Archive for the ‘Books’ Category.

Misleading charts

Fancy, but quite misleading graphs. Can you actually see that “A” and “G” are the same? Which one do you think is the largest number? Would you say that “D” is greater than “C”? They call it the funnel chart.

 

 

Ok, now the same data represented by its first cousin, the pyramid chart.

 

 

Can you actually believe this is the same data set? Who came up with this nonsense?

Here are the actual numbers and the plain bar chart.

Label Value
A 600
B 800
C 850
D 875
E 760
F 598
G 600


Something to think about. Moral of the story: beware the fancy graphs, especially when dealing with finances. Apparently the funnel and pyramid charts are frequently used in sales projections and similar. My suggestion, use the bar chart or pie chart instead.

And finally, a good reference on charts; The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte. Among good practices you will also find sections on graphical integrity, distortion in data graphics, lie factor, and the data-ink ratio.

Tough gig

If you feel stuck in a tough job—find some time to read Eight Lives Down by Chris Hunter. Well, at the end he did quit and decided to become a writer, a good one too. Easier on family life, less travel, and friendlier people to deal with.

Life is too short

Truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Based on a plethora of solid research, Robert Sutton of Stanford University delivers a clear insight into the most common problem in the workplace today. Here are just a few truths from his The No Asshole Rule:

  • Power breeds nastiness.
  • Assholes breed like rabbits; if you have one in a hiring position, it will simply clone itself.
  • Asshole poisoning is a contagious disease that anyone can catch.
  • Life is too short to be spent working with mean-spirited jerks.
  • Don’t join the jerks (attributed to Leonardo da Vinci).

You can also take online rating tests for yourself, your boss, or a client on the author’s website.

P.S. A client of mine scored 19 (out of 20) points on his ACHE test; sayonara to them.

Worth reading

There is more to technology than raw how-to advice. I am starting this to list some of the books I have read, and feel are worth sharing.