A leading data visualization expert explores the negative—and positive—influences that charts have on our perception of truth.
Today, public conversations are increasingly driven by numbers. While charts, infographics, and diagrams can make us smarter, they can also deceive—intentionally or unintentionally. To be informed citizens, we must all be able to decode and use the visual information that politicians, journalists, and even our employers present us with each day. Demystifying an essential new literacy for our data-driven world, How Charts Lie examines contemporary examples ranging from election result infographics to global GDP maps and box office record charts, as well as an updated afterword on the graphics of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alberto Cairo is the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the School of Communication of the University of Miami. He has consulted with companies and institutions such as Google and the Congressional Budget Office on visualizations. He lives in Miami, Florida.
Table of Contents
Prologue: A World Brimming with Charts xiii
Chapter 1 How Charts Work 21
Chapter 2 Charts That Lie by Being Poorly Designed 53
Chapter 3 Charts That Lie by Displaying Dubious Data 81
Chapter 4 Charts That Lie by Displaying Insufficient Data 107
Chapter 5 Charts That Lie by Concealing or Confusing Uncertainty 135
Chapter 6 Charts That Lie by Suggesting Misleading Patterns 153
Conclusion: Don't Lie to Yourself (or to Others) with Charts 175