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The Best American Infographics 2014 Paperback – Oct 14 2014

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2014 ed. edition (Oct. 14 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547974515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547974514
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 22.2 x 29.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #97,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Not only is it a thing of beauty, it's also a good read, with thoughtful explanations of each winning graphic."
- Nature

"You'll come away with more than your share of… mind-bending moments - and a wide ranging view of what infographics can do."
- H arvard Business Review

"Represents the full spectrum of the genre - from authoritative to playful."
- Scientific American

"A stunning collection. . . . I learned something new from each entry." -Kelly Krause , Nature

"Infographics have this wonderful ability to inspire people to act and get involved."
-Karl De Torres

"Information, in its raw form, can overwhelm us. Finding the visual form of data can simplify this deluge into pearls of understand."
-Kim Rees


From the Back Cover

The rise of infographics across virtually all print and electronic media from a striking breakdown of classic cocktails to a graphic tracking 200 influential moments that changed the world to visually arresting depictions of Twitter traffic reveals patterns in our lives and our world in fresh and surprising ways. In the era of big data, where information moves faster than ever, infographics provide us with quick, often influential bursts of art and knowledge on the environment, politics, social issues, health, sports, arts and culture, and more to digest, to tweet, to share, to go viral.
"The Best American Infographics" captures the finest examples from the past year, including the ten best interactive infographics, of this mesmerizing new way of seeing and understanding our world.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x967c354c) out of 5 stars 46 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97f5618c) out of 5 stars Thought Provoking Visuals Oct. 6 2014
By Librarian - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Every detail of this title is well-designed, logically organized and carefully curated. From the detailed introductions, to the sensible part/chapter designations to the back's all engaging stuff. I particularly appreciated the footnotes added to each info-graphic and the "Brain Trust" designer profiles. This book is a literal round up of the best of the best--on page, you'll find some of the most provocative and talked about pieces published. Even the cover, which is a specially commissioned info-graphic These entries illuminate, collapsing concepts and data into easy-to-grasp visuals. Some are serious (Racism on Social Media by Geographic Area) and some are whimsical (How about a map of the London Tube system, as mapped by a person who experiences synesthesia?), but all are interesting. My one gripe is that since my copy is a review copy, it was printed in black and white and did not include some of the gatefold pages. I'm assuming that the final title will be printed in glorious color. All the better to analyze.
This one's a winner.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97f56b34) out of 5 stars Picture > 700 Words Oct. 16 2014
By Mary Esterhammer-Fic - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I am very much a visual learner. I love getting information from pictures and charts. I am a map person (vs. GPS, which is also an infographic, but a constantly changing one), and I studied for my vet tech classes by creating my own infographic notes. I didn't know they had a name, but that's what they were!

It's great to see that this medium, or genre, or whatever it is, has earned some recognition. Kudos to Best American editors for presenting this annual volume.

It's easy to take the "art" side of this for granted: after all, what's so difficult about a Venn diagram or color-coded table? But if not produced by a deft hand and a sharp mind, the reader/observer is merely subjected to a lot of meaningless gobbledygook. In order to really convey its message, the infographic has to be engaging, accurate and memorable.

Today, we're bombarded by visuals. We want to be able to take a "snapshot" of data and then wade in further. That's what the best of these do. The range of creativity is impressive. In short: most of the book is very, very cool.

I had run across a few of these before in their original publications, but it was fun to revisit them.

The book is divided into four sections: You, Us, The Material World, and Interactive. Some of these provide useful information ("The Perfect Wine for the Meal" or "How to Pick a Pope"), fun trivia ("Previously, On Arrested Development") or fascinating takes on topics we may not know much about (including baseball park design, judging surfboarders, and the species health of wild bees).

"A Fire Disaster Unfolds" was interesting to me, because my husband is a Chicago firefighter. One of my favorites is "A Literal Meaning of the States," which is a map of the US but with place names translated into English: Chicago IL becomes "Stink Onion, Land of those who speak normally." (This would actually make a great poster.) There's even one illustrating the differences between the poop of different African mammal species, important in the field of conservation.

I also appreciated the brief blurbs explaining how the creative teams came up with their approach, why a game board graphic works for one idea but dots work better for something else.

This is all current information, too, for which the Best American series is known. There is no way anyone can dig out all this alone; you're lucky to happen across some of it. But Best American assembles lots of good examples in one place for you.

Having said that, there is also always an editor bias when picking what to include. If you prefer objective, versus partisan, information, you may not appreciate some of the infographics that made the final cut. I'll just come out and say this: left-leaning views are presented, but there is no counterbalance.

And going with the saying that "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics," and since many of these graphics are basically attempts at explaining statistics, there are a few that are problematic.Example: what is hate speech? The "Hate Map" illustrates where, in the US, people are likely to use terms that are racist, anti-homosexual or anti-disabled. But these only reflect what can be tracked on Twitter by county. That's not specific enough. "The N-word," for example, may have been tweeted by a black person to another black person. I think the "tweeter" would object if accused of hate speech. If that person lives in Chicago, which is in Cook County, was the tweet from mostly-white Mt. Greenwood or mostly-black Roseland?

I won't get into the anti-gun bias, but if that's a "trigger" issue for you, think twice about this book.

I also had to ding this one star because I am not really sure how the quality of some of these infographics really play out.

The edition I received was a free review copy from the Vine program. As such, it's understood to be an advance/not finalized version, so the reviewer (me) is not supposed to deduct points for things like a missing index, which may appear in the final product.

In this case, there were no three-page spreads--"gatefolds"--which WILL be added. But, I can't say the infographics in those particular cases were good, bad or in between. And they did sound like they would be really interesting.

Worse, and I think this is something the publisher may want to think about, is that all of these were in black-and-white. Even if the paper quality in the advance copy remains more economical, and even without a full spectrum, it would have been really helpful to have SOME color.

Many of these entries can be understood clearly without color, which in any case would enhance the effect. But some of them depended on gradations of color, so the black-and-white version simply did not make sense at all. So, in the end, I didn't find certain infographics meaningful not because they were in black and white, but because when I tried to imagine them in color, they didn't grab me. Maybe they would have, but I just couldn't make the leap.

I hope the color version does justice to these graphics. If so, you may want to have a look at this. (But probably not if you're color-blind. I am not being facetious. You would miss much.)

And be aware that several of these infographics are meant to persuade more than to inform. You may want to pass this up if you don't like being subjected to propaganda.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97f5660c) out of 5 stars I purchased the 2013 version of this book and it was great to flip through it Oct. 15 2014
By Eric Byers - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
These are not your standard infographics, where buzzfeed or someone else puts on a chart some random data. These are highly researched compressed chunks of data that make it easier to understand the actual data. I purchased the 2013 version of this book and it was great to flip through it, and one of those books that goes great on the coffee table. Not just silly pictures or maps, but actual things you learn.

The 2014 version of this continues on that trend, and even better adds the incredible Nate Silver to the byline.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97f56f60) out of 5 stars Good and Often Interesting Infographics Oct. 17 2014
By William Carpenter - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
The Best American Infographics 2014 is a nicely designed collection of 68 infographics selected from those published in 2013. There are some great examples here that use good data and data-rich graphics to present a data-dense analysis. There are some good examples that lack data density or multiple dimensions of information. And there are some merely cute infographics that do not have much of a story to tell. The infographics are presented in four sections - You, Us, The Material World, and Interactive.

Here you will find interesting graphics on such topics as how to pick a pope, how to be happy, cheese, and social networks. You will also find less-interesting graphics on Justin Bieber, dung, and 100 geniuses organized by Kabbalistic sephirot (perhaps the strangest infographic in the book).

The gold standard for the graphic display of data is Edward Tufte's The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and many of these examples fall short of the kind of information rich graphics that he discusses.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97f57128) out of 5 stars Proving that information can be elegant, easy to understand and beautiful Oct. 23 2014
By Wayne A McCoy - Published on
Format: Paperback
'The Best American Infographics 2014' is a mind-boggling compendium of facts distilled down to image form. This collection represents the best of the past year in this art and data form for America.

The book is divided into four categories: You, Us, Material World and Interactive. The infographics range all over the place. A circular graph shows various cheeses based on source and hardness or softness. The same circle is used to show how long a song takes to reach the charts in various categories of music. There is an underground map with stations named after the flavors a man with synesthesia associates with them. There are charts for baseball and animal droppings and wine pairings and Justin Bieber. It just goes on and each one is beautiful and intersting.

I spent lots of time soaking this book in. The ability to distill large data into something easier to digest and elegant is truly an interesting modern artform. There are infographics from major publications, but also from blogs. I really enjoyed this book.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley in exchange for and honest review. Thank you for allowing me to read this beautiful ebook.