Monday, May 14, 2018

Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals Paperback – November 2, 2015 by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic (Wiley)

I am a university professor who teaches biostatistics and I find this to be one of the best books that bridges the gap between analytics and presentation. There are some excellent books around that show visualization (e.g., The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics: The Dos and Don'ts of Presenting Data, Facts, and Figures or books by Few Information Dashboard Design: Displaying Data for At-a-Glance Monitoring &Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten or Cairo The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication) and there are good books on presentation (in particular I love Duarte's books Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences) but this book is unique in how well it blends the two topics. I have never seen such an excellent presentation on how to build a series of graphics. That is, with books by Few or Cairo you will know how to make *a* great graphic and with advice from Duarte, you can connect with your audience but with this book you will see how to build a series of interrelated graphics that highlight different parts of a dataset. Most of the examples are spun around business but the examples are easy to extend to any field.

While I think the author wrote this for people who do presentations in any quantitative field for a living, this book should be required reading for graduate students preparing to defend a dissertation or thesis.

Storytelling with Data teaches you the fundamentals of data visualization and how to communicate effectively with data. You'll discover the power of storytelling and the way to make data a pivotal point in your story. The lessons in this illuminative text are grounded in theory, but made accessible through numerous real-world examples—ready for immediate application to your next graph or presentation. 

Storytelling is not an inherent skill, especially when it comes to data visualization, and the tools at our disposal don't make it any easier. This book demonstrates how to go beyond conventional tools to reach the root of your data, and how to use your data to create an engaging, informative, compelling story. Specifically, you'll learn how to: 

Understand the importance of context and audience
Determine the appropriate type of graph for your situation
Recognize and eliminate the clutter clouding your information
Direct your audience's attention to the most important parts of your data
Think like a designer and utilize concepts of design in data visualization
Leverage the power of storytelling to help your message resonate with your audience 

Together, the lessons in this book will help you turn your data into high impact visual stories that stick with your audience. Rid your world of ineffective graphs, one exploding 3D pie chart at a time. There is a story in your data—Storytelling with Data will give you the skills and power to tell it!

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