I was invited to speak at this week’s TechWomen Breakfast about “Tips To Be a Savvy Consumer of Data.” I had a wonderful time talking with over 40 attendees about biases, mean vs. median, and how important it is to keep your eye on the Y axis! During and since there were a few questions about the sources I mentioned, and I wanted to pass them along.

Full disclosure: I’m not affiliated with any of these authors, and I don’t receive compensation in any form by mentioning them here.

  • How To Lie With Statistics, by Darrell Huff. A handy introduction to several of the main ways that statistics can be taken out of context and misinterpreted. It’s dated, but his writing is clear and accessible to the layperson and/or math-phobic.
  • Now You See It, by Steven Few. This was the first place I read about “pre-attentive attributes,” and I refer back to this on a regular basis.
  • Creating More Effective Graphs, by Naomi Robbins. This is a resource that’s always within reaching distance of my desk. Her examples are drawn from a variety of fields, and she presents a multitude of examples. Her blog posts from her time as a contributor at Forbes are a rich source of best practices and makeovers.
  • How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter About Visual Information, by Alberto Cairo. The latest in his work about correctly using charts, graphs and other visual tools to effectively communicate. A former journalist, his Twitter feed (@AlbertoCairo) is regularly updated with examples and commentary on current news items.
  • No discussion of visualizing data would be complete without a mention of the work of Edward Tufte. Starting with The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, he has provided a solid, inventive foundation for this field.

Are there any that you find yourself referring back to again and again? Leave a comment below and let me know. I’m always on the lookout for great resources.

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