Data Mining Book Review: Visualize This

visualizeThisNathan Yau maintains one of the most famous blog about data visualization ( He is also author of the book Visualize This: The FlowingData guide to design, visualization and statistics. The book is of course well illustrated, full in colors. It is based on the main idea that one can find patterns through well chosen data visualization. He covers topics such as data scrapping, formatting, basic graphs and multidimensional scaling (MDS) among others.

The book describes several visualization methods. For each topic, Yau starts with a quick overview of the technique. He then follows with programming details (for example using R). He eventually shows the way from standard R graphics to nice visualizations using Illustrator. The book is thus very practical, with few place for theoretical concepts.

Yau provides several good advices such as the importance to question your data. The books contains tips and tricks for preparing and programming graphics. It is sometimes more of a R user manual than a general book on the topic. To be noted the excellent Chapter 7, about visualizing multi-dimensional data. This book is a must-have for people who want to prepare nice graphics in R. For expert users, the book is too straightforward (out of the last few chapters). For others, it’s a nice non-theoretical journey in the world of data visualization.

Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics


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