Visual Aid

The toughest challenge with conveying information in any context is concision. This simple little reference presents *a lot* of random facts in less than 200 pages with a cleverness and colorful style that’s well worth emulating. Everything from worldwide ocean currents to guitar chords, all the foot’s reflex points to a time line of 19th century painting and industry (on two pages), how to make eight pancakes and much more. As a writer, I find all the size/speed/shape comparisons to be great fodder for potential similes: the girth of various insects, the world’s fastest animals, the height of fictional characters like Jabba the Hut and the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters (13 feet and 131 feet, respectively). You can find all this stuff online, of course, but that’s only if you’d even think of searching for it in the first place. Whether you use words, pictures, film or any or all of the above, this guide is sure to educate and entertain. But don’t take my word for it. The designers I work with at Wired are smart and accomplished and, therefore, difficult to impress. When I showed one of them this book, he smiled and gave it two enthusiastic thumbs up.

– Steven Leckart

Visual Aid:
Stuff You’ve Forgotten, Things You Never Thought You Knew
and Lessons You Didn’t Quite Get Around to Learning
Draught Associates
2008, 196 pages
$12
Available from Amazon

 

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