Information visualization is a language. Like any language, it can be used for multiple purposes. A poem, a novel, and an essay all share the same language, but each one has its own set of rules. The same is true with information visualization: a product manager, statistician, and graphic designer each approach visualization from different perspectives.
Data at Work was written with you, the spreadsheet user, in mind. This book will teach you how to think about and organize data in ways that directly relate to your work, using the skills you already have. In other words, you don’t need to be a graphic designer to create functional, elegant charts: this book will show you how.
Although all of the examples in this book were created in Microsoft Excel, this is not a book about how to use Excel. Data at Work will help you to know which type of chart to use and how to format it, regardless of which spreadsheet application you use and whether or not you have any design experience. In this book, you’ll learn how to extract, clean, and transform data; sort data points to identify patterns and detect outliers; and understand how and when to use a variety of data visualizations including bar charts, slope charts, strip charts, scatter plots, bubble charts, boxplots, and more.
Because this book is not a manual, it never specifies the steps required to make a chart, but the relevant charts will be available online for you to download, with brief explanations of how they were created.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is excellent. For better or worse, Excel is everywhere. Using it well for data visualization is beyond most people (and books!), but Jorge has you covered. His book is an excellent introduction and detailed guide to visualization core principles and best practices. Excel just happens to be Jorge's tool for communicating, and that makes his tips feel "accessible" to everyone. No obscure data vis tools or software are needed! That said, it does not read like a how-to in Excel, the focus is on design and presentation. All the data files are available on a separate book site. For me, this makes the book twice as useful, and I immediately added it to the top of my list of recommended references on data visualization.
I purchased "Show me the numbers" by Stephen Few, "Storytelling with Data" by Cole Knaflic, and "Data at Work" by Camoes to improve some excel templates I maintain. I think Data at Work was the best of the three, with a strong overview of perception and information theory combined with a wide range of practical guidelines and examples.
Few's book is massive and comprehensive, but generally too detailed to be easily approachable. Knaflic's book is very much about the storytelling aspect, which is great if you're investing some serious time in individual graphs for something like a quarterly report (once you have the data and know what you want to say), but Data at Work had more content and example that were applicable to something like template building.
I became aware of this book in Twitter and decided to give it a shot. I was impressed with all of its content. I can tell Jorge spent a long time writing and researching this book. This is not another Excel book from the mill. It uses Excel charts only to illustrate how to approach data challenges. I strongly recommend this book if you are seeking new perspectives on how to present data. It is a much comprehensive book than most of the colorful "pretty chart" visualization and "difficult to understand" data science books available from Amazon.
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