Dataviz Reading List

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I decided to keep some notes on the books that I’ve read that are directly or indirectly relevant for the field of data visualization. It’ll be very short and sweet per book, so that it is easy to get an overview. I also list some books that I plan to read. Feel free to suggest other interesting books that I might enjoy!

Table of contents

Recently Read

The Functional Art: an Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization (Alberto Cairo)

  • gives an introduction to the fundamentals of info graphics and data viz
  • interesting model to better think about data viz pieces: the data visualization wheel
  • ends with multiple interviews that briefly portray notable individuals (such as Stefanie Posavec, Moritz Stefaner, Gregor Aisch, and many more)
  • I thought the interviews were super-interesting to read, not only because it’s always fascinating to me to hear about other peoples process and motivations, but also because it has been more than 10 years since the interviews… some things have changed drastically (looking at you Adobe Flash) while other things remain important :)
  • see the book on the author’s website

Factfulness (Hans Rosling)

Design for Developers (Stephanie Stimac)

  • good overview of basic principles of web design
  • not strictly related to dataviz, but rather web development in general
  • requires the reader to know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript basics
  • still useful if you want to built interactive dataviz on the web and are looking to craft more than just the bare charts
  • see the book on the publisher’s website

Hands-on Data Visualization (Jack Dougherty & Ilya Ilyankou)

  • very beginner-friendly
  • touches on
    • Excel / Google Sheets basics
    • Datawrapper (basics and advanced)
    • Chart.js and Leaflet.js template solutions
    • tools for geocoding (if you want to create maps)
    • and much more
  • read it for free on their website
  • see the book on the publisher’s website

Fundamentals of Data Visualization (Claus Wilke)

Interactive Data Visualization for the Web (Scott Murray)

  • This was my first foray into the world of D3 and it was very fun to read. (Seriously, Scott is an amazing writer.)
  • Soon after, I learned Svelte and I’m convinced that the combination of Svelte & D3 is awesome.
  • I think combining D3 with a JavaScript framework like Svelte is superior to just working with D3 alone.
  • If this book would be rewritten with a Svelte + D3 approach, it would be my bible (Scott, do you hear me?).
  • But I guess we’ll have to wait until Matthias, Amelia and Connor write the Svelte + D3 bible.
  • Still, this book is special to me, because it’s such a good read.
  • see the book on the publisher’s website

Wish List

Building Science Graphics (Jen Christiansen)

Joyful Infographics (Nigel Holmes)

  • I listened to this podcast episode that features the author as a guest and now I really look forward to reading this book
  • sounds like a fun and delighting read with lots and lots illustrations
  • see the book on the publisher’s website

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