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## Details

Genre/Form: | History Early works Statistics Statistics Early works to 1800 Early works to 1800 |
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Additional Physical Format: | Online version: Playfair, William, 1759-1823. Commercial and political atlas and Statistical breviary. New York : Cambridge University Press, 2005 (OCoLC)777007200 |

Document Type: | Book |

All Authors / Contributors: |
William Playfair; Howard Wainer; Ian Spence |

ISBN: | 0521855543 9780521855549 |

OCLC Number: | 123236645 |

Notes: | A full color reproduction of the Atlas, 3rd. ed., and of the Breviary, both published in London by J. Wallis, 1801. |

Description: | viii, 35, xv, 96, 64 pages, 17 unnumbered leaves of plates, [7] folded leaves of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm |

Contents: | Introduction Howard Wainer and Ian Spence; The Commercial and Political Alas; The Statistical Breviary. |

Other Titles: | Playfair's Statistical breviary Statistical breviary |

Responsibility: | William Playfair ; edited and introduced by Howard Wainer, Ian Spence. |

## Reviews

*Editorial reviews*

Publisher Synopsis

'William Playfair's Commercial and Political Atlas and his Statistical Breviary are among the most important works in the entire history of statistical graphics and data visualization. Here we find the origin of the modern graphical forms most widely used today - the pie chart, line graph and bar chart - and Playfair used these with great skill to make his (largely economic) data 'speak to the eyes'. Spence and Wainer have done a great service to all those interested in visual information display and its history ...'. Michael Friendly, York University 'William Playfair made breakthrough visualizations that now seem obvious to us - his printed graphs and charts were innovative in his day and they remain an inspiration in our time. The Introduction gives readers a fascinating portrait of Playfair's life and reminds us of how much of a struggle it is to introduce new ideas. Seeing Playfair's Atlas enables readers to travel back in time, while stimulating our imagination to envision novel dynamic visualizations.' Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland 'With this facsimile edition, William Playfair (1759-1823) is now back onto the stage. Ian Spence and Howard Wainer are to be congratulated for this initiative. Their introduction to this edition does compensate any worshipper of Playfair for the suffering of not possessing an original edition. By their vivid and learned description of Playfair's environment, they illustrate how novel ideas emerge in an interacting scientific community. The recipe often requires a dose of unconventionality. With William Playfair we are more than satisfied.' Dr Antoine de Falguerolles, Universite de Toulouse 'From the mind and hand of Playfair sprung - virtually fully formed - the prototypes for most of the statistical graphics in use today. There is no better place to start than at the beginning, and this is the book that lets us see what Playfair was trying to do - and to appreciate just how well he accomplished his goals. No student of information graphics should be without this book.' Stephen M. Kosslyn, Harvard University 'Wainer and Spence have done us a great service by making Playfair's two books available again. ... The book is delightful reading ...'. The Mathematical Association of America Online "...Playfair's text brings its fascinating author and his time to life, and his beautiful colored charts are functional artistic creations of a high order. These books are the well-spring of modern graphical display, warts and all." Stephen Stigler, University of Chicago "From the mind and hand of Playfair sprung - virtually fully formed - the prototypes for most of the statistical graphics in use today. There is no better place to start than at the beginning, and this is the book that lets us see what Playfair was trying to do - and to appreciate just how well he accomplished his goals. No student of information graphics should be without this book." Stephen M. Kosslyn, Harvard University "William Playfair's Commercial and Political Atlas and his Statistical Breviary are among the most important works in the entire history of statistical graphics and data visualization. Here we find the origin of the modern graphical forms most widely used today - the pie chart, line graph and bar chart - and Playfair used these with great skill to make his (largely economic) data 'speak to the eyes.' While some of his graphs have been reprinted, often badly, in historical studies, few people have been able to study the very few extant complete copies of these works to see the scope (and beauty) of Playfair's graphical innovations together, and in original context. At least as important, a modern reader will want to read Playfair's words to see how he faced the challenge of presenting his novel charts to his audience around 1800... Spence and Wainer have done a great service to all those interested in visual information display and its history." Mike Friendly, York University "William Playfair made breakthrough visualizations that...remain an inspiration in our time. The Introduction gives readers a fascinating portrait of Playfair's life and reminds us of how much of a struggle it is to introduce new ideas. Seeing Playfair's Atlas enables readers to travel back in time, while stimulating our imagination to envision novel dynamic visualizations." Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland "It is impossible to imagine modern science without the tools that William Playfair was the first to use. We can never know what impulse, what genius led him to invent new ways of showing the patterns implicit in data, but revisiting his original works will bring us as close to knowing as we are likely to get." George A. Miller, Princeton University "Wainer and Spence have done us a great service by making Playfair's two books available again...everyone interested in the theory of statistical graphs should read this introduction...delightful reading." MAA Reviews, Gudmund Iversen "Although Edward Tufte and others have noted Playfair's role as the leading originator of modern statistical graphics, access to his work has heretofore been limited. Finally Playfair can speak for himself: Facsimiles of two of his most important works the 1801 edition of The Commercial and Political Atlas, and The Statistical Breviary of the same year have now been published in one small, affordable volume. The vision that emerges from Playfair's pages is one of startling clarity and foresight. Even those who have seen samples of his charts...will find new treasures here, all in color and some on foldout pages. The facsimiles are prefaced by a lively introduction in which the editors [Howard] Wainer and psychologist Ian Spence give us a glimpse of the work's creator and his times." American Scientist "Wainer's books are simply the most entertaining, engaging, and thought-provoking books in this area...The Playfair volume is like holding the original in one's hands. And for a remarkably low price." Psychometrika Read more...

*User-contributed reviews*