by Edward Tufte
This is a deceptively simple book; it contains a few main ideas that anybody that designs or interprets graphs would do well to absorb. Tufte describes problems that commonly appear in published graphs, and gives some objective criteria for producing better ones. This passage is at the heart of his message:
How can graphical mediocrity be remedied? Surely there is something to be said for rejecting once and for all the doctrines that data graphics are for the unintelligent and that statistics are boring. These doctrines blame the victims (the audience and the data) rather than the perpetrators.
The typesetting, layout, and graphics of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information are beautiful, and the text is well written. It's sort of a Strunk and White for visual design. Highly recommended.
copyright © 1997 John Regehr