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Big Revenues or Big Profits?

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Bigcompanies072805_1The chart on the right, from the Economist, displays revenues and profits of the 10 largest companies in the world in 2004 (as ranked by revenues).  The graphic is yet another container of data: it elevates revenues, treating profits as a side thought. This table is clearer:






The next two charts attempt to put revenues and profits on an equal footing.  I include the left chart to illustrate the folly of typical bar charts: the height of the bars serves no purpose except to distort our judgement of the lengths.  The right chart is preferred.







But there is another graphic, favored by statisticians, that truly brings out insights from the data. Go to Junk Charts for more.

Reference: "The World’s Biggest Companies", Economist, July 28 2005.


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  • Aaman

    This post seems incomplete – what is this other graphic, and what is the take-away?

    Edward Tufte be praised!

  • Bryan McKay

    This post is definitely incomplete. You can’t link to your site for people to finish the post – that’s against the rules of the site.

    On a more content-related level, however, I don’t see why your graphs are any better than theirs.

    Finish this post. Then back up your content with more information.

  • Kaiser

    Hi Aaman and Bryan,

    Your comments are well taken. A follow-up post will be up soon.