30 August 2007

XPLANE republishes Visual Language by Bob Horn

I am proud to announce that XPLANE will be republishing Robert Horn's landmark book, Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century, which has been out of print for several years.

Robert Lucas, in a review on Amazon says:
"People seem to either love Bob Horn's book "Visual Language" or they hate it. Look at the reviews here on Amazon! The key questions is: Why such a polarizing? To me it means that Horn has written a paradigm-busting, pathfinding, boundary-crossing, far-out book -- one that removes our blinders from a phenomenon that is happening all around us, namely a new international, auxiliary language that is emerging. No wonder it arouses controversy."

You can read more of the Amazon reviews here.
Here's an interview where Bob talks about the ideas his book, and a pdf file where Bob practices what he preaches -- using visual language to explain visual language -- to Cliff Atkinson, author of Beyond Bullet Points.

Bob is a personal friend and the book is a groundbreaking one. Not only does it explain visual language, it employs visual language on every page. It's a true classic and I am glad we are now able to make it available once again.

Buy it here.

If you are familiar with the book I would love to hear your thoughts on it here.

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Menelaos Gkikas said...

I think this is an excellent book, congratulations! I will tell you why! We are living in an age, where some people have mastered to square the circle, and they gamble on this pattern with developmental opportunities, the colloseum! I think that language in the scope of global communication, a contemporary approach, can indicate the path of harmony, the harmonic path!

eAgent said...

Ahhh... what a relief!

Dave, I absolutely love Tufte's work. He's a master at making visual explanation an art...

In that, I agree with Bob Horn that some forms of art don't always translate (re: different kinds of presentations).

Dave, when I first experienced your Xplanations within the pages of USA Today and Business 2.0, I was struck at their lego-like simplicity.

And their instant engagement. They make you smile.

And that, the evoking of a positive emotional response to a "flow chart"... man, that's transcendent!

Thanks for pulling Bob's book back in print. The last guy I saw do such a thing, Mark Moskowitz at www.stonereader.net, changed the world as well, giving hope to authors who'd lost their audience because of publisher's need to remain "fresh".

Best of success with this. Nice to see I now have a ready holiday gift for my close associates.

Warm regards,
Mark Alan Effinger

Anonymous said...

dave, what a great idea. trying to hunt down this book at a reasonable (hm...)price for almost a year now.

next, dave, please point to jaques bertin's "semiology of graphics". its not available - or am i missing something?!

thanx again, dave!

Unknown said...

Posting this on Karen's behalf:


Hi Dave,

In today's blog entry you asked for feedback about Horn's book, and
the Blogspot comment server wasn't responding, so I'm writing you
directly. You can post this in the comment section if you'd like.

I am thrilled to see that Xplane has republished Horn's book, Visual
Language. It is a fundamental resource for anyone who wants to
communicate in "visual language" (= words + images + shapes), which,
nowadays, is almost everyone. I bought my copy during the out-of-
print period; I may have paid more than you're selling it for, but
I'm sure it was less than $100, luckily! Now if I want to recommend
it to someone, I can, and I can also tell them where to find it. Not
having a source is one thing that has held me back from trying to
offer some kind of visual thinking class in my community. I think
this is an idea that is so ripe: with all the current technologies
that allow people to easily create and share information, making it
visual and memorable - communicating effectively - is more important
than ever.

Taking the two-day "Visual Thinking and Visual Communication" class
Horn had developed and licensed (taught by someone else) at Boeing in
2000 was a life-changing experience for me. I was just starting to
learn about systems thinking around the same time, and it was like
being in college again - so many exciting ideas and possibilities! It
started me on a path I am still exploring, trying to apply visual
approaches in situations where people tend to just talk-talk-talk.

One question that is still burning for me is whether Horn (or a Horn/
Xplane collaboration) is planning a follow-up book? I think the work
he has done since then has tremendous potential to help in solving
the "wicked" and "messy" problems we face in the world today. I'm
thinking of the "mess maps" he wrote about in the Packard Foundation
paper ("Knowledge Mapping for Complex Social Messes", http://
www.stanford.edu/~rhorn/a/recent/spchKnwldgPACKARD.pdf), and the
other public policy projects he describes on http://www.stanford.edu/
~rhorn/ (and more recent work). I am sure Xplane also has expertise
and insights, developed through your work with clients, and certainly
in constant refinement, that could make a huge impact if they were
more widely known and used. Is there any chance you will be compiling
and publishing a compendium of map "patterns" and how to build them?
I would love to be involved in such a project, or at least be one of
the first buyers of such a book!

I haven't looked at the Xplane website in quite awhile until today,
and I have to tell you I am VERY impressed. It is so concise and
clear - a great example of walking your talk - demonstrating the
value you bring. It is inspiring and sets a new standard for clarity
in business websites. Congratulations to you and your team!

Karen Bennett

PS: You might want to get him to update his order page for the book,
which still says it is out of print! http://macrovu.com/

Unknown said...

First of all, congratulations!

But could XPLANE sell the book in a e-book format? I want to buy the book but I'm from Brazil...

Unknown said...

First of all, congratulations!

But could the XPLANE sell the book in .pdf format? I want to buy the book but I'm from Brazil...