The Big Book of Dashboards

Twenty-eight real-world dashboards show how solid design can illuminate your business data.

The Big Book of Dashboards is- well- a really big book of dashboards. 448 pages of them. Steve Wexler, Jeffrey Shaffer, and Andy Cotgreave- all household names in the Tableau community- have produced a book that is both beautiful and useful, just like the visualizations that they write about.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part is a single chapter entitled Data Visualization: A Primer that reviews terminology and sets the stage for what’s to come.

The second part of the book is the heart of the book and lends the book its name. Twenty-eight dashboards, each described in its own chapter. You’ll learn why a particular dashboard “works”. Sometimes you’ll learn why it doesn’t work as well as it should. The three authors even critique each other’s work, which is like being a fly on the wall of a design review.

Part three of the book is called Succeeding in the Real World and is filled with practical advice, including how to deal with users that want something “cool” instead of useful. Or- heaven forbid- a pie chart.

The Big Book of Dashboards

Not only are many of the dashboards visually stunning, the book design is beautiful to behold. You’ll probably learn as much about things like color, typography and whitespace from the book itself as much as the dashboards contained within.

The book is written by three Tableau experts, but it is not a “Tableau book”. If you’re looking for a “How do I do that in Tableau” book, there are plenty of those on the market. The focus here is elegantly solving business problems through design, regardless of what tools you use. And yet, I really hope that the product management team at SAP will flip through this book and ask “can our product do that”? As a practical “cookbook”, this book will fit comfortably on your shelf in between the more abstract writing of authors like Stephen Few and the practical “tool-centric” guides from your preferred software vendor. Although I imagine it will get too much use to simply remain on a shelf.