Saturday, March 20, 2010

"The Visual Miscellaneum" by David McCandless

A very colorful and thought provoking book. The use of graphs to illustrate our daily lives is fairly common. But what do they really tell us? What are they beyond acturial tables? This book explores that question about graphs in an unusual way - by the use of graphs!

Some are very insightful- such as the ones entitled "World Religions" and "Dangers of Death." These two, particularly, are real insights into the news that you see each day and how disproportinate that news is to real life. Really remarkable statements, made bolder by the use of vivid colors.

The graphs showing Internet Connections are extraordinary, as they illustrate the way in which we are all now connected in this new global order. We are all connected to someone who is connected to someone else and so why are we still fighting? A wonderful concept and one that does make you stop and think.

I have to take note that there are some political graphs here, such as the one showing all the nations of the world ranked by the #1 thing they are known for. It has the United States listed as #1 in Serial Killers. And the rest of the world as #1in, let's say, single parent families. This graph is flawed, as it does not address any issue "apple to apples". If it were to show, by comparison, Iraq, as the #1 Beheaders in contrast to our being #1 in Serial Killers, then I could take that graph more seriously.

Aside from that, this book is a wonderful visual experience which can only serve to enrich the reader.

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