This was a completely worthwhile read. I was able to get through it really quickly by only briefly glancing at the many graphics. This either means I somehow didn’t notice Tufte’s resounding plea to appreciate graphics, or that it is a testament to the lucidity and elegance of many of the graphics in this book. Hopefully, the latter. =)
Edward Tufte is a huge data dork and has evidently studied the topic of data graphics deeply. The book is chock full of visual examples from diverse sources—news publications, historical treatises, scientific journals, etc. Not all are excellent; many are superlatively bad, such as the full-page chart that only manages to convey four data points. However, all charts used are well-chosen to illustrate each of his points.
He is also very opinionated and doesn’t hesitate to adopt an authoritative tone in sharing his Commandments of Good Data Graphics. Like a wise teacher however, he gives license on the last page to intelligently disobey (keyword “intelligently”) any of them. He also sounds like a 19th-century scholar—there is something irrepressibly didactic in the prose—but a fabulously dorky sense of humor makes occasional cameos, which keeps this work from being dry.