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Discover the world of data visualisation books, where language and visuals come together to reveal the promise of data-driven storytelling. In addition to clarifying the complexity of visualisation, these literary guides serve as a navigation lighthouses through the seas of charts, graphs, and interactive displays. Data visualisation books give readers a complete understanding of the principles, processes, and tools for creating successful visual representations of data, making them a valuable resource for mastering this field.

One of the most vital skills in data science is data visualisation. These informational visual displays provide complicated data relationships and data-driven insights straightforwardly. Data visualization is an essential step in data science, where data is visualized after collection, processing, and modeling to draw meaningful conclusions.


This post offers a list of 12 essential data visualisation books that will teach you the art and science of transforming data into visually stunning tales. The publications cover various topics, appealing to practitioners of all experience levels. They span from fundamental concepts to advanced methodologies.

1. Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualisation Guide for Business Professionals by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

data visualisation books

This data visualisation book will teach you about the power of storytelling and how to incorporate data into your narrative. This book provides theoretical principles along with practical real-world examples that can be easily applied to your graphs or presentations.. Storytelling with Data teaches you the principles of data visualisation as well as how to successfully communicate with data. This guide explores unconventional data analysis methods and leveraging data storytelling to engage, inform, and captivate readers.

2. Information Graphics” by Sandra Rendgen

data visualisation books

This unique book on data visualisation offers an interesting perspective, showcasing the work of industry experts and the creators of groundbreaking inventions that have revolutionised human interaction. Information Graphics was established for those intrigued by the history and application of visual communication, not solely graphic artists. The extensive introduction includes approximately 60 pictures. The section provides a concise and formal overview of the subject, starting with ancient cave drawings used for communication. The book’s second portion focuses on modern works by leading experts. It includes over 400 examples categorised by Location, Time, Category, and Hierarchy. Each category has a fact sheet that explains the methods and objectives. The collection features 200 projects and 400 examples of modern information graphics across various industries.

3. The Flowing Data Guide to Design, Visualisation, and Statistics by Nathan Yau

data visualisation books

Nathan Yau, a data visualisation master and author, uses step-by-step instructions in this book to show how to visualise and tell stories with data. He demonstrates data collection, analysis, and visualization techniques for uncovering patterns, outliers, and correlations.

  • This book provides practical advice and step-by-step tutorials on creating visualisations, maps, and information designs to help readers understand statistics.
  • The text explains web-based graphic technologies such as ActionScript, Flash libraries, PHP, and JavaScript, as well as print design tools like R and Illustrator.
  • Contains various examples and definitions of patterns and outliers, as well as instructions on how to display them. This explains how to graphically describe data so that you can display your knowledge understandably and appealingly.

 4. Data Visualisation: A Practical Introduction by Kieran Healy

data visualisation books

This data visualisation book offers students and scholars a practical introduction to the concepts and methods of data visualisation. It discusses why certain graphs work while others don’t, how to create high-quality figures from data using strong, repeatable techniques, and how to approach data visualisation in a straightforward, useful way.

  • This guide equips readers with the practical abilities they need to effectively visualise quantitative data and utilise their research findings.
  • Provides practical training in R and ggplot2.
  • Shows how working with R is made simpler and more consistent by the “tidyverse” of data analysis tools.
  • includes a collection of functions, data sets, and code.

5. Data Visualisation: A Handbook for Data Driven Design by Andy Kirk

data visualisation books

This data visualisation book serves as a starting point for understanding the process and techniques of data visualisation, teaching the principles and skills of data presentation, and motivating excellent visual design. Scholars and students must be able to analyse, develop, and curate material to transform it into valuable instruments for communication, insight, and knowledge.

Benefits of this book:

  • A customizable step-by-step journey that will prepare you to excel at data visualisation
  • A curated selection of historical and modern instances demonstrating excellent and bad practices.
  • Every page has examples to provide creative inspiration.
  • Examples of good and bad practices demonstrate how to critically examine and improve your work.
  • Advice and experience from the top designers in the field, as well as a wealth of online practical assistance, checklists, case studies, and exercises, make this the most comprehensive text available.

6. Fundamentals of Data Visualization: A Primer on Making Informative and Compelling Figures by Claus O. Wilke

data visualisation books

The best approach for communicating knowledge from increasingly huge and complicated datasets in the natural and social sciences is through effective visualisation. However, with the growing capacity of visualisation tools, researchers, engineers, and business analysts are frequently faced with a bewildering number of visualisation choices and alternatives. This data visualisation book walks you through several typical visualisation challenges and shows you how to turn massive data sets into clear and engaging figures. 

Author Claus O. Wilke explains to you the most important aspects of good data visualisation. Investigate the fundamental notions of colour as a tool for emphasising, distinguishing, or representing a value. Recognise the significance of redundant coding to ensure that vital information is provided in various ways.

7. Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication by Alberto Cairo

Alberto Cairo’s “The Truthful Art” focuses on the connections between data visualisation, design, and journalism. Cairo emphasises the significance of truth and authenticity in data display, as well as ethical considerations and the function of visualisation in storytelling. This literary guide teaches readers how to analyse and create powerful visualisations that enlighten and engage them critically.

In one of the examples from this data visualisation book, a line chart depicts the rise and fall of global temperatures during the last century. The writer demonstrates how careful design selections, correct labelling, and contextual information can help readers understand the complexities of climate change and its consequences.

8. The Big Book of Dashboards: Visualising Your Data Using Real-World Business Scenarios by Steve Wexler

data visualisation books

The ultimate reference book with practical solutions The Big Book of Dashboards is a comprehensive resource for people responsible for creating or monitoring the creation of corporate dashboards. The Big Book of Dashboards is a unique book that showcases effective dashboards through real-world business scenarios. It includes numerous examples from different industries and departments, such as healthcare, transportation, finance, and human resources. The book covers various platforms like print, desktop, tablet, smartphone, and conference room displays. This book will be the trusted reference you open when you need to develop an effective business dashboard since it is organised around these scenarios and offers practical and effective visualisation examples.

9. The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics by Dona M. Wong

data visualisation books

In today’s data-driven environment, professionals should be able to effectively and elegantly convey themselves in graphic language. However, information graphics are rarely taught in schools or are emphasised in on-the-job training. Therefore, in this data visualisation book, you will learn:

  • choose the most appropriate graphic for your data.
  • the most efficient way to communicate with decision-makers when you only have a few minutes of their time
  • charting currency changes that impact international business
  • use colour effectively
  • to make a graphic “colourful,” even if only black and white are available.

This book is organised in a series of mini-workshops that are accompanied by illustrated examples, so you may not only learn what works and what doesn’t but also see the do’s and don’ts for yourself. This is a must-have reference book for students and professionals alike.

10. Beautiful Visualization-Looking at Data Through the Eyes of Experts by Julie Steele and Noah Iliinsky

data visualisation books

This data visualisation book by Steele and Iliinsky delves into the thought process and design behind real-world examples of data visualisation initiatives. 24 professionals provide their methods, approaches, and insights on data visualisation design for their respective professions. “Beautiful Visualisation” investigates data storytelling and communication using visual cues such as colour and research methodologies to tie it all together. It examines the creation and evolution of several well-known visualisations. It’s an excellent way to discover how other people approach visual design. Every single contributor emphasises that gathering and cleansing their data is the most difficult element of any undertaking. It’s encouraging to know that even the best analysts struggle with this.

11. Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative by Edward R. Tufte

Edward R. Tufte’s book “Visual Explanations” delves into the principles of successful data visualisation, focusing on the visual presentation of arguments and tales.Tufte explores various examples of visualizations to enhance understanding and insight, including scientific diagrams and historical charts.. This data visualisation book calls into question established data visualisation methods and challenges readers to think creatively about how they display information.

One of the illustrations in this data visualisation book shows a sequence of diagrams that visually illustrate the operation of a complex machinery system. The author highlights the importance of clear labels, simple graphics, and sequential steps to facilitate understanding and visually explain how the machinery operates.

12. Information Dashboard Design: Displaying Data for At-A-Glance Monitoring by Stephen Few

Stephen Few, a pioneer in data visualisation, exposes frequent flaws in dashboard design and outlines best practices in great depth and with several examples. Dashboards, according to the author, have become a popular way to show essential information at a glance, but few do so effectively. Well-designed dashboards effectively and clearly transmit dense information using visual perception. The visual design skills required to address the unique challenges of dashboards are learned, rather than intuitive.

This data visualisation book not only teaches how to construct dashboards but also provides a thorough knowledge of the brain science ideas that explain the why behind the how.The book has six extra chapters on important factors for assessing needs, detailed education on bullet graphs and sparklines design, and essential design procedures to follow. Graphics and dashboard examples have been updated throughout, including new examples of well-designed dashboards.


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As you can see, reading these twelve important works on the subject will immensely benefit anyone interested in learning the art and science of data visualisation. These publications cover a wide range of topics, ensuring that there is something for everyone, regardless of skill level, from basic concepts to cutting-edge methods. Reading these books can teach you a lot, develop your visualisation skills, and enable you to create great visual narratives.

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1. Which data visualisation books are suitable for beginners?

“Data Visualization: A Practical Introduction” by Kieran Healy is an excellent book for beginners, as it covers the fundamental concepts and techniques in an accessible manner.

2. What is the first book on data visualisation?

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte is commonly considered one of the earliest books on data visualisation.

3. What are the 3 C’s of data visualization?

Context, clarity and consistency.

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