Persuasion or Manipulation?

In chapter seven of Scott Berinato’s, “Good Charts”, he discusses the importance of the range of a graph. He introduces the topic by sharing a real life situation where the range of an employee’s graph and the range of his boss’s graph were very different. Since they were so different, the employee argued that the board members they were showing the graphs to would not understand the problem they were telling them about. The boss’s graph made it seem as though there was no problem to discuss, yet the employee’s graph made it very clear there was a problem. This is the difference that y-axis’s and x-axis’s can make if they are inaccurately spread out in comparison to the data given. Berinato then delves into the three persuasion techniques: the truncated y-axis, the double y-axis, and the map. If any of these techniques are used too aggressively, they could turn into more of a manipulation and less of a persuasion.

Once again I am shocked and impressed by Scott Berinato’s examination of the different trends on graphs. I have noticed before the importance of accurate values in the y-axis and x-axis in relation to the data. Not only is it a problem with understanding the data, but it is also not very pleasing to look at visually. The point Berinato is trying to make is extremely important in situations where judgements based on a graph are important. I think in most cases this topic is not extremely relevant like in everyday life. Nevertheless, I am impressed at the analysis of these elements of graphs.



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