. (Introduction)
Upon seeing the satellites of Jupiter, Galileo recorded the discovery by means of hundreds of annotated and scaled images. (First chapter)
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A good way to assess a display for unintentional optical clutter is to ask "Do the prominent visual effects convey relevant content?"
The PP slide format has the worst signal/noise ratio of any known method of communication on paper or computer screen.
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Science and art have in common intense seeing, the wide-eyed observing that generates empirical information. Beautiful Evidence is about how seeing turns into showing, how empirical observations turn into explanations and evidence presentations. The book identifies excellent and effective methods for presenting information, suggests new designs, and provides tools for assessing the credibility of evidence presentations. Here we will see many close readings of serious evidence presentations - ranging through evolutionary trees and rocket science to economics, art history, and sculpture. Insistent application of the principles of analytical thinking helps both insiders and outsiders assess the credibility of evidence.

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