We live in a world of data. By walking across the street humans receive and process countless bits of information. What seems so easy for us, would be very hard work for machines. Beautiful Data by Toby Segaran and Jeff Hammerbacher tells 20 storys about how fascinating, thrilling and inspiring working with data can be.
Compilations of work by different writers usually offer much more insight into a topic than a piece written by a single person. Each author adds - by chance or willingly - his personal background, his attitude towards the matter, his personal experience. Still, different writing skills may result in a unsteady reading experience. In Beautiful Data, very experienced data practitioners explain how they developed simple and elegant solutions on projects ranging from the Mars lander to a Radiohead video. Though the scientific parts of each of the papers are undoubtedly excellent, I found myself having a hard time appreciating the narrative facets of some of them. As this is a very personal perception, I will not reveal which they are. You will have to find out for yourself. Nonetheless this book is absolutely worth reading.