Chapter 5: Increasing the “wow factor”

Home > Chapter 5

Jaw-dropping Graphs



Line variety is the simplest kind of statistical picture or graph. It shows trends which everyone is interested in seeing or knowing about or spotting or forecasting. But what sets apart one line graph from another? A graph with a line that is constantly increasing and increasing at a high constant attracts more readers then a line at a slow steady consistency. These graphs can be known as "the gee-wiz graphs".


If you can't prove what you want to prove, demonstrate something else and pretend they are the same thing. Hardly anyone will notice the difference.The way to get that eye-catching line is or “gee-wiz graph” is by simply manipulating your line graph. But first you must make sure that your “attractive figures” must be true. After that it’s easy; all you have to do is change the proportion between the ordinate (y-axis) and the abscissa (x-axis). There is no rule against it and it gives your graph a prettier or more appealing shape. Creating a "gee-wiz" graph is vastly more effective; it contains no adjectives or adverbs to spoil the illusion of objectivity. There is nothing anyone can say you did wrong here. 


Take for example, the two line graphs (left) showing fertilizer productivity. The first graph shows a steady increase in productivity, but the second graph shows a rapid growth in productivity making the fertilizer look much more productive. If you were looking for a productive fertilizer for your plants, based on the two graphs which one would you choose to grow your plants more efficiently? It would be easy to believe that this large distortion was an accident, but anyone putting together a graph can do this! If the numbers are honestly graphed, the graph is good. 


This method of manipulation is far from new, it was shown up long ago, as long as 73 years ago. Several businesses use this technique in attempt to make their sales look better to customers. Using this technique, one can cause a "wow factor" and win over audiences. Nothing has been falsified, except the impression that it gives.

For more examples:

Sem Pond Jump


Stock Market