In June of this year I published my first book with O’Reilly Media called “Communicating Data with Tableau”. It has been great to hear from readers around the world, and I’m grateful for the reviews that have been published.

Here is a sampler that includes the entirety of Chapter 1 (entitled “Communicating Data”) in pdf format, freely available for anyone to download and share (click to download the pdf):

Click to download a sampler pdf of CDwT, including the entirety of Chapter 1 – Communicating Data
A word about Chapter 1: This was my favorite chapter to write, and it was also the most difficult chapter to write. You should know that it’s very different from the other 13 chapters in the book. I call it my “ideas chapter”. The others are far more practical and technical.

In Chapter 1, I share my thoughts on the concept of creating and sharing data visualizations as a particular form of the communication process. Thinking of it that way has been very helpful for me, because it frames the activity as an attempt to affect the minds of others.

Just like other types of communication such speech and even body language, its success depends on many factors, some obvious and some subtle. It is subject to problems of various kinds, as identified by the fathers of information theory, Shannon and Weaver. And critically, communicating data touches on both the rational and the emotional.

Ultimately, I outline 6 Principles of Communicating Data, for which I have also created a handy online checklist. These principles have helped me focus my efforts and avoid some common pitfalls that I have fallen into in the past, such as failing to identify and know my audience, or only considering a subset of the relevant data.

Thanks for visiting, and please be sure to send me a note to tell me what you think about these resources, and what you would add/edit/remove.