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By David McCandless

256 pages, hardcover, $30, published by Harper Design, harpercollins.com

How do we understand data and turn it into knowledge? That’s the challenge David McCandless poses in Knowledge Is Beautiful, a collection of 196 eye-popping infographics. Thanks to the explosion of activity in the field of infographics, there are infinite ways to visualize data. McCandless has done an amazing job selecting some of the most visually appealing infographics currently produced and then providing a frame of reference to help us understand how they operate. In the lightest of touches, a two-page spread illustrates the fundamental principles underlying infographics, progressing from data visualization and structured data to information design and linked information all the way to a meta-understanding of knowledge mapping and interconnected knowledge. It’s a tour de force of context: simple, beautiful, meaningful. —Sam McMillan

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