Persuasion or Manipulation

In chapter seven of Berinato’s, “Good Charts”, Berinato explains the grey are of graphs and how they can be used for persuasion and manipulation. He begins the chapter  by explaining a real life situation between an employee and her boss. The boss asked her employee to create a graph showing a change in job satisfaction and the boss made one too. The boss did not agree with her employees graph and the employee also noticed that her bosses graph had been truncated to show a more dramatic effect. Both of their graphs showed the same data, but in a different way. This story is symbolic for the rest of the chapter and how it describes different methods people use to manipulate their graphs in order to persuade others into interpreting it a certain way. The techniques used for changing graphs are truncated y-axis, double y-axis, and the use of maps.


The section of this chapter that interested me the most was the anecdote at the beginning. I have heard of examples very similar to this from my mom who works in the Pentagon. People will attempt to alter the looks for a graph to manipulate the thoughts of others so as to be more effective. These methods are extremely popular in commercial industries, because their whole goal is to persuade us to be a consumer of their product or idea. Is it clever or is it deceitful? I guess that is still up to interpretation.


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