Monday, May 03, 2010

Information Is Beautiful

I bought this book at the weekend, and as the title suggests, it's one of the most beautifully informative things I've ever seen.

David McCandless is an illustrator specialising in information graphics. That is, he makes hard things like maths and statistics and charts easy to interpret by showing us pictures and using colours and shapes. Just what I need, since I find politics and stats and maths don't suit my generally rather simple right-leaning brain (in a cognitive, not a political sense).

For example it took me just a few seconds to learn that almost exactly the same amount of people die from suicide (71m) as die from smoking (70m). One might argue they are the same thing, but that's not why the book exists.

I now know the most-viewed viral on the web. I have a better understanding of the relationship that Israel has to its neighbours. I also know that all the fizzy pop bottle caps being undone in the US releases more carbon than a flight, and that a vegan diet is the most carbon-friendly you can possibly have. Indeed the book is an enormous and delicious feast that you can dip into like a good pot of organic houmous, and is backed by a sprightly website, its own path to existence tracked by a graph in the back pages.

Yep, file this under 'This is Brilliant: Must Try Harder'.

See also: Stefanie Posavec - how I would love to see what these people's brains look like!

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