There are several common themes running across these 3 fantastic books. I think they represent an important pivot in (a) the way we human beings understand ourselves and (b) how communities, organisations and nations can be better governed/ organised. I would summarise this grandiose claim into 3 central ideas:
I also love how these books all lead with the data and use simple, highly effective visualisations to powerfully illustrate their ideas.
I highly recommend these books to anyone. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share or if you have any related recommendations for me then please get in touch.
I read a lot! I also keep a spreadsheet which lists and grades the 120+ books I’ve read since June 2015 and have written up detailed notes about my favourite reads. I’m well aware of how sad this makes me.
I’ve read many of the leading texts about data visualisation; Stephen Few, Edward Tufte and Alberto Cairo are my top 3 inspirations here. However, what I enjoy most is reading about people and trying to understand why we behave the way that we do. To this end, I read a lot about psychology and related fields. To give you an idea of what I’ve read, take a look at the top of this page to see the“recently read” section of my bookcase.
If I were to select one book that I think everyone should read it would be Thinking Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman. This book has taught me so much about human behaviour and why people are not as rational as they like to think they are. The insight I’ve gained from this book is hugely relevant to a vast range of subjects and practices. One of my main goals is to spread Daniel Kahneman’s word amongst Analysts, Accountants, Researchers, and anyone else working with data visualisation.
After Daniel Kahneman, I’d recommend pretty much anything by Steven Pinker.
As a final thought, I also like to read fiction when I can find the time. My all-time favourite novel is probably Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. I’d find it hard to explain why I love this book so much but it contained such brilliant, relatable, yet tragic personalities. I found it to be as effective an exploration of human behaviour as any work of nonfiction. Other writers I love include John Irving, Mark Haddon, Matt Haig and Hanya Yanigihara.
I’m always looking for inspiration on what to read next so please get in touch if you have any ideas for me.