Book Review: Confident Data Skills

Title – Confident Data Skills

Author – Kirill Eremenko

I picked this up from the the local library’s new arrivals shelf.  It appealed because instead of the usual focus of (big data) centric books on specific application tools or use of Python to manipulate data, it focuses on the logical process to use data.  As someone who tries to think in a logical, engineering-led way, this was excellent.  Side Note: It’s part of Kogan Page’s ‘Confident’ series.

The book is divided into three sections:

  1. ‘What is it?’  Key Principles
  2. ‘When and where can I get it?’ Data Gathering and Analysis
  3. ‘How can I present it?’ Communicating Data

The book contains a number of breakout case studies of real application of data-centric approach to business decisions.  There is a distinct focus on “what question are you trying to answer?”which is a welcome tonic from business insights approach to big data.

The book goes through various stages of assisting the reader, akin to a training course* to getting to grips with the data mindset.  While I found the entire book worthwhile, the most valuable were the two data analysis sections.  It’s rare that deeper concepts find their way in to such a book, rarer still that they are intelligible and digestible by a general reader.

In an effort to be balanced, I would say the way that Python is glossed over, as though it were a simple application one could download and run, was slightly disappointing.  Though I can see why (for reasons I began this review with) an author would wish to hide the complexity of a language.

At the time of writing, this book is £10.35 on Amazon UK, and represents excellent value.

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