A common question for many who are interested in doing data analysis and visualization on their own is, “What analytics books should I read?” To answer that question, here is a list of recommended books for novice analysts (and even those who are already fans but want to know more).
Getting to know analytics
1. Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) by Chris Rudder
2. Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t by Nate Silver
These first two books don’t necessarily offer much in the way of practical advice for analytics. But, they do contain dozens of interesting and fun examples of the power of analytics and data. If you’re dealing with any skeptics, these books can really help. For example, they show others how powerful analytics can be, breaking down preconceived notions and changes people’s perceptions from“this is how we’ve always done it” to “this is how we should do it and why.”
Data visualization is part art, part science
- The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization by Alberto Cairo
- The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication by Alberto Cairo
Alberto Cairo’s analytics books are great introductions to the art of data visualization. First, there’s The Functional Art, which explains how to get started on building visualizations and turning data into useful insights. Meanwhile, The Truthful Art takes it a step further. It explores the process of creating effective visualizations, charts, and graphs that clearly communicate and explain data to your audience. Cairo also explains how visualizations can be misleading, whether on purpose or by accident. And, finally, he shares how to evaluate other visualizations and your own.
Randy Krum’s book focuses on building infographics. It walks you through the design process and tools for creating them. And, it covers some of the most effective ways to communicate data. Best of all, it’s chock full of visually appealing and cool infographics as examples.
This book shows how you can convince your organization to embrace analytics, which requires integrating analytics into a corporate culture. It describes the steps for evaluating your organization’s analytic requirements and capabilities and then developing an effective plan to move forward.
Blinded me with science…Not
8. Data Science for Business: What You Need to Know about Data Mining and Data-Analytic Thinking by Foster Provost and Tom Fawcett
9. Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics by Tom Davenport
10. Developing Analytic Talent: Becoming a Data Scientist by Vincent Granville
These last books explain how more advanced analytics can benefit you and your organization. They cover how to adopt a mindset with a focus on data to take advantage of analytics. They include helpful information about how to communicate with those doing the analysis for you, as well as how to communicate results to others. You can use them to start developing your own skills and become a data scientist if that is something that interests you.
You’re ready to take on the analytics world
Analytics really is a discipline for everyone now. Having a basic understanding of your data and being able to uncover insights are key ingredients to making the decisions that drive your business forward. Read any one of these analytics books, a few or all 10, and you’ll be able to see how imporrant analytics and data visualization are to what you do every day. You can also try applying what you’ve learned from these books with Watson Analytics. Sign up for the free trial here.
Here’s another great idea (along with the analytics books)
The analytics books in this blog really will help anyone who wants to learn (more) about analytics. Another great way to get more about analytics and how people are using them every day, we recommend attending IBM Vision 2017 in Orlando, FL, May 16-19, 2017.