Randall Bolten Blog

December 10, 2014
In my last post we looked at using a table, instead of a graph, to present a more complete, precise, and arguably understandable picture of how the composition of the U.S. House and the president’s party interrelate. And we were still able to take advantage of data visualization! This time, let’s take a look at using one of the most powerful tools in the quantation arsenal – the humble ratio – to really get a message across.

December 03, 2014
We’re back, and I’m hoping you all enjoyed the holiday. As I suggested in the last post, let’s try using a table instead of a graph to see how House of Representatives election results correlate with the incumbent president’s party!

November 26, 2014
The composition of the U.S. House of Representatives provides great material for data visualization. We’ve already produced a graph (click here for the original post, here for the improved version) that, like the Minard graphic of Napoleon’s march to Moscow popularized by Edward Tufte, presents seven types of data in a single two-dimensional space. It paints a rather complete picture. But does it really feed the bulldog?

November 24, 2014
Let’s take a little more time to consider the question of choosing a health insurance policy. In my last post we looked at these choices:

November 19, 2014
We shift gears from recent posts to address a critical – and extremely timely – decision: choosing a health insurance plan, which you must do by 12/15 if you want a new plan in place by 1/1/15. If you’re a finance professional, you will be doing your coworkers and your friends a huge favor if you can help them through this important and expensive decision. And data visualization plays a big part in this task.

November 17, 2014
I’m including this post in the series because of the extremely insightful suggestions offered by my new friend, Hicham Bou Habib, on LinkedIn’s Certified Corporate FP&A Professionals group discussion thread.

November 10, 2014
At last week’s terrific Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) national conference, there was much discussion of “data visualization,” a major information-presentation buzzword these days. Last week’s U.S. elections seem to provoke the same urges to barrage us with graphics. But do all these beautiful pictures really get us anywhere?

October 29, 2014
I am speaking next week at the annual national conference of the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) in Washington, DC. Since financial planning & analysis (FP&A) professionals are a key AFP constituency, I thought now would be a good time for an open letter to the FP&A folks.

October 22, 2014
Today’s USA Today story about last night’s World Series game (GO GIANTS!) includes an interesting graphic, showing the success of “wild card” teams since they were first included in Major League Baseball’s postseason playoffs in 1995. 2014 is the first year that two wild card teams have faced off in the World Series – yes, a major-league record!!!

July 03, 2014
“Is Math Liberal?” – a recent review on the Mother Jones website of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, a book by University of Wisconsin math professor Jordan Ellenberg – suggests that math is not just about computation, but also a framework for thinking through problems intelligently.

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