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Brilliant Maps: An Atlas for Curious Minds…

Brilliant Maps: An Atlas for Curious Minds (utgåvan 2021)

av Ian Wright (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2467111,297 (4.04)1
"An atlas of 100 infographic maps that reveal something surprising about our world--how many countries have bigger economies than California; who drives on the wrong side of the road; and where you can find lions in the wild--all offering little-known insights and analysis about our world"--
Titel:Brilliant Maps: An Atlas for Curious Minds
Författare:Ian Wright (Författare)
Info:Granta Books (2021), Edition: International Edition
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek


Atlas för nyfikna : 100 kartor som visar världen på ett nytt sätt av Ian Wright


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Visa 1-5 av 7 (nästa | visa alla)
Brilliant maps indeed! I love maps, and this is a great volume of interesting human geography. It includes perspectives such as "All roads lead to Rome," which apparently is still true, on the European continent; countries without rivers (there are 17); which U.S. states' residents prefer cats vs. dogs (more people prefer dogs, though I don't understand why); and the world's 20 largest islands (Canada's Ellesmere has 191 residents, and is bigger than Indonesia's Java, which has 145 MILLION people!). I just love knowing stuff like this about the world, and the facts here are laid out with lovely graphics, so you can read a bit of text and see a nice big picture. It crossed my desk at work (this is why I love my job) and I gobbled it down quite quickly. A caveat: I didn't read all of the preamble, but just skipped straight to the maps. I feel okay about adding it to my "read" pile though! ( )
  karenchase | Jun 14, 2023 |
I write this review because I hate fun and I hate people enjoying themselves

I seriously doubt the qualifications of the author, Ian Wright. He didn’t design or make any of these maps, he contracted a design agency to do that. He also didn’t come up with most of the concepts of the maps, which are mostly attributed to various redditors (I won’t get started on using reddit as a legitimate source because frankly it should be obvious not to do that). He even admitted in the acknowledgments that he and his publisher redesigned the maps to get around copyright laws (They also claim he got approval from all the original map creators, which to me doesn’t make it better). It just seems that everyone did more work than the ostensible author. He just waltzed in on the day of the presentation and wrote his name on the project! And everyone let him!

Now on to the actual content. It’s… not great. The highest praise I can give the book is that it is illustrated well and a few of the maps are moderately interesting. They do not offer “100 new ways to see the world” as advertised. Wright acts like these maps are supposed to make you rethink your biases and they are very political but very light on commentary or context.

10/10 a waste of time to read
6/10 well designed maps
0/10 Ian Wright’s contributions

2/5 total ( )
  astronomist | Oct 3, 2021 |
This was interesting but still somewhat flawed.

What I liked:
• Some of the maps addressed things I’d wondered about, such as time zones and plug/socket shape.
• Some of the maps addressed things I’d never thought to wonder about, such as cats vs. dogs. In this way, the book lives up to its title—it does indeed inspire curious minds.
• Bright colors
• Quirkiness. It has serious elements such as casualties from wars, but it also has some unabashedly bizarre entries, such as the one titled “Chile is a ridiculously long country.”
• A sense of fun.
There is a lot more that I could say here, but I don’t want to take away from the pleasure of discovering it for yourself.

What I didn’t like:
• Data was unclear. It’s definitely more for entertainment than for information. One of the maps, for example, shows different statistics, each in a shade of pink. Okay, it’s a very pretty map, but I have no idea which of the 6 or so almost-identical shades I’m looking at for any given country. Cute, but not helpful. There were several like this, where the data was illegible.
• Data was incomplete. Sometimes the maps just raised more questions about the research. One map, for example, compares homicide statistics among certain countries (randomly? I assume?). The data goes by number of deaths, but it doesn’t show the number as a percentage of the total population, so naturally, the more populous countries tend to have more deaths by any cause, because they have more people in the first place. This doesn’t help me understand anything about the countries’ safety or violence levels. Another map, comparing the U.S. and Europe, shows murder stats as percentages, which would have been more meaningful if two-thirds of it weren’t shades of blue. As before, I couldn’t tell them apart.
• Data was misleading. For example, one of the maps showed only four countries that don’t use the metric system. The U.S. was one of them. Only, here’s the thing: I live in the U.S., and this country uses the metric system in official capacities all the time. It’s taught in public schools, even to the youngest grades, and it’s the standard for any American working in science, medicine, or the military. Even our currency is based on the metric system, which I don’t think the case in every nation. So I’m not clear whether the author’s information is wrong, or whether he meant that all the other countries on their map no longer use any non-metric system. And it’s one thing to use the metric system—which we absolutely do—it’s another thing to abandon a different system altogether. If there aren’t any remnants left of other measuring systems in the whole world except for 4 nations, well, that’s really very sad.
• Data might not have been neutral. Okay, I get it. The author is making a point; he’s entitled to that, since it’s his book. But some of these maps seem to raise loaded questions. I’m going to use the previous example of the metric system map. Seeing all the world drawn in one color (metric system) except for only four countries gives the impression that most of the world has agreed on something, and there are few stubborn holdouts. (I assume that was intentional?) It might be completely innocent, and yet it feels rather pointed, especially give the vague parameters by which he singled out these four nations. I have read enough British literature to know that Europeans have, on occasion, made fun of Americans. So maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it definitely felt like it was meant in that same vein. So what is the result of this? The U.S., which uses another system simultaneously with metric, is sort of mathematically bi-lingual, and like any bilingualist, we are heir to different traditions and heritages. We use a system that’s mostly standard worldwide, but which is also a relatively recent, inorganically manufactured newcomer to the world scene. We also use a different system which stems from an older form of measurements previously used in Great Britain. And Britain didn’t invent it; it was fashioned naturally by different practices from different cultures dating back to ancient times, not just for the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, but also the Romans, and presumably, the other countries for whom Rome was a center for trade and commerce. All roads lead to Rome (that’s another one of their maps)! The foot was just one ancient measurement that corresponded roughly to body parts, and it, along with the palm and cubit, was used by many ancient peoples. Some body-based measurements, common in Roman (the root of the U.S. system) had connections to similar methods in Egypt, Greece, Assyria, Persia, Babylon, the Akkadian Empire, and Sumeria, among others. They were used by ancient Jews, and later, by Christians and Muslims as well as by followers of ancient polytheistic faiths. It was a common ground of sorts among people who spoke different languages and wore different clothes and had different skin tones. It was multi-religious, mult-racial, multi-cultural. It was multi-everything. It was a shared world history. And now it’s just a joke on a map.

This book was interesting and colorful and thought-provoking, but it never lets the reader delve deeper into a topic. It has enough information to be entertaining, but not enough to be useful. It was based on a website, but it just feels like a series of highlights from the site—not anything that can expand on it. It doesn’t make full use of the book form, since it just feels like a collection of info graphics, and it severely underestimates its readers’ attention spans. I give it four stars for being interesting and encouraging people to ask questions. ( )
  MuuMuuMousie | Aug 20, 2020 |
A perfect bathroom book. Each two-page spread is a map of the world that visually displays some interesting statistic, demographic, or bit of trivia. You can speed past the dull ones and linger on the most fascinating, read it straight though or just flip around randomly. Fun. ( )
  villemezbrown | Mar 30, 2020 |

Ian Wright presents many interesting looks at our world and culture in Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds. Maps are able to convey much more meaning in a smaller space than words. Our minds seem to grasp a map of the world and we recognize Canada, China, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, and so on. That line drawing of political borders of the world contains much more information than what readily appears. We see the lines forming the border of France and think Paris, wine, Notre Dame, Camus, Louis XIV, Napolean, and the Eiffel Tower. The simple line maps trigger shortcuts to information in our brains.

When additional information is added to the map, it becomes much more. Listing the countries that have a population smaller than Greater Tokyo would fade from memory quickly, but seeing the countries shaded in on a map leaves a much stronger impression. A simple map explains the difference between England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom more readily than words. Sometimes maps can mislead because a three-dimensional globe cannot be made two-dimensional without losing accuracy. A set of maps here show the real size of continents against their size in commonly used Mercator Projections. Greenland is nowhere near as large as it appears and Africa is much larger. All the landmass of the world can easily fit in the Pacific Ocean.

The maps in this book explore many aspects from average female height in nations to which countries have relations with North Korea and Israel. There is also a map that displays the languages of India and the original plan for its partition. There are maps of trading partners and countries with a GPD greater than California. Wright presents an informative and entertaining look at the political, cultural, economic, and geographical aspects of our planet using only maps and legends.

Available November 1, 2019 ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
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"An atlas of 100 infographic maps that reveal something surprising about our world--how many countries have bigger economies than California; who drives on the wrong side of the road; and where you can find lions in the wild--all offering little-known insights and analysis about our world"--

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