New book


We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if we don’t understand what we’re looking at?

Charts, infographics, and diagrams are ubiquitous. They are useful because they can reveal patterns and trends hidden behind the numbers we encounter in our lives. Good charts make us smarter—if we know how to read them.

However, they can also deceive us. Charts lie in a variety of ways—displaying incomplete or inaccurate data, suggesting misleading patterns, and concealing uncertainty— or are frequently misunderstood. Many of us are ill-equipped to interpret the visuals that politicians, journalists, advertisers, and even our employers present each d ay.

‘How Charts Lie’ teaches us to not only spot the lies in deceptive visuals, but also to take advantage of good ones. In his new book, Alberto Cairo demystifies an essential new literacy, one that will make us better equipped to navigate our data-driven world.



What can I say? I’m a sucker for statistics explained in funny, engaging, and mathematically correct ways, especially when every now and then a line like “charts lie to us because we are prone to lying to ourselves” is thrown in with good humor. A must read for anyone who wants to stay informed.

Cathy O’Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction

I wish we lived in a world where you didn’t need to read Alberto Cairo’s How Charts Lie, a robust guide to self-defense against graphs and figures designed to mislead. But here we are, and yes, you do.

Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

This book offers a succinct, elegant, accessible look at the ways data can be represented or misrepresented and is a perfect primer for anyone who cares about the difference.

Charles Wheelan, author of Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data

Alberto Cairo has written a wise, witty and utterly beautiful book. You couldn’t hope for a better teacher to improve your graphical literacy.

Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist and presenter of More or Less in the BBC


Alberto Cairo is a journalist and designer, and the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the School of Communication of the University of Miami (UM). He is also the director of the visualization program at UM’s Center for Computational Science. He has been head of information graphics at media publications in Spain and Brazil. 

The author of several textbooks, Cairo currently consults with companies and institutions like Google and the Congressional Budget Office, and has provided visualization training to the European Union, Eurostat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Army National Guard, and many others. He lives in Miami, Florida.



Alberto Cairo provides visualization design, training and consulting services

Design and art direction

Alberto Cairo has designed visualizations for numerous clients. Since 2016, he is the art director of an ongoing series of visualization projects created for Google by artists from all over the world.

Consulting and training

Cairo has provided training to institutions such as the National Guard, the Congressional Budget Office, the European Union, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A pioneer

Both Microsoft and Google have profiled Alberto Cairo. Microsoft wrote that he’s always been “at the vanguard of visual journalism”


Alberto Cairo has been a tremendous help. He hosted several on-site seminars teaching the fundamentals of data visualization. Incorporating our own draft work, he helped participants put the seminars in context. Alberto Cairo is both highly effective and passionate about visual design.

Jim Friedland,
Director Marketing,

Alberto Cairo is a passionate promoter of effective communication with data visualization. He did a day-long workshop for us that was a huge success for undergraduates, graduate students, faculty members and local public health professionals.

 John Bailer,
Dept. of Statistics,
Miami University

Alberto, like nobody else, understands and communicates the need to balance functionality with beauty. He is always clear that the right chart can be discovered only by exploration of your data.

Andy Cotgreave,
Senior Technical
Evangelist for Tableau

Many of us are grateful to Alberto Cairo for inspiring us. I really like his depth and thoroughness, reflected in the insightful explanations he gives when suggesting a certain data visualization approach. Alberto is a pioneer in making it easy on the brain to process complexity.

Marc Reguera,
Principal Program
Manager for Microsoft
Power BI​


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