Alberto Cairo has penned some of my favorite data visualization books—The Functional Art and The Truthful Art—and he has a new one coming out that I’ve already added to my list of recommended reads: How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information. This book should be in the library of anyone who ever looks at a graph. It should especially be read by everyone who makes graphs, as it is packed with things we should all be aware of and consider when we design data communications for others.
I had an opportunity to get an advanced copy of and to chat with Alberto about it recently. I love talking with Alberto—he is thoughtful, eloquent, and full of inspiring ideas. I found myself nodding during much of our conversation. He raised one point in particular that I found provocative (in a really good way): the idea that we—as the designers of graphs and charts—have a “responsibility to improve the craft,” expanding graphical literacy and innovating to come up with better ways to display and communicate data.
I invite you to listen to our conversation about this and much more related to How Charts Lie (including a number of recommendations for additional reading, which you’ll find listed below).
Summary: If good graphs empower us to pose good questions, what happens on the dark side of data viz? In this episode, Cole talks with Alberto Cairo about his new book, How Charts Lie. Their conversation delves into how information designers and consumers are both to blame and mindfulness as it relates to chart making and interpretation. Tune in also to hear tips to keep from spreading misinformation, why “essay” is a beautiful word, and Alberto’s optimism for the future of data visualization.
Listening time: 1:03:30 | Related links:
Order How Charts Lie
Book: Factfulness (Rosling)
Book: For Argument’s Sake (Stafford)
Book: How to Lie with Maps (Monmonier)
Book: Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) (Tavris & Aronson)
Book: Naked Statistics (Wheelan)
Book: Picturing the Uncertain World (Wainer)
Book: The Enigma of Reason (Mercier & Sperber)
Book: The Righteous Mind (Haidt)
Book: Thinking Fast & Slow (Kahneman)
Visual essays: The Pudding
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