The Truthful Art book

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Download the first 40 pages from Google Drive or from Dropbox.

• Review by Kaiser Fung (JunkCharts)
Review by Gretchen Peterson
• Review by Andy Cotgreave (Tableau)
• Review by Techinfographics
Review at Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly
Review at The Data School
Review by The Cranky Sociologists
• Review by Steve Wexler (Data Revelations)
Review by Alan Smith (The Financial Times)• Review by Koen Verbeeck

Interview: Microsoft
Interview: Analytics on Fire
Interview: PolicyViz
Interview: Interworks
Interview: Visualoop
• Interview: Cool Infographics• Interview: Partially Derivative
Interview in Interhacktives

Praise for The Truthful Art:

“Alberto Cairo is widely acknowledged as journalism’s preeminent visualization wiz. He is also journalism’s preeminent data scholar. As newsrooms rush to embrace data journalism as a new tool—and toy—Cairo sets the standard for how data should be understood, analyzed, and presented. The Truthful Art is both a manifesto and a manual for how to use data to accurately, clearly, engagingly, imaginatively, beautifully, and reliably inform the public.”
— Jeff Jarvis, professor at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and author of Geeks Bearing Gifts: Imagining New Futures for News

“A feast for both the eyes and mind, Alberto Cairo’s The Truthful Art deftly explores the science—and art—of data visualization. The book is a must-read for scientists, educators, journalists, and just about anyone who cares about how to communicate effectively in the information age.”
— Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor, Penn State University and author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

“Alberto Cairo is a great educator and an engaging storyteller. In The Truthful Art he takes us on a rich, informed, and well-visualized journey that depicts the process by which one scrutinizes data and represents information. The book synthesizes a lot of knowledge and carefully explains how to create effective visualizations with a focus on statistical principles. The Truthful Art will be incredibly useful to both practitioners and students, especially within the arts and humanities, such as those involved in data journalism and information design.”
— Isabel Meirelles, professor at OCAD University (Canada) and author of Design for Information

“As soon as I started immersing myself in The Truthful Art, I was horrified (and somewhat ashamed) to realize how much I didn’t know about data visualization. I’ve spent most of my career pursuing a more illustrative way to present data, but Alberto Cairo’s clarifying prose superbly explained the finer points of data viz. Since Alberto warns us that “[data is] always noisy, dirty, and uncertain,” everyone in this business had better read his book to find out how to properly construct visualizations that not only tell the truth, but also allow us to interact meaningfully with them.”
—Nigel Holmes, founder of Explanation Graphics

“To communicate data clearly, you have to think about it clearly. The Truthful Art dives deep and provides an enlightened introduction to the ‘power tools’ of data experts: science, statistics, and visualization.”
—Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, Google

The Truthful Art is essential reading for my visual communication students and for anyone (at any level) who cares about telling a story visually. Get this book, read it, act on it. If you’re looking for help to put your data visualization on the right track, this is it.”
—John Grimwade, School of Visual Communication, Ohio University

“ If I were smarter, had more patience with academia, and had more focus, I might turn out to be more like Alberto, closer to the brilliance that he applies to the nature of information architecture. His title explains a lot: truth represents a most fundamental of attitudes, in questions asked, answers given and journeys taken. This [book] is a must on your thoughtful shelf of understanding.”
—Richard Saul Wurman


  1. How does this book relate to you other book, The Functional Art? Is it an update? an elaboration? a second volume? In what ways do the two books overlap? Which one should I read first?

    1. The reviews above should give you an idea of its contents, particularly this one:

      It's a standalone book. Around 10% is overlap, I would say. You can read either one first, depending on what you're interested in. The Functional Art is more focused on infographics and storytelling. The Truthful Art deals a bit more with how to interpret and present data through visualization