Better Data Visualizations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks

Better Data Visualizations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks

By: Jonathan Schwabish
  • Learn about principles of visual perception and data visualization best practices.
  • Expand your graphic literacy by learning about more than 80 different visualization types
  • Learn how to define your audience and goals, and choose the chart, graph, or diagram that best fits for your data.

An excellent primer for anyone who wants to display quantitative information clearly and powerfully.

Robert B. Reich

Robert B. Reich

Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley, and former U.S. secretary of labor

More Praises

This is an immensely practical guide to more effective communication through data visualization. From basic principles, to an extensive taxonomy of visualization types, to developing a style guide, this will be an invaluable and accessible read for anyone who needs to turn data into information.

Mara Averick


Too often, good data falls prey to bad or lazy visualizations. At last, an indispensable guide for presenting your work intelligibly and compellingly.

DJ Patil

Former U.S. Chief Data Scientist

For many of us, it’s tough to understand data without visuals. But visualizing data is hard! This book is the authoritative guide. It’s terrific―and spectacularly useful.

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School, and author of Too Much Information

A stellar variety and number of visualizations are included in these pages, an enjoyable-to-read encyclopedia of graphs. Jonathan Schwabish provides practical considerations for when to use which visual and thoughtful design guidelines in this excellent resource for those who work and communicate with data. You’ll be inspired and―as promised―learn better data visualization!

Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

Author of Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals

Navigating the myriad chart types available today can be a daunting experience. This book provides you with not only a guiding light but also an important foundation in the burgeoning field of data visualization. You will want to keep its set of principles and guidelines right next to you in your next project.

Manuel Lima

Author of The Book of Circles: Visualizing Spheres of Knowledge

Better Data Visualizations carefully teaches the reader when to use which type of visualization and why. This engaging book takes you from the basics to the entire breadth of today’s visualization methods. There are hundreds of clear, elegant, and varied visualizations to give you ideas for your own work.

Max Roser

Founder and Director, Our World in Data

Better Data Visualizations is a practical guide to a large catalogue of chart types. No other book introduces the reader to specific chart types with such detail and finesse. It is an excellent resource for students, analysts, and researchers alike.

Alberto Cairo

Author of How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter About Visual Information

Book Details

Publisher : Columbia University Press (February 9, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 464 pages
ISBN-10 : 0231193114
ISBN-13 : 978-0231193115
Item Weight : 2.5 pounds
Dimensions : 6.9 x 1.1 x 8.9 inches
Best Sellers Rank : #4,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#1 in Presentation Software Books
#2 in Library Management
#2 in General Library & Information Sciences

About the Author

Jonathan Schwabish


Jonathan Schwabish is an economist, writer, teacher, and creator of policy-relevant data visualizations. He is a senior research associate and data visualization specialist at the Urban Institute and publishes a blog and podcast at his site, where he helps people improve the way they process, visualize, analyze, and present their data and research. His tutorials, remakes, and interviews with data visualization and presentation experts speak to scholars, policy wonks, and anyone with a data story to tell. He is on Twitter @jschwabish.