The Eclectic Word | The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
I decided to introduce a new series of posts at TGT, revolving around interesting books. Every gentleman should acquire, amass and finally furnish a grand personal library, full of interesting, useful and the occasional rare book. I for one, will probably never be one to own a Kindle, as I believe books deserve space, both for their aesthetic appreciation and that they command respect. As such, I will begin with a book that I was once firmly instructed to keep well beyond my years as a college student.
Now, I had never been one to sell my textbooks pertaining to my major and assigned readings, but I did occasionally rid myself of the extraneous textbook which would serve no purpose in my mind. It was in my Economic Data Analysis class that a professor who was somewhat of an international authority in Keynesian economics, and John Maynard Keynes’ life, recommended a supplemental book to the pursuit of faithfully presenting information. The book is entitled The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte.
Tufte’s book is one of the most visually stimulating publications I have ever come across. Everything from the illustrations, to the paper, binding and content of the book is superb. Within you will find age old graphs and charts that make you both lament and praise our modern day data gathering tools, such as Excel. The representation of data used-to-be a very involved and meticulous process. One which would required a discerning eye and a creative approach to representing multiple variables.
Today, I find it to be one of the most treasured books in my library. I just wish I had taken better care of it – thankfully, the age of the book only shows on its dust cover. But frankly, I believe it wears its age rather well. As for the written word the book contains, it is most definitely an easy and light read which perfectly accompanies the beautiful images. Start that library today – this is a great book to start with.
One last word of wisdom – My father always told me: The only thing dumber than borrowing a book, is returning it.