There's a reason why everyone gets excited over a good infographic. A beautifully illustrated graph has the power to teach us something new and entertain us.
Now new book The Best American Infographics 2013 has collated the smartest and most stunning infographics published online and offline in America in 2013, with subjects ranging from happiness to sports to space to gender politics.
Author of art and information blog Brainpickings, Maria Popova, was on the judging panel to whittle down the best infographics alongside authors Gareth Cook, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist and New Yorker writer, and musician David Byrne who has himself produced infographics.
Here are five of the top infographics in the book, from a periodic table of deaths in Breaking Bad to a flowchart to help you decide if you should check your email.
Seasonal Produce Calendars
The availability of produce in the northern hemisphere by month and season. (Russell van Kraayenburg)
Email: Help for Addicts
A handy flowchart to help you decide if you should check your email. (Wendy MacNaughton, independent illustrator, for Forbes)
How to Be Happy
Just ask yourself one question. (Gustavo Vieira Dias, creative director of DDB Tribal Vienna)
America's Most Popular Birthdays
The days of the year, ranked by the number of babies born on each day in the United States (Matt Stiles, NPR data journalist)
The Four Kinds of Dog
Analyzing the DNA of 85 dog breeds, scientists found that genetic similarities clustered them into four broad categories. The groupings reveal how breeders have recombined ancestral stock to create new breeds; a few still carry many wolflike genes. The length of the colored bars in a breed’s genetic profile shows how much of the dog’s DNA falls into each category. (John Tomanio, senior graphics editor, National Geographic)