Show Me the Numbers

Show Me the Numbers – Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten, by Stephen Few.

I read this book based on a strong recommendation from Chip Denman during his presentation on “Information and Disinformation.” He recommended it during the Q & A session, in response to a question about what to read to learn how to communicate effectively with tables and graphs. He said that this book was the practical place to start, after Tufte’s books.

I enjoyed it. The book is like a textbook, in size, binding and page layout. There is plenty of room in the margins for notes and problem answers. Early on, Few encourages the ready to use the margins for note-taking. The organization of the book was very, very logical. You could tell while you were reading it that the principles of the text had been applied to the text.

In general, the book taught me how to decide whether to use text, a table or a graph. Then I learned how to maximize the effectiveness of the table or graph, based on the theories of visual communication. I should point out that I have never read anything about this subject before. I was fascinated by it. On to his book on Dashboards next.


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