How Charts Lie

Getting Smarter about Visual Information

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How Charts Lie (Hardcover, 2019, W. W. Norton Company)

Hardcover, 256 pages

English language

Published Oct. 19, 2019 by W. W. Norton Company.


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4 stars (3 reviews)

A leading data visualization expert explores the negative - and positive - influences that charts have on our perception of truth.

We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if we don’t understand what we’re looking at? Social media has made charts, infographics, and diagrams ubiquitous - and easier to share than ever. While such visualizations can better inform us, they can also deceive by displaying incomplete or inaccurate data, suggesting misleading patterns - or simply misinform us by being poorly designed, such as the confusing “eye of the storm” maps shown on TV every hurricane season.

Many of us are ill equipped to interpret the visuals that politicians, journalists, advertisers, and even employers present each day, enabling bad actors to easily manipulate visuals to promote their own agendas. Public conversations are increasingly driven by numbers, and to make sense of them we must be …

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