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Visual Revelations: Graphical Tales of Fate and Deception from Napoleon Bonaparte to Ross Perot

by Howard Wainer, 1997, Springer-Verlag, New York, 180 p.

This book's title sounded interesting, as I am always looking for new and better ways to display data.  I was not disappointed. This is a larger-format book, comprised of many illustrations, and suitable for display on a coffee table.

Howard Wainer is a Principal Research Scientist at Educational Testing Service.  He was awarded their Senior Scientist Award in 1990 and was selected for the Lady Davis Prize. Visual Revelations is his tenth book.

Beginning with Egyptian maps around 3800 B.C., diagrams have long been used to represent data. Many of the currently popular graphical forms are credited to William Playfair (1759-1923), a draftsman employed by James Watt and brother of well-known scientist John Playfair.

The many gems include:

The book concludes with suggestions for better text composition, embedding graphics and text, and making presentation slides.

—John Schuyler, January 1998.

Copyright 1998 by John R. Schuyler. All rights reserved. Permission to copy with reproduction of this notice.