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Best Data Visualization Books

    Reading a data visualization book teaches you a lot about the internals. But since reading a book and processing it takes so much time, we mostly want to pick the best book out there. At this point, you have to accept that there is no best data visualization book for everyone because it is subjective.

    Just like other books, each book has to offer different sets of information usable for different groups of people. While some people are looking for visualizing business data using charts, others may need to learn how to visualize a qualitative dataset.

    In this post, we will talk about the process of selecting the best data visualization books available on Amazon.  For better understanding, reviews and ratings of books are compared with a stacked bar chart to show which one has more critics based on their percentages within its own reviews.


    I do not prepare this table in a sorted way and it is not by mistake. If I want you to focus on a specific book or if I want to promote some, no matter better or worse, I would sort this table. So, you would only notice the best and worst or first and last books in the list. You even don’t see the names of the rest.

    Since I want you to read all the list, I shuffled it. In that way, you have check all the items carefully. But notice that, this method is applicable for short lists. If you have a longer list of items, most people just skip all the table. So be careful about your methodology.

    Analyzing the Reviews of Data Visualization Books

    Notice that we are not comparing the books but their reviews and ratings. In the previous section, we only see the quantities. Now, we will see the distribution of the rating in a chart.

    Let’s go through an example. So, you want to buy a book and you cannot decide between two books. Both are quite popular and they have the same ratings. At this point, most people would consider checking the reviews. However, since it is too subjective and there are lots of reviews to read, you may want to see the distribution of the ratings. Personally speaking, I would go over the critics most likely for the ones which have more reviews.

    See the below chart for the comparison of the rating distribution. (available on jsFiddle)

    These are the best books on data visualization, and since there are more than 1.000 reviews, you cannot read all of them. But you can have an idea with this simple chart in seconds. This is simply the power of visualization.

    As you can see, there are two books with 4.6 ratings. They are similar considering 5 stars and 4 stars, however; one of them has more 1 star reviews. On the other hand, if you would check the review counts for each, they have 478 and 253 5 star reviews respectively. So, what should you think about this?

    Well, I think you have to dig deeper considering their publishment dates, audience type, etc. You do not want to compare an apple with an orange when it comes to data analysis.

    Before that let’s check the correlation between review counts with a better visual. The below image shows this correlation with a  packed bubble chart. In this chart, you can easily notice the largest and smallest items. Besides, inner distribution gives you an idea about the customer review differences.

    In short, in this article, I want to give you an idea about the process of selecting books on Amazon from the data visualization perspective. All the books are selected randomly from the Amazon listing with respect to the customer reviews.