Discussion


Note: Images may be inserted into your messages by uploading a file attachment (see "Manage Attachments"). Even though it doesn't appear when previewed, the image will appear at the end of your message once it is posted.
Register Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
jodwilso

Registered:
Posts: 21
Reply with quote  #1 

A very smart person who took on a brand new role as an analyst & reporting person asked me to recommend some analysis books to help her in her new role.

I recommended Now You See It as a second book to read, but I had trouble recommending a more basic first book to read to get her acclimated with how good analysts think.

In fact, I knew of no such book, and although Now You See It was the closest thing that I've read to what she needs, I still felt it was too advanced for someone who had not been previously in a reporting role.

After researching books on Amazon, looking at ratings, and using the 'Look Inside' feature, I ended up recommending Head First Data Analysis: A Learner's Guide to Big Numbers, Statistics, and Good Decisions.
 
Questions
 
1.  Agree or disagree that those new to reporting and analysis need a more basic book (or experience) before tackling Now You See It?

2.  Agree or disagree with my recommendation of Head First Data Analysis?

 
-Josh

Derek_C

Registered:
Posts: 69
Reply with quote  #2 
The issue I've had with "Show Me the Numbers" and "Now You See It" is not the content, but the format. I daren't bring the coffee-table books into work to show colleagues, as I'd be scared of coffee spills and sticky fingers.

My Tufte collection has the same problem, and if I owned a copy of Bertin I certainly wouldn't casually lend it, nor can I recommend such large volumes to people to buy themselves, sight unseen. 

What I bring in or recommend instead is smaller-format softback books like Bigwood and Spore's "Presenting Tables, Numbers, and Charts" and Mike Middleton's "Data Analysis Uisng Microsoft Excel".  If my colleagues tear them, I'm less distressed. If they buy them and hate them, they're less distressed.

sfew

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 802
Reply with quote  #3 
jodwilso--Head First Data Analysis is a wonderful, practical, and accessible introduction to statistics. I reviewed it favorably in my blog some time ago. Another good book that you might consider when it becomes available in April of 2012 is The Accidental Analyst by Eileen McDaniel, Stephen McDaniel, and Jonathan Koomey. Another book by Jon Koomey that you also might find helpful is Turning Numbers into Knowledge.

Derek_C--By limiting yourself to slightly less expensive paperback books, you've suggested books that probably don't provide what jodwilso is looking for. Sally Bigwood's book is not about data analysis. Similar to my book Show Me the Numbers, but much shorter, Sally's book is about table and graph design for presenting data. Middleton's book is strictly about doing things in Excel, which is not a particularly good tool for data analysis. I share your concern about lending or recommending expensive, hard-to-find books, but none of my books are expensive, despite the fact that they are hardbound and printed on fine paper. My most expensive book sells for less than $29 on Amazon. At this cost, you can recommend and lend them without reservation.


__________________
Stephen Few
carsjam

Registered:
Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #4 
New to the forum, so forgive the late intervention!
Jane Miller's book, The Chicago Guide to Writing About Numbers is a must-read and an excellent companion to Now You See It. After all, to tie your findings together, you need a good narrative. The book goes beyond being a writing manual, it teaches you how to think about data.


sfew

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 802
Reply with quote  #5 
Hi carsjam,

Thanks for mentioning Jane Miller's book as a useful companion to Now You See It. It is a good general guide to writing about numbers, and as such is indeed useful. Its treatment of table and graph design, however, is shallow and isn't based on an understanding of visual perception, so its design guidelines are of limited use. My book Show Me the Numbers focuses on this aspect of quantitative displays in a more thorough and informed manner.

__________________
Stephen Few
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation: