How Charts Lie

See edits and clarifications to the first hardcover edition here.
Download all the figures in high resolution here.

Original post from 2019:

My new book, How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter About Visual Information, is already available for pre-order through W.W. Nortonmy new publisher, Barnes&NobleAmazonAmazon UKIndieBound (independent bookstores), and will soon appear in other retailers. Publication date is October 15.

Pre-orders matter A LOT for the success of a book, so if you like the work that I've been doing in the past years —free toolstutorials, online courses, or my previous books,— I'd like to ask for your support.

How Charts Lie is my first book for the general public, an explanation of how anyone, regardless of education or professional background, can become a more informed reader of graphs, maps, diagrams, and infographics.

For those who have asked: no, it's not the follow-up to The Truthful Art. As I mentioned in the Epilogue of The Truthful Art, the third volume in the Art series will probably be titled The Insightful Art, but it'll need to wait for at least another year or two, if not more.

Instead, How Charts Lie is a standalone book that, if you work with data and visualization, you can give as a gift to that friend or relative who doesn't understand what you do. I hope that it'll help the public to approach numbers and their visual representations more critically, but also with more interest, appreciation, and care.

That's why I once toyed with a different subtitle —and How They Make Us Smarter, because good charts that are correctly read may have that effect. Despite its title, the tone of the book is positive: it's not that charts lie per se, but that we tend to lie to ourselves with them, even when they are well designed. But we can learn.

Some other authors have already read How Charts Lie and provided early blurbs:

“What can I say? I'm a sucker for statistics explained in funny, engaging, and mathematically correct ways, especially when every now and then a line like "charts lie to us because we are prone to lying to ourselves" is thrown in with good humor. A must read for anyone who wants to stay informed.”
Cathy O'Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction

“I wish we lived in a world where you didn’t need to read Alberto Cairo’s How Charts Lie, a robust guide to self-defense against graphs and figures designed to mislead.  But here we are, and yes, you do.” Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

“This book offers a succinct, elegant, accessible look at the ways data can be represented or misrepresented and is a perfect primer for anyone who cares about the difference.” Charles Wheelan, author of Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data

 “Alberto Cairo has written a wise, witty and utterly beautiful book. You couldn't hope for a better teacher to improve your graphical literacy.” Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist and presenter of More or Less in the BBC

“This book will open your eyes to how everyone uses visuals to push agendas. A master visual designer, Alberto Cairo shows you how to read charts and decode design. After this book, you can’t look at charts with a straight face!.” Kaiser Fung, author of Numbersense: How to Use Big Data to Your Advantage

“Alberto Cairo shares great examples of data visualization and storytelling for anyone who wants to dig into their data.” Dona Wong, author of The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics

“A picture may be worth a thousand words, but only if you know how to read it. In this book, Alberto Cairo teaches us how to get smarter about visual information by reading charts with attention and care. I found a lot to steal here, and you will, too.” Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like An Artist