There are many topics apparently simple but really difficult in practice – visual charting being one of my favorites. Why? Because in our professional lives a good chart can express a thousand words to very wide audiences – and thus strong charting skills can make a substantial difference between a good professional and a superb manager.
“Good Charts” is branded as the Harvard Business Review guide to making smarter, more persuasive data visualizations. From the very start, the book’s format is different – forget about the classical HBR paperback and welcome the new, chart friendly A5 pages. The book also starts strongly, by introducing new terms – for example dataviz. And this is only the beginning. Scott Berinato himself is a dataviz geek and a Senior Editor at the Harvard Business Review, a magazine that evolved over the years to become more and more visually impactful. Therefore, one could expect not only tons of practical experience (especially in editing challenging wide-range business articles), but also the rigorous approach one would expect.
And rigorous approaches one will get. On page 9, Scott defines what makes a good chart – one that combines contextual awareness with design execution (I let you read the details). He also structures logically his chart building approach via the chapters:
Understand —> Create —> Refine —> Present and Practice
Considering that data visualization appears everywhere, from the sports apps to the sexy startups that show the users what have they achieved in fancy details, I would dare to say that browsing the “Good Charts” through periodically is a must-have skills update. And we all have seen it – it does not matter how much you sweat to produce the numbers – in a boardroom challenge the best presentation will ultimately win. This is why the little books of dataviz will make you more likeable during the long professional meetings.
And if you really feel like going to the next level, then I strongly recommend you to get a look at the “Good Charts Workbook – Tips, Tools and Exercises for Making Better Data Visualizations”. With this companion workbook, you are getting a boost into the realm of efficient communications, with many more practical examples and tools. I would even dare to say these “Good Charts” books are a bargain at below $24 each…
P.S. We are not affiliated with HBR and our www.doitinvest.com site is self funded.