Infographic nerds: Put away your iPad and prepare to slobber all over your desk. Edward Tufte is auctioning off rare books from his private library.
Tufte, for people who don’t worship at the altar of the Y-axis, is the high priest of modern information design — the man behind texts like Envisioning Information and Beautiful Evidence and a resolute PowerPoint hater. His library is a polymath’s trove (and, more to the point, a peek inside his incredible mind). It has first-edition Galileos, esoteric Russian space charts, and stunning Picasso etchings.
Why on earth would Tufte sell? “My library was always working library, with the rare books beside my computer as I was writing,” he explains on his Web site. “But in the last few years, the books were viewed only when a visitor requested a look at the Galileo, Playfair, or Picasso books, or when I took a nostalgic look in the library. Furthermore, the important books in my library are the unread books.”
More than 150 of the ones he has read are up for auction at Christie’s through Dec. 2, and they sure ain’t cheap. Christie’s says the collection’s worth $2.2 million (though it could fetch a lot more). So unless you’ve got a few hundred large lying around, we suggest you get your Tufte-brain fill right here.