As you should know by now, I love reference books. While my faves are big comprehensive books – on most any subject – I also like the increasingly common books that combine random facts. The very popular Schott’s Miscellany books always enlighten me with new ideas and facts, and a long-ago book The People’s Almanac was a wonder.
I also love good design. Under the leadership of author-expert Edward Tufte, there are more and more books about the design of visual information (his booklet on PowerPoint is a hoot!). There are also interesting and beautiful data websites such as www.Informationisbeautiful.net, www.flowingdata.com, www.infosthetics.com, and www.visualcomplexity.com.
A new book that contains a wonderful array of cool graphic displays of interesting information is The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World’s Most Consequential Trivia by David McCandless. You gotta love any book that refers to “Consequential Trivia.” That sounds like the story of my life, always asking about stuff no one else was asking about, which I thought seemed very important.
So gander at some of these graphic representations of data in this very cool book:
· The connections of all the genres of dance music. (How do House and Techno relate to Disco?)
· Moral Matrix. (Which behaviors are banned in which churches, glorified in others?)
· The periodic table of condiments (based on which ones spoil the fastest).
· Loevinger’s stages of self-development (the book contains cool psychological info, even Spiral Dynamics).
· The evolution of the computer (with little pictures of past models).
· Complementary tastes (if you like this flavor, then you will like …).
· Behind every great man … a table about the wives of dictators.
· Who owns the top 100 websites?
· Which years are the best for wine?
· Which fish are okay to eat?
· A timeline of global media scare stories.
And, to quote Cher, the list goes on…over 100 cool data visualizations.
As you also know, I spend about 30 minutes with the average book. This ain’t no average book. I could spend 10 minutes on every page of this book, thinking about the implications of the information that is so well-presented. Hoover’s in heaven now!