Which quant books have you found most helpful for Data Visualization ?

(Last Updated On: April 8, 2011)

Which quant books have you found most helpful for Data Visualization ?

In addition to Mr. Tufte books, does anyone have any how to book recommendation for visualization. I am looking for something that can use with any open source SW or even MS Excel

I found the book “Back of the Napkin” by Dan Roam to be a good book about thinking visually. It is not a book about how to use any particular visualization software. In fact, producing visualizations with software is not the emphasis of the book at all. It’s about breaking down a problem and representing it visually using hand-produced drawings, your eyes, and your brain. It gives you a framework to decide the chart type and coordinates that are most appropriate in a systematic way. I’m still reading the book now and I love it. I highly recommend it!

• I’ve enjoyed books by Stephen Few. “Now you see it”, “Show Me the Numbers”, and Information Dashboard Design”.
Before getting his books I followed his blog and subscribed to his newsletter.

Check if this helps : http://www.delicious.com/venkat83/visualization

I would suggest informationisbeautiful.net by David McCandless. Deals less with numerical information but nevertheless highlights the importance of visual communication.

In addition to Tufte, Cleveland is another classic author on data visualization.

Stephen Few has a disciplined approach to data viz … http://www.perceptualedge.com/library.php#Books

I can recommend two O’Reilly’s books, a bargain for what they provide, also as ebook.

Beautiful Data http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596157128
Beautiful Visualization http://oreilly.com/catalog/0636920000617

Unrelated, but nice to share:
Gallery of Wikipedia visualizations at:

If you want to get some ideas for Data Vis. you could do worse that looking at the basic and advanced charts, graphics galleries and manuals here:


and the matplotlib documentation here:


For a very practical approach to graphs & tables, “Show Me The Numbers” by Stephen Few is hard to beat, and if you only read one book that would be it. “Back of the Napkin” is helpful to organize thoughts & explain concepts. McCandless prioritizes aesthetics first, content second. Beautiful Data/Beautiful Visualization read more like a collection of essays & don’t present a unified theory (although they are interesting reading too).

Thanks for posting this question. I’ve appreciated reading everyone’s input. Another excellent blog for data visualization is “Flowing Data” (flowingdata.com). I have found a number of their entries to be insightful and useful (one of my favorites is the 2010 World Cup Imports). I’d also suggest snooping around Tufte’s website and spending some time on the “Ask E.T. forum”. This is a heavily-utilized bulletin board where professionals have been open and candid in sharing sources and critiques.

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