I love it when people much more knowledgeable than I give me inside views into what shaped them. It’s fascinating to see what influenced them as they developed into the industry experts we know. EagerEyes.org, a terrific blog with lots of resources on information visualization, recently asked Tableau’s own Dr. Jock Mackinlay to name his top 10 influences.
Jock responded with a thoughtful list of 10 books, theses and articles that shaped him even as he helped found and define the modern information visualization industry.
I was particularly moved by Jock’s description of how he discovered Jacques Bertin’s book The Semiology of Graphics (1967). He describes how he saw a copy in French and knew it was an important book even though he doesn’t read French! When he later discovered the English translation as a Ph.D. candidate, he knew he had to have it despite his budget constraints.
Jock’s list contains sources you may expect (like Tufte) but others I wasn’t at all familiar with. So check out the entry on EagerEyes blog. By the way, you’ll also find Pat Hanrahan’s list of top 10 influences there as well.