Graphic Discovery: A Trout in the Milk and Other Visual Adventures / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$28.79
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
$21.80
(Save 31%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $3.27
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 89%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (16) from $3.27   
  • New (5) from $18.98   
  • Used (11) from $3.27   

Overview

"The use of charts and graphs to make numbers both intelligible and memorable is a surprisingly modern idea. How this idea grew from a curiosity into a basic tool of modern science is a story of remarkable men and curious paradoxes, a story that Howard Wainer tells with zest and sympathetic understanding. Informative, readable, profoundly engaging."—George A. Miller, Princeton University, author of The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two

"I liked this book very much indeed. It will be very useful to the many who are interested in the interplay of forces that have yielded modern science."—Eric T. Bradlow, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

"Fascinating. This book . . . the first to explore the chronological development of graphical data display . . . should be required reading for statisticians, applied researchers, scientists, and certainly for all journalists."—I. Elaine Allen, Babson College

"A delightful and thought-provoking book on statistical graphics. Wainer provides compact case studies of how graphical presentations such as bar charts, plots, and scattergrams can lead to important discoveries. The most compelling examples show how a published graphic could be dramatically improved to avoid misleading interpretations or make new discoveries. The most entertaining parts are his vignettes of historical figures, such as his twin heroes of William Playfair and John Tukey. I enjoyed Wainer's sardonic wit, personal anecdotes, and popular culture references, but the real gift was the clarity of thinking and the wise guidance about deep issues in statistics, data mining, and information visualization."—Ben Shneiderman, College Park, MD

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

American Statistician
Wainer's wit and broad intellect make this a very entertaining book.
MAA Online - Raymond N. Greenwell
During a dairyman's strike in 19th century New England, when there was suspicion of milk being watered down, Henry David Thoreau wrote, 'Sometimes circumstantial evidence can be quite convincing; like when you find a trout in the milk.' Howard Wainer uses this as a metaphor in his entertaining, informative, and persuasive book on graphs, or the visual communication of information. Sometimes a well-designed graph tells a very convincing story.
Personnel Psychology - Malcolm James Ree
This book may be seen as a chronology of graphic date presentation beginning with Playfair to the present and pointing toward the future. . . . It is a remarkable value that every practitioner of statistics can afford.
Computational Statistics - Thomas E. Bradstreet
Graphic Discovery is a welcome addition to the literature on investigation and effective communication through graphic display. It contains a wealth of information and opinions, which are motivated and illustrated through a plethora of real life examples which can be easily incorporated into any educational setting: classroom, seminar, self-enhancement. . . . This book will be useful to and it can be mastered by a diverse readership.
da Pickle

Wainer's wit and broad intellect make this a very entertaining book.
From the Publisher
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2005

"Well written and innovative. . . . The book is fascinating with its wide view, including introductions to historical personalities, analyses of statistical paradoxes, and well-documented discussions of actual uses of visual data to mislead viewers."—Choice

"During a dairyman's strike in 19th century New England, when there was suspicion of milk being watered down, Henry David Thoreau wrote, 'Sometimes circumstantial evidence can be quite convincing; like when you find a trout in the milk.' Howard Wainer uses this as a metaphor in his entertaining, informative, and persuasive book on graphs, or the visual communication of information. Sometimes a well-designed graph tells a very convincing story."—Raymond N. Greenwell, MAA Online

"Wainer's wit and broad intellect make this a very entertaining book."—Linda Pickle, ,American Statistician

"[A] personalized and readable jaunt through the history of charting."—The Economist

"This book may be seen as a chronology of graphic date presentation beginning with Playfair to the present and pointing toward the future. . . . It is a remarkable value that every practitioner of statistics can afford."—Malcolm James Ree, Personnel Psychology

"Graphic Discovery is a welcome addition to the literature on investigation and effective communication through graphic display. It contains a wealth of information and opinions, which are motivated and illustrated through a plethora of real life examples which can be easily incorporated into any educational setting: classroom, seminar, self-enhancement. . . . This book will be useful to and it can be mastered by a diverse readership."—Thomas E. Bradstreet, Computational Statistics

Choice
Well written and innovative. . . . The book is fascinating with its wide view, including introductions to historical personalities, analyses of statistical paradoxes, and well-documented discussions of actual uses of visual data to mislead viewers.
MAA Online
During a dairyman's strike in 19th century New England, when there was suspicion of milk being watered down, Henry David Thoreau wrote, 'Sometimes circumstantial evidence can be quite convincing; like when you find a trout in the milk.' Howard Wainer uses this as a metaphor in his entertaining, informative, and persuasive book on graphs, or the visual communication of information. Sometimes a well-designed graph tells a very convincing story.
— Raymond N. Greenwell
Personnel Psychology
This book may be seen as a chronology of graphic date presentation beginning with Playfair to the present and pointing toward the future. . . . It is a remarkable value that every practitioner of statistics can afford.
— Malcolm James Ree
Computational Statistics
Graphic Discovery is a welcome addition to the literature on investigation and effective communication through graphic display. It contains a wealth of information and opinions, which are motivated and illustrated through a plethora of real life examples which can be easily incorporated into any educational setting: classroom, seminar, self-enhancement. . . . This book will be useful to and it can be mastered by a diverse readership.
— Thomas E. Bradstreet
The Economist
[A] personalized and readable jaunt through the history of charting.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691134055
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 10.04 (w) x 7.64 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Howard Wainer is Distinguished Research Scientist for the National Board of Medical Examiners and Adjunct Professor of Statistics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of fifteen other books.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface xiii
Introduction 1
In the sixteenth century, the bubonic plague provided the motivation for the English to begin gathering data on births, marriages, and deaths. These data, the Bills of Mortality, were the grist that Dr. John Arbuthnot used to prove the existence of God. Unwittingly, he also provided strong evidence that data graphs were not yet part of a scientist's tools.

Part I: William Playfair and the Origins of Graphical Display Chapter 1: Why Playfair? 9
All of the pieces were in place for the invention of statistical graphics long before Playfair was born. Why didn't anyone else invent them? Why did Playfair?

Chapter 2: Who Was Playfair? 20
by Ian Spence and Howard Wainer
William Playfair (1759-1823) was an inventor and ardent advocate of statistical graphics. Here we tell a bit about his life.

Chapter 3: William Playfair: A Daring Worthless Fellow 24
by Ian Spence and Howard Wainer
Audacity was an important personality trait for the invention of graphics because the inventor had to move counter to the Cartesian approach to science. We illustrate this quality in Playfair by describing his failed attempt to blackmail one of the richest lords of Great Britain.

Chapter 4: Scaling the Heights (and Widths) 28
The message conveyed by a statistical graphic can be distorted by manipulating the aspect ratio, the ratio of a graph's width to its height. Playfair deployed this ability in a masterly way, providing a guide to future display technology.

Chapter 5: A Priestley View of International Currency Exchanges 39
A recent plot of the operating hours of international currency exchanges confuses matters terribly. Why? We find that when we use a different graphical form, developed by Joseph Priestley in 1765, the structure becomes clear. We also learn how Priestley discovered the latent graphicacy in his (and our) audiences.

Chapter 6: Tom's Veggies and the American Way 44
European intellectuals were not the only ones graphing data. During a visit to Paris (and prompted by letters from Benjamin Franklin), Thomas Jefferson learned of this invention and he later put it to a more practical use than the depiction of the life spans of heroes from classical antiquity.

Chapter 7: The Graphical Inventions of Dubourg and Ferguson: Two Precursors to William Playfair 47
Although he developed the line chart independently, Priestley was not the first to do so. The earliest seems to be the Parisian physician Jacques Barbeau-Dubourg (1709-1779), who created a wonderful graphical scroll in 1753. Graphical representation must have been in the air, for the Scottish philosopher Adam Ferguson (1723-1816) added his version of time lines to the mix in 1780.

Chapter 8: Winds across Europe: Francis Galton and the Graphic Discovery of Weather Patterns 52
In 1861, Francis Galton organized weather observatories throughout Western Europe to gather data in a standardized way. He organized these data and presented them as a series of ninety-three maps and charts, from which he confirmed the existence of the anticyclonic movement of winds around a low-pressure zone.

Part II: Using Graphical Displays to Understand the Modern World

Chapter 9: A Graphical Investigation of the Scourge of Vietnam 59
During the Vietnam War, average SAT scores went down for those students who were not in the military. In addition, the average ASVAB scores (the test used by the military to classify all members of the military) also declined. This Lake Wobegon-like puzzle is solved graphically.

Chapter 10: Two Mind-Bending Statistical Paradoxes 63
The odd phenomenon observed with test scores during the Vietnam War is not unusual. We illustrate this seeming paradox with other instances, show how to avoid them, and then discuss an even subtler statistical pitfall that has entrapped many illustrious would-be data analysts.

Chapter 11: Order in the Court 72
How one orders the elements of a graph is critical to its comprehensibility. We look at a New York Times graphic depicting the voting records of U.S. Supreme Court justices and show that reordering the graphic provides remarkable insight into the operation of the court.

Chapter 12: No Order in the Court 78
We examine one piece of the evidence presented in the 1998 murder trial of State v. Gibbs and show how the defense attorneys, by misordering the data in the graph shown to the judge, miscommunicated a critical issue in their argument.

Chapter 13: Like a Trout in the Milk 81
Thoreau pointed out that sometimes circumstantial evidence can be quite convincing, as when you find a trout in the milk. We examine a fascinating graph that provides compelling evidence of industrial malfeasance.

Chapter 14: Scaling the Market 86
We examine the stock market and show that different kinds of scalings provide the answers to different levels of questions. One long view suggests a fascinating conjecture about the trade-offs between investing in stocks and investing in real estate.

Chapter 15: Sex, Smoking, and Life Insurance: A Graphical View 90
We examine two risk factors for life insurance—sex and smoking—and uncover the implicit structure that underlies insurance premiums.

Chapter 16: There They Go Again! 97
The New York Times is better than most media sources for statistical graphics, but even the Times has occasional relapses to an earlier time in which confusing displays ran rampant over its pages. We discuss some recent slips and compare them with prior practice.

Chapter 17: Sex and Sports: How Quickly Are Women Gaining? 103
A simple graph of winning times in the Boston Marathon augmented by a fitted line provides compelling, but incorrect, evidence for the relative gains that women athletes have made over the past few decades. A more careful analysis provides a better notion of the changing size of the sex differences in athletic performances.

Chapter 18: Clear Thinking Made Visible: Redesigning Score Reports for Students 109
Too often communications focus on what the transmitter thinks is important rather than on what the receiver is most critically interested in. The standard SAT score report that is sent to more than one million high school students annually is one such example. Here we revise this report using principles abstracted from another missive sent to selected high school students.

Part III: Graphical Displays in the Twenty-first Century
The three chapters of this section grew out of a continuing conversation with John W. Tukey, the renowned Princeton polymath, on the graphical tools that were likely to be helpful when data were displayed on a computer screen rather than a piece of paper. These conversations began shortly after Tukey's eighty-fourth birthday and continued for more than a year, ending the night before he died.

Chapter 19: John Wilder Tukey: The Father of Twenty-first-Century Graphical Display 117
Chapter 20: Graphical Tools for the Twenty-first Century: I. Spinning and Slicing 125
Chapter 21: Graphical Tools for the Twenty-first Century: II. Nearness and Smoothing Engines 134

Chapter 22: Epilogue: A Selection of Selection Anomalies 142
Graphical displays are only as good as the data from which they are composed. In this final chapter we examine an all too frequent data flaw. The effects of nonsampling errors deserve greater attention, especially when randomization is absent. Formal statistical analysis treats only some of the uncertainties. In this chapter we describe three examples of how flawed inferences can be made from nonrandomly obtained samples and suggest a strategy to guard against flawed inferences.

Conclusion 150
Dramatis Personae 151
This graphical epic has more than one hundred characters. Some play major roles, but most are cameos. To help keep straight who is who, this section contains thumbnail biographies of all the players.

Notes 173
References 177
Index 185

Read More Show Less

Recipe

"The use of charts and graphs to make numbers both intelligible and memorable is a surprisingly modern idea. How this idea grew from a curiosity into a basic tool of modern science is a story of remarkable men and curious paradoxes, a story that Howard Wainer tells with zest and sympathetic understanding. Informative, readable, profoundly engaging."—George A. Miller, Princeton University, author of The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two

"I liked this book very much indeed. It will be very useful to the many who are interested in the interplay of forces that have yielded modern science."—Eric T. Bradlow, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

"Fascinating. This book . . . the first to explore the chronological development of graphical data display . . . should be required reading for statisticians, applied researchers, scientists, and certainly for all journalists."—I. Elaine Allen, Babson College

"A delightful and thought-provoking book on statistical graphics. Wainer provides compact case studies of how graphical presentations such as bar charts, plots, and scattergrams can lead to important discoveries. The most compelling examples show how a published graphic could be dramatically improved to avoid misleading interpretations or make new discoveries. The most entertaining parts are his vignettes of historical figures, such as his twin heroes of William Playfair and John Tukey. I enjoyed Wainer's sardonic wit, personal anecdotes, and popular culture references, but the real gift was the clarity of thinking and the wise guidance about deep issues in statistics, data mining, and information visualization."—Ben Shneiderman,College Park, MD

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)