Posts Tagged ‘Edward Tufte’
While I visited family in Louisville last week, I browsed through Carmichael’s bookstore, of the last independent book sellers in the city. I ran into a section of books called “Introducing …. A Graphic Guide.” The titles ranged from Introducing Freud: A Graphic Guide to Introducing Buddha: A Graphic Guide. The one on statistics caught my eye, so I bought it and read it over the next couple days. Read the rest of this entry »
Over my past several visits to bookstores and Amazon, I’d found two books of especial interest: The Back of the Napkin, by Dan Roam, and Visual Meetings, by David Sibbet. After reading a few reviews and taking a closer look at them, I decided to read The Back of the Napkin first, and hold off reading Visual Meetings.
Despite spending a good part of my career in consulting and executive education, I struggle with creating compelling visuals to convey key messages. Read the rest of this entry »
Bill Wyman has an excellent analysis of newspapers’s visual displays on their websites. As you can tell from his title, he doesn’t think much of most media websites. Edward Tufte offers another excellent analysis of newspapers on the web, analyzing the development of the Washington Post site over time.
Below are three of the articles I read this weekend.
Just the Facts, by Peggy Noonan. She makes a similar point to Edward Tufte’s about eliminating presentation fluff; she emphasizes removing fluff from speeches, at least in certain moments.
Wall Street Journal’s Weekend Interview with Seth Lipsky. Lipsky says the burgeoning role of government has people questioning the proper role of government in their lives.
The Cult of the Faceless Boss, which laments the demise of the flamboyant, visionary business leader. The article also raises other, implicit, questions:
- Must business leaders exhibit these traits to be successful?
- Or, is Jim Collins, who argues against these types of leadership traits in Good to Great and Built to Last, correct?
- Do visionary and flamboyant leadership traits always go together? Must they?
- Can different leadership styles be equally effective?
- Do different situations – cultures, companies, organizational ethos – demand different leadership styles?
In the spring, I attended Edward Tufte’s one-day course on presenting data and information. I read his book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, several years ago, as well as his screed against PowerPoint, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint, and imagined his course would be similarly provocative. I was not disappointed.
Tufte began with general guidelines about design and presenting information. Followers of his work and readers of his books know his maxim that design follows content. Those three words convey his teachings well: design follows content. People make presentations to show data, demonstrate causality and draw intellectual connections; they do not make presentations to show off pretty colors, write in fancy fonts or dazzle the audience with a lightshow.