Effective Data Storytelling

The Book

Master the art and science of data storytelling—with frameworks and techniques to help you craft compelling stories with data.

Effectively communicating with data is a necessity in organizations of all types and sizes. It’s often the crucial last mile in the analysis process that determines whether an insight will inspire action.

Transforming data into visual communication is only one part of the picture—it’s just as important to engage your audience with a memorable and persuasive story.

Narratives are more powerful than raw statistics, more enduring than pretty charts. Effective Data Storytelling teaches you how to communicate insights that influence decisions, inspire action, and drive change.

Available in print & ebook

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Essential Elements of Data Storytelling

Rather than focusing exclusively on how to visualize data, author Brent Dykes explores the psychological and emotional aspects of storytelling before he shows you how to combine the three central elements of data storytelling—data, narrative, and visuals—for maximum effectiveness. By covering all the essential elements of data storytelling, this unique book enables you to:

Transform your insights and data visualizations into appealing, impactful data stories

Understand how the brain processes facts and narrative differently

Structure your findings as a data narrative using storyboarding

Incorporate the seven essential principles of visual storytelling

Avoid common data storytelling mistakes by learning from real-world examples

Click the hotspots to learn more

Inspire Change

Effective Data Storytelling: How to Drive Change with Data, Narrative, and Visuals is a must-have resource for anyone who communicates regularly with data. Whether you’re a business manager or a data scientist, you’ll learn valuable frameworks and techniques that will help you turn your key insights into persuasive data stories that inspire change and make a difference.


When narrative is coupled with data, it helps to explain to your audience what’shappening in the data and why a particular insight is important. Ample context andcommentary are often needed to fully appreciate an insight.


When narrative and visuals are merged together, they can engage or even entertain an audience. It’s no surprise we collectively spend billions of dollars each year at the movies to immerse ourselves in different lives, worlds, and adventures.


When visuals are applied to data, they can enlighten the audience to insightsthat they wouldn’t see without charts or graphs. Many interesting patterns and outliersin the data would remain hidden in the rows and columns of data tables without thehelp of data visualizations.

Free Book Club Discussion Guide

Free Book Club Discussion Guide + Bonus Cheat Sheet

Data storytelling is quickly becoming a critical data skill that everyone must master. Launching a book club based on Effective Data Storytelling is a great way for your team to explore, discuss, and develop this valuable, new skill together.

The Author

Meet Brent Dykes

Brent Dykes has spent more than 15 years in the analytics industry, consulting with some of the world’s most recognized brands, such as Microsoft, Sony, Nike, Amazon, and Comcast. As a former analyst, manager, and technology evangelist at companies such as Omniture, Adobe, and Domo, Brent witnessed first-hand the challenges of communicating data effectively. With an educational background in marketing (SFU BBA, BYU MBA), he brings a unique perspective to data storytelling that blends both qualitative and quantitative skills.

Speaking at Rise Conference 2019
Rise - Hong Kong, China 2019
Crunch - Budapest, Hungary 2019

While honing his data storytelling frameworks and techniques over the past several years, Brent has shared his insights at multiple data conferences (Strata, RISE, Crunch, Adtech, Pubcon, Shop.org, Web Summit, and Adobe Summit) and corporate workshops around the world. In 2016, he was honored to receive the Most Influential Industry Contributor Award from the Digital Analytics Association (DAA).

Brent is a regular Forbes contributor with more than 30 published articles on various data topics. After publishing two books on digital analytics, he is now excited to share his passion for numbers and narrative in his new book, Effective Data Storytelling: How to Drive Change with Data, Narrative, and Visuals.

Digital Analytics Association and Forbes

Praise for the Book

“Brent Dykes is the king of data storytelling; he’s probably thought about this more than anyone else on the planet. No matter how good your data and analysis are, they won’t have much impact unless they are embedded in a good story. Read this book to find out how to do that.”

Thomas H. Davenport

Distinguished Professor, Babson College; Research Fellow, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy
Author of Competing on Analytics and The AI Advantage
“Numbers and data visualizations are powerful means to reveal insights and communicate them in business environments, but they are often more effective and persuasive when arranged into narrative structures. Brent Dykes teaches us how to ideate data-driven stories and bring them to fruition while walking us through several fascinating historical and modern examples. Data never speaks for itself; it must be interrogated and compelled to speak. This book explains how."

Alberto Cairo

Knight Chair at the University of Miami
Author of How Charts Lie
"Dykes does a masterful job of making the vague concept of 'data storytelling' tangible and actionable. With real-world examples from history and from the present, which he deconstructs using the concepts that are the core of the book, he hits the sweet spot of being an engaging read that is also specific and tactical."

Tim Wilson

Senior Director of Analytics
Search Discovery
"The first to bring together the importance of data, visuals, and narrative, this seminal work on telling stories with data is chock-full of examples founded on principles from Aristotle to story guru, Robert McKee. I can't wait to share Brent's book with my graduate students and colleagues!"

Maria Massei-Rosato

Adjunct Professor, Parsons School of Design
"If you're tasked with presenting analytical results, then this book is a must read. Brent discusses a wide range of research on how people communicate in general and then ties that research to specific actions you can take to put together an effective story in an analytics setting. The book does a great job of making the case that we often approach analytics presentations poorly and then showing us how to improve."

Bill Franks

Author and Chief Analytics Officer, International Institute For Analytics
Brent Dykes has done an outstanding job in creating a practical and engaging book that will help to improve your data storytelling skills. You will learn how to take the key ingredients of data, narratives, and visuals to help explain, enlighten and engage people so that it leads to better decision-making and initiates change.

Bernard Marr

Futurist and Author of The Intelligent Company, Big Data, Big Data in Practice and Artificial Intelligence in Practice
past & Upcoming events
Mar 2024

DataCamp RADAR: The Analytics Edition


The Art of Data Storytelling: Driving Impact with Analytics

May 2023

Orgnostic People Analytics Sessions


Data Storytelling in People Analytics

May 2023

PBS Annual Meeting 2023

Conference Workshop

Data Storytelling - Turning Numbers into Narrative

View All Events
published articles
Drawing Insights: What Data Storytelling Can Learn From Comic Books

Drawing Insights: What Data Storytelling Can Learn From Comic Books

Brent Dykes portrait photo

April 17, 2024

When you compare data storytelling to any other communication medium, you'll discover an interesting parallel between comic books and data stories. Both of these storytelling formats must balance visuals and words to tell their stories. In this article, I explore five key lessons data storytellers can learn from the world of comic books.