Thursday, December 12, 2013

My favorite books in 2013

Christmas is almost here, so I've decided to pick the best books I've read in 2013, five related to visualization and infographics, five about other topics (see the complete list here.) This may be helpful if you need to buy gifts for bookworm friends or relatives:

Related to infographics

• Isabel Meirelles' Design for Information. I praised this book recently, so I'm not going to repeat my comments here. This one is simply mandatory if you are interested in design.

• Stephen Few's Information Dashboard Design, 2nd edition. I wrote a blurb for its back cover, so you may guess that I really like it.

• Tom Koch's Disease Maps. I'm a fan of Koch's previous book, Cartographies of Disease, which I used as a reference for this article about John SnowDisease Maps is a nice follow-up.

• Charles Wheelan's Naked Statistics, one of the best introductions to quantitative thinking I've seen.

• Kaiser Fung's Numbersense, which collects stories and lessons about how to use data for understanding —or about how to misuse them, to confuse yourself and your readers.

Other books

• A.C. Grayling's The God's Argument. This is my absolute favorite this year. Don't be misled by its title. This isn't a rant against religion, but a rich and elegant discussion about why secular Humanism is the best foundation for knowledge and morality human beings have devised.

• George Packer's The Unwinding. Journalistic reporting at its best.

• Donald R. Prothero's Evolution. I mentioned this one when discussing good introductions to the scientific method. It's terrific.

• Jaron Lanier's Who Owns the Future. Get it if you're curious —or concerned— about what challenges digital technologies pose.

• Napoleon A. Chagnon's Noble Savages, a memoir of enduring life inside the most ruthless communities in the world: The Yanomami and Cultural Anthropology.