The Story of Data: How This 100 Year Old Book is Still Right


I took much needed time off at the end of 2018, which meant the first two weeks of 2019 were a mess.  I’m back, I’m writing, and I’m excited about what 2019 has in store.

I compiled all the predictions you sent me for 2019 in a separate post, which you can find here.

Now, to today’s newsletter:

The Story of Data: How this 100 Year Old Book is Still Right

“Time after time it happens that some ignorant or presumptuous member of a committee or a board of directors will upset the carefully-thought-out plan of a man who knows the facts, simply because the man with the facts cannot present his facts readily enough to overcome the opposition.”

Willard Brinton – Graphic Methods of Presenting Facts – 1919

Willard’s insights into the importance of data visualization are timeless.

Who hasn’t watched the above scenario happen in a meeting? Who hasn’t had this happen to them? Who hasn’t taken advantage of an ill-prepared presentation to accomplish an agenda?

This is the point in the newsletter where I usually ramble about the importance of the topic, but today I’ll defer to Willard as he states it more eloquently than I ever will.

“Though accurate data and real facts are valuable, when it comes to getting results, the manner of presentation is ordinarily more important than the facts themselves.”

“As the cathedral is to its foundation, so is an effective presentation of facts to the data.”

“Ordinarily, facts do not speak for themselves. When they do speak for themselves, the wrong conclusions are often drawn from them.”

Good data visualization is nothing more than good storytelling.  You’re telling the story of the facts in a way that the recipient can best interpret and understand them.

As someone who loves storytelling, data visualization seemed like the perfect topic to focus on for my annual “2-3inches” goal. 

As an investor, I’m one of those people who knows just enough about [insert subject matter area] to be a pain in the ass.  I’m an inch deep and a mile wide on most topics.

When you take the time to learn an extra 2-3 inches, you gain an entirely new appreciation for the skill and knowledge required to do said topic well. It makes me a better investor.

You can expect a few additional newsletters on data visualization throughout this year.

Have a great weekend everyone!


About the author

Danielle O'Rourke

Recovering Investor. Mom. Wife.

By Danielle O'Rourke

Danielle O'Rourke

Recovering Investor. Mom. Wife.

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