I heard a lot of good things about Edward Tufte's books, and was told he was THE expert on graphics. When I was asked to read this book for work, I eagerly agreed and ordered it straight away. Now I'm sorry I wasted my time.
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information is poorly organized, and Tufte contradicts himself in many places. He includes a quote from E. B. White recommending that writers trust in their readers' intelligence, yet he does not. Everything is broken down bit by bit so that the intelligent reader must skim over half the content of the book to avoid wasting his or her time. While the ideas behind the book are good, the voice is condescending and irritating. In addition, the bizarre layout of the book is heavily unbalanced; some pages have several inches of white space all the way down the right hand side of the page, while others are so full of text and graphics that it is difficult to tell to what the citations refer, giving the page a jumbled, disorganized appearance. This is disappointing; Tufte says in the introduction that he controlled the book's layout, yet he, an expert in the art of visual display, produces an unblanced and jumbled display? I am sorry I bothered reading this book, and would urge others to avoid it.