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Must read books for Analysts (or people interested in Analytics)

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One of the ways I continue my learning is reading. I read for 30 minutes before hitting the bed every day. This not only makes sure that I learn some thing daily, but also ends my day in a fulfilling manner. Over the years, I have read a variety of books on various subjects. In this article, I will share a list of 7 must read books, which I think should be present in every Analyst’s bookshelf.

I believe that each and every book listed below has helped me learn about Analytics and expect that they will immensely help people who want to learn about this field.

These books are chosen, not because they have best technical subject matter, but because they help you understand the impact of analytics. While none of these books will tell you how to build the best logistic regression model, they will definitely help you appreciate the need and impact of building a model.

books on analytics

So, if you wish to learn about analytics, do read these books and see how analytics is transforming the world around you:

1. When Genius failed:  The Rise and fall of Long-Term Capital Management

This book is one of my all time favorite. It starts from a period when no one had heard of analysts being employed on Wall Street. A fast paced thriller, which is difficult to put down after reading first 50 pages. This book not only brings out how you can compete on data based decisions, but also why you need to keep human behavior in mind while taking decisions on data.

Here is a brief description about the story:

When it was founded in 1993, Long-Term was hailed as the most impressive hedge fund in history. But after four years in which the firm dazzled Wall Street as a $100 billion moneymaking juggernaut, it suddenly suffered catastrophic losses that jeopardized not only the biggest banks on Wall Street but the stability of the financial system itself.

2. Scoring Points:  How Tesco Continues to Win Customer Loyalty

Written by Clive Humby, one of the founders of Dunnhumby (company which does Analytics for Tesco), this book brings out some of the practical challenges faced by Tesco and how they overcame them to create one of the biggest success story of customer loyalty.

A must read for any one dealing with customer data to study their behavior and then turning them in business insights.

3. The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction

In his recently published book, the political forecaster Nate Silver, who accurately predicted the results of every single state in the 2012 US election, reveals how we can all develop better foresight in an uncertain world. From the stock market to the poker table, from earthquakes to the economy, he takes us on an enthralling insider’s tour of the high-stakes world of forecasting, showing how we can use information in a smarter way amid a noise of data – and make better predictions in our own lives.

The book tells not only about the errors made by analysts, but also how to avoid them.

4. Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability & Science of Customer Centricity

Another recent addition by Avinash Kaushik, author of the leading web analytics and research blog Occam’s Razor. This book is a must read for any one working in Online industry or wants to learn web analytics. It provides specific recommendations for creating an actionable strategy, applying analytical techniques correctly, solving challenges such as measuring social media and multichannel campaigns and employing tactics for truly listening to your customers.

5. Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die

What could be better than learning about Predictive Analytics from one of the most influential personalities in this domain. In this rich, entertaining primer, Siegel reveals the power and perils of prediction by including case studies from across the globe.

Aimed towards a common man, the book explains predictive modeling and its basics in lay man terms.

6. Moneyball

Another one of my favorites, this book is based on application of statistics to baseball. Inspiring story of a baseball team manager with low budget to run the team, who uses statistics to identify undervalued players and carves out a winning team out of them. The book has also been converted into a movie, but I prefer the book over the movie.

7. Freakonomics

This one is a classic, probably the first book where I read on how data and analysis can be used to reveal unknown insights.  While analytics has evolved significantly since the time this book had come out, this book is still worth a read for the analysis it presents and delivers from the tools of previous era.

These ones just missed…

Apart from the ones mentioned, there were a few other books which I had considered in creating this list and are worthy of mention. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, Competing on Analytics by Thomas Devenport, The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb fall in this category. All of these are good reads if you are interested in the subject.

This is my list of must read books for every analyst. In case you have any other recommendation or want to add more on any of the books mentioned, please feel free to add through comments.

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24 Comments

  • Rajiv Jain says:

    Hi Kunal
    How can a professional with BE(Mech)+ Ex-PGDM(marketing) and more than 5 years of exp. in metals and mining sector will be able to prove its ability to handle analytics to be hired by any analytics company in domains like manufacturing, metals and mining, Oil and gas. Although he has a strong analytics aptitude and little exposure to some analytics software too.

    • Kunal Jain says:

      Hi Rajiv,

      There are multiple options which you can explore depending on resources and availability:

        * Making a shift internally, if your company has analytics setup. If you have a good performance record and you can align your manager, this should be the way to go.
        * Alternately, you can look at doing some certifications as mentioned in some of my previous articles here and here
        * Another way could be to start working with analytics companies as an intern and then apply for full time roles, once you have proven yourself.

      Hope this answers your question.

  • sridhar says:

    I have around 7.5 years of experience in Embedded Testing and currently not working any where.
    Recently after reading a lot on Analytics, planning to pursue a course and then take up a job.
    So what do you suggest for people who are into a different domain altogether trying to look for a career shift with almost 8 years of experience.
    I have seen some of your articles on training from various IIMS and reputed institutes. But I am not sure they will offer placment.

    Please guide me – I am now planning to take a course in this areas, but courses would not really give us that real experience as they are really short term and all you get is a exposure. In such cases what would be the right approach ?

    • Kunal Jain says:

      Hi Sridhar,

      As with any career shift, employers will find limited value in your past experience. So, be prepared to take a more hands on role in initial days. The certification courses mentioned in my articles do not provide any placement services and would also be running for longer duration (than your need). There are 2 options which I can think of:
      * Do a certification from software providers. I know about certification courses from SAS adn Qlikview and can recommend a boot camp course. These courses run for a couple of weeks or months, give you all the knowledge and some hands on experience. These can then be followed by examination and certification. These certificates are well regarded in industry and can provide you a selling point on your CV. Some providers can also help you with placements.
      * Alternatively, one more option could be to do a course from Jigsaw Academy. Their course will run for 3 – 4 months and they provide placement support. I don’t know people who have undergone this course, so I can not comment on the course content and placement service, but you can explore it for yourself.

      Hope this answers your question.

    • Ganesh says:

      Hi Sridhar,

      Have you joined any course. If yes, can you share with me the details.

      Thanks in advance.

      Ganesh

  • Shuchita Jain says:

    I would add Super Crunchers by Ian Ayres; it got me interested in this field

  • Doug Dame says:

    Another excellent and well-written book is Peter L. Bernstein’s “Against the Gods – The Remarkable Story of Risk,” which is historical, informative, and thought-provoking.

  • […] Must read books for Analysts (or people interested in Analytics) […]

  • shailesh says:

    hello,
    i have just completed my post graduation in data analysis and financial analysis.
    can you tell me where to start my career and i get some internship in data mining if yes so where i can apply for that
    techniques which is i know that is
    regression, cluster, factor analysis, discriminant analysis,

    software i uses in this analysis R , SAS, SPSS.
    could you pls tell me which things i have to add in this categories so i can got a job in this field.
    sir i also need some material to explore my knowledge.

    plz sir
    kindly assist me

    shailesh

    • Kunal Jain says:

      Shailesh,

      It looks like you have all the required technical skills required for majority of jobs. You can continue to enhance your learning by taking up courses on open platforms like Coursera and researching the internet.

      You should also try and work on softer aspects like communication skills and story telling skills. You can find enough reading material on the web to start with.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  • Vishal Mantri says:

    Good job Kunal, really appreciable, as an amateur data scientist I found the blog really amazing.

  • […] double up the excitement, this time the list is for data scientists (or aspiring ones). Unlike the previous lists, these books are not for the light readers. These books are meant for people who enjoy programming […]

  • Nandakumar says:

    Kunal

    I like to know more details about using BA in Manufacturing and metal Fabrication sectors, where can we get more details for these two sectors.

    I am also in search BA books for these two sectors , not able to get specific to these two industries.

    Any information regrading these will be great support to me.

    With regards
    Nandakumar.S

  • Michael Davies, CFA says:

    Kunal
    Very impressive compilation of work. Without being too self promoting, I’ve published an eBook: Analytics 2 Insight on Amazon. Here’s why I think you may be interested: Time-to-insight is often used to measure the value of analytics. Therefore, tools and systems based on ease-of-use and easy-to-understand visual exhibits can make a substantial contribution to faster payback and value creation. The book, Analytics 2 Insight, is a roadmap to quickly understand key concepts and simple tools like metrics, measurements, and data analysis that can lead the way to fully implementing analytics and big data. In addition, I have included reference to numerous books applicable to honing skills for analytics. The book is available through the Data Science Association and Amazon.

    “Analytics 2 Insight: Roadmap for Data-driven Business
    Operations Drive Performance, Lower Costs, Reduce Risks and Increase
    Value” to the DSA store. See: http://www.datascienceassn.org/store

    Analytics 2 Insight on Amazon

  • kishore says:

    hi i am undergraduate in civil,but would like to change my stream as my interest and passion lies in analytics. can u please suggest where do i start of with??

    • Kunal Jain says:

      Hi Kishore,

      It’s a difficult for you to shift your stream. You are from civil background. To pursue into Analytics, you need to put more effort to learn about Analytics.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  • Ankita Saxena says:

    Hi Kunal,

    I am from BE Computer science background and having 3+ years experience in e commerce as a Business development.Having a keen interest into Analytics.
    Kindly suggest how to start as a beginner or books for self study.

    • Kunal Jain says:

      Ankita,

      At initial stage, you can go with any of the following options:

      1. You can look for the Business development role in Analytics Industry. Once you will get a BD role in Analytics Industry, It would be relatively easy for you to move completely into Analytics by learning about its domain.

      2. You can also start learning R language from our learning path in R. You can also approach free online trainings or institute.

      3. You can also start doing a few open available courses on sites like Coursera and edX.

      Read some good books on the subject like Scoring Points (on Tesco), The new Science of retailing, The Signal and The Noise are some good books on the matter.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  • Mayank Jain says:

    Dear Sir
    I am second year undergrad with interest in Data Analytics. I am currently learning R. Do I need to learn other languages like SAS etc to become a good Data Analytic?

  • Ankit says:

    Dear Sir
    I have been following your course on Internshala for Analystics and it’s great !
    Currently,I am working on an ETL tool called Talend for data extraction,transformations and loading. I would like to work on Tableau for Reporting Analysis along with the business data for decision making. Will this be a path towards Business Analytics[BA] or will this lead to a Business Intelligence[BI] Developer ?

  • Apoorv Verma says:

    Hey Kunal

    I have completed my B.E in Computer engineering. I am working in an organization that works in data analytics domain. I have an experience of just 5 months. I am very new in this domain.
    I am familiar with languages like Python, Java, SQL, I need your suggestions on this front that-
    what skills do I need to become a master in this field.
    And also I want to make my career in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, so how they are related with each other.

    Thanks & Regards
    Apoorv

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