New Edition of “Now You See It”

On April 15, 2021, my book Now You See It (2009) will become available in its second edition with the revised subtitle An Introduction to Visual Data Sensemaking.

Now You See It: An Introduction to Visual Data Sensemaking

This is more than a mere update. Essentially, this new edition combines the contents of the first edition with the contents of my book Signal: Understanding What Matters in a World of Noise. I wrote Signal in 2015 to complement Now You See It by covering more advanced data sensemaking techniques, including Statistical Process Control. And, in case you’re concerned that this new edition will be huge and heavy enough to serve as a doorstop, you’ll be pleased to hear that I’ve combined and refined the best of the two books into a single publication that is roughly the same size as the original version of Now You See It. This new edition will make the process of learning visual data sensemaking skills more fluid, efficient, and comprehensive.

Before you can present information to others, you must first make sense of it. Now You See It teaches the concepts, principles, and practices of visual data sensemaking. The skills taught in this book rely primarily on something that most of us possess—vision—interactively using graphs to find and examine the meaningful patterns and relationships that reside in quantitative data.

Although some questions about quantitative data can only be answered using sophisticated statistical techniques, most can be answered using relatively simple visual data sensemaking skills. No other book teaches these basic skills as comprehensively and in a way that is accessible to a broad audience. Even though these skills can be developed by anyone with eyes to see, they are not intuitive—they must be learned. Without these skills, even the best data visualization tools are of little use, and data will remain nothing but noise.

5 Comments on “New Edition of “Now You See It””

By Adam. March 7th, 2021 at 5:50 am

Exciting news! When will the book become available in Europe (Denmark/Sweden)?

By Stephen Few. March 7th, 2021 at 8:34 am

Hello Adam,

I don’t know for sure when the book will become available in Denmark or Sweden, but it should become available through your local version of Amazon soon after its April 15 release in the United States.

By Chris. April 8th, 2021 at 8:26 pm

Hi Stephen. I own 2 copies of the original. Just wondering if this edition will be available as an Ebook anywhere?

By Stephen Few. April 9th, 2021 at 8:37 am

Hi Chris. None of my books are available in electronic form and that won’t change unless an eBook format that preserves the book’s layout and the high quality of its images becomes available. My book compositor (the person who prepares the book for printing) and I work diligently to create books that support an optimal experience for the reader. For example, my books are specifically designed to be read as two-page spreads — the lefthand and righthand page are always simultaneously visible — and we take great pains to almost always make a figure visible to the reader when reading text that describes that figure. Electronic book formats undermine this aspect of the book’s design by showing only one page at a time, forcing the reader more frequently to bounce back and forth from page to page to see figures. Even if the eBook format allows the book to be viewed as a two-page spread and preserves the book’s original page layout (e.g., a PDF allows this), the size and resolution of most screens can’t present the text and images clearly when viewed in this manner. Another problem with eBooks is that they can’t guarantee the high quality of images, which vary considerably depending on screen resolution. I think it’s important for a book about data visualization to provide high quality images. I realize that electronic books are more convenient to carry with you and that they support electronic text searches, which are sometimes useful, but I consider these features less important than highy-quality reading and learning experiences.

By Chris. April 10th, 2021 at 9:16 pm

Thanks for taking the time with your response. I went to a workshop by you several years ago and can say it was career changing for me. Thanks so much! I already own two copies of the first edition and it was a cover-to-cover read for me (wasnt even at uni !) I like the ebooks mostly for the zooming (eyes aren’t what they were ) and the read on the bus aspect. Anyway I get what your saying so I’lm happy to go old school on this one ;)

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