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10 must-read data visualization books in 2023

Do you know what is the most valuable thing in the world currently?

It’s data! It is everywhere, flowing like a non-stop river. The hype is more than ever, but what do you know about this data? How do we make sense of data? All this leads to data visualization, an essential and in-demand skill in data science.

Data visualization refers to illustrating visuals, like charts and infographics, that make data interpretation coherent and easy for readers. The use of data visualization is growing and has become a popular skill among data practitioners. Whether you deal with data or not, data visualization can help you effortlessly understand the intricacies and subtleties of data. There are thousands of data visualization books. But here are the 10 best data visualization books that every data enthusiast must read.

Top 10 data visualization books to read in 2022

Information GraphicsSandra Rendgen, Julius Wiedemann

10 data visualization books

This data visualization book features colorful data for a clear understanding of visuals, and is a perfect read for history buffs as well as for those who want to understand the subject deeper.

Segregated into two parts, the first section illustrates visuals that helped us communicate effectively in the ancient period. It describes the communication via visuals in 60 different images.

The second part covers modern visuals, with 200 graphic projects and 400 examples. Every example emphasizes visuals with certain specifications - location, country, type, and hierarchy, belonging to various sectors, such as journalism, art, government, education, and business.

Storytelling With Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals - Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

 data visualization theory

Storytelling doesn't come inherently. It is a practice that develops after understanding your audience, and this book will teach you that. It will also guide you to use conventional tools and combine them with interactive visuals that tell a story.

In this book, the author first covers data visualization theory and then moves to its applications with examples so that you can apply them practically on graphs and infographics. Things you will learn in this book include types of visuals and their importance, determining various graphs and their appropriate function, how to add storytelling to your visuals so that they show and speak, etc.

The Data Visualization Sketchbook - Stephanie Evergreen

data visualization best practices

This book by Stephanie Evergreen teaches you how to put ideas on paper before turning them into visuals. The data visualization textbook has various lessons where you get to work on sketching graphs, dashboards, slide design, and report structures.

You will also find six sets of templates to sketch that you can use to design and plan your graphs and reports. The Data Visualization Sketchbook is a practice field for those who want to start with creating visuals. It will help readers identify their mistakes, find feasible solutions, and document data by methods that will keep audiences connected.

If you are someone who finds difficulty in getting started with creating graphs and visuals, this book is excellent for you to turn a blank screen into an array of captivating visuals. Readers will also learn how to use different graphs in the same infographics.

Better Data Visualizations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks - Jonathan Schwabish

visualization presentation of data

Whether you are new to this subject or have been there for years, this data visualization book feels like fresh air to readers. Johnathan Schwabish's conversational style in explaining data visualization through vibrant pictures makes the book interesting. It contains three parts-

  • Principles of Data Visualization
  • Chart Types
  • Designing and Redesigning

Level by level, Schwabish decodes data visualization and shares data visualization best practices. He covers adequate time on charts and discusses over 80 different charts and their uses.

So, if you are someone who wants to go to basics, then this book can be valuable. Readers will also find additional resources at the end of the book. From data visualization tools and drag-and-drop tools to programming languages, Schwabish covers everything in detail. Since this visualization book contains a plethora of information and data visualization options, experienced designers can find this book extremely valuable.

Visual Thinking for Design - Colin Ware

data visualization experts

Visual Thinking for Design gets to the root of perception and cognition and uses it to perform visualization presentation of data. You will find many colorful examples in the book that could help you understand the concept better.

The book starts with an overview of visual perception and later delves into practical concepts. Both students and experienced designers can leverage this book and learn the strength of visualization tools and how to use them effectively.

The Functional Art - Alberto Cairo

Data Visualization Books

With data visualization tools, you can effortlessly learn new things from them if you know how to use them properly. “The Functional Art” teaches its readers how to do that.

This book will show you how to use statistical charts, maps, and various diagrams to understand complex information around us. Data visualization tools can make information retrievable, regardless of the type of data - business, science, politics, or sports, you indulge.

What makes this visualization book different from other books is the approach to data visualization. The book shares the creative processes of some of the best designers in the world.

So you get all the help needed. These data visualization experts include Condé Nast Traveler’s John Grimwade, National Geographic Magazine’s Fernando Baptista, and The New York Times’ Steve Duenes. You will find all that information on DVD-ROM that comes with the book

How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter About Visual Information by Albert Cario

top 10 data visualization books

In order to decipher what a chart represents, having some basic understanding of them is essential. And the purpose of the book “How Charts Lie'' is to help you understand different types of charts, including pie, bar, line, etc., and help you understand how to prevent information that they are directing to reveal.

Like other things that end with a question, charts, too, can leave us with incomplete things. However, data visualization expert Alberto Cairo takes you on a journey of understanding how charts lie.

Here, he also teaches readers how to identify the incomplete information that charts represent, including inaccurate data, wrong figues, and misleading patterns.

Beautiful Visualization, Looking at Data Through the Eyes of Experts by Julie Steele, Noah Iliinsky

data visualization theory explained

What’s the best way to understand visualization other than from the visual experts? This book helps you understand visualization from the perspective of visual experts.

This book helps you to explore how visualization helps you make sense of the real world. You will also explore the art of storytelling from a visual perspective with simple exercises.

Interactive Data Visualization for the Web: An Introduction to Designing with D3

must-read data visualization books

Want to learn how to create data visualization for the web? Then, this book is great for you, even if you are completely new to data visualization. This book covers all the fundamental concepts in detail with examples. You will get to improve your programming skills and get better hands on HTML and Javascript.

Hands-On Data Visualization: Interactive Storytelling From Spreadsheets to Code - by Ilya Ilyankou and Jack Dougherty

If you are looking for a practical book to learn about data visualization, then this book is the best option to get started with. You don’t need to have any coding experience to start. Whether you are a student, journalists, academics, or small business owners, this guide is helpful for data visualization enthusiasts.

In this book, you will learn to design interactive charts and customized maps for your website. There are step by step tutorials and learning resources that you can follow to learn data visualization. Readers will also learn how to edit source code templates, such as Chart.js, Highcharts, and Leaflet on GitHub. All basic data visualization concepts are covered well.


Data Visualization books are a great way to understand data by illustrating pictures that are appealing to read. For future data reactionaries, there could never be a better way to do it. In this blog, we have discussed the top 10 data visualization books that you can read in 2022. Happy reading!

Frequently Asked Questions

The first criteria while choosing a data visualization book or any book is to find out what you want to learn from it. Do you want to learn graphs? What types of graphs? Try to identify your goal first. Based on that, you can search for the books. Make sure you research about them. This will tell you what to expect or not from the book.

Nothing is easy when you’re starting out! The same goes for learning data visualization. A lot of work goes into creating data visualization. Even minute details can have a drastic impact on your visuals.

A good data visualization is easy to decipher. Not only is it visually appealing, but it also clearly explains the message behind it. When working on data visualization, show connections between the data. This will help the audience graph its contents quickly.

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