The ability to analyze and translate data into something that people understand is a remarkable talent that only the most methodical of people are truly good at.
Great data analysts enjoy their work.
Some people look at a lengthy list of numbers and statistics and immediately glaze over with boredom and confusion. A good data analyst, on the other hand, will feel challenged and excited.
What can these numbers teach us? How will this impact the decision making and future direction of the business?
Have a Well-Defined Aim
Before you start analyzing data, ensure that you have a well-defined aim. Whether you are problem-solving, improving best practices, or seeking out new trends, know what you want from your data before you start.
Utilize External Data
Utilizing relevant external data will give you more opportunities for cross-referencing variables and a better insight into your internal data. Relevant external data will also make your analysis is more interesting and help you place it into a wider context.
Using Visualization Tools
Expand and improve your skillset by learning how to use a variety of visualization tools. Using the right visualization tools at the right times will help you to communicate your insights more easily.
A greater understanding of the story that your analysis has uncovered will give your findings more weight and influence on the people you are presenting to.
Don’t forget that there may be many different people within your organization that can learn from the insights you uncover. Keep in touch with your colleagues in sales and marketing, IT, finance, operations, and HR to ensure that they are able to learn from the data you’re analyzing, too.
The speed at which technology and data analysis tools are evolving requires a great data analyst to be striving to learn new skills constantly. We’ve put together a reading list below, featuring the best data analysis books available, as recommended by top entrepreneurs and professionals in the industry.
Best Data Analysis Books
Data-ism: The Revolution Transforming Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, and Almost Everything Else
Question: What five books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path & why?
Answer:I know this is sounds self-serving but I’d recommended both of my books, the soon to be released,
- “Niche Down: How to Become Legendary by Being Different”
- Harper Collins’ “instant classic,” “Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets”
- The Effective Executive, by Peter Drucker
- The E-Myth, by Michael Gerber
- Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott
- Back from the Dead, by Bill Walton
- The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, by Al Ries and Jack Trout
The most troubling reading I did on vacation was Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, by two sociologists, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, who examine the evidence on what college students actually learn. I was surprised how little data there is on this important question. Even more disturbing, the data cited by the authors indicates that students may not learn very much. In their first two years of college, many U.S. college students advance very little in important skills like critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing.
I was really surprised to read that. The data shows that students today spend much less time actually studying, and they take less rigorous courses, most of which don’t require them to do much writing, for example. And yet even so, many students do not complete their degrees. Graduation rates from U.S. colleges are much lower than in many other countries. What’s going on in higher educationis a topic I care a lot about, and I basically agree with the authors’ findings that we have a real problem. I plan to take a deeper dive into this topic with a full review of Academically Adrift, which I’ll post in a few weeks.
The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny
When asked what books he recommended to his 18-year-old daughter Malia, Obama gave the Times a list that included The Naked and the Dead and One Hundred Years of Solitude. “I think some of them were sort of the usual suspects […] I think she hadn’t read yet. Then there were some books that are not on everybody’s reading list these days, but I remembered as being interesting.” Here’s what he included:
- The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer
- One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
- The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing
- The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston
Steel My Soldiers’ Hearts: The Hopeless to Hardcore Transformation of U.S. Army, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry, Vietnam
Right on the Money: Doug Casey on Economics, Investing, and the Ways of the Real World with Louis James
The Age of Migration has been the main textbook for migration studies since it first appeared in 1993; I have relied on it both as a resource for my own research and a text for my upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses on the politics of immigration. The fifth edition continues the excellent coverage of migration theories and history, the politics of immigration, and issues such as race and ethnicity, while bringing in new material on topics like the impact of climate change. The authors are to be commended for addressing critical issues in a time of global change.
It's important that we make this transformation, because of what Clayton Christensen calls the innovator's dilemma, where people who invent something are usually the last ones to see past it, and we certainly don't want to be left behind.
Until I read this book, Buzzati's Il deserto dei tartari was my favorite novel, perhaps my only novel, the only one I cared to keep re-reading through life. This is, remarkably a very similar story about the antichamber of anticipation (rather than the antichamber of hope as I called Buzzati's book), but written in a much finer language, by a real writer (Buzzati was a journalist, which made his prose more functional) ; the style is lapidary with remarkable precision; it has texture, wealth of details, and creates a mesmerizing atmosphere. Once you enter it, you are stuck there. I kept telling myself while reading it: this is the book. It suddenly replaced the deserto.
A few caveats/comments. First, I read it in the original French Le Rivage des Syrtes (French Edition), not in this English translation, but I doubt that the translator can mess up such a fine style and the imagery. Second, the blurb says Gracq received the Goncourt prize for it. Julien Gracq REFUSED the Goncourt, he despised the Parisian literary circles and by 1951 decided to stay in the margin. He stuck to his publisher José Corti rather than switch to the fancy Gallimard after his success (as Proust did) (or other publishing houses for the fakes and the selfpromoters). Third, this book came out a few years after Buzzati's deserto, but before Buzzati was translated into French. I wonder if Gracq had heard of the deserto; the coincidence is too strong to be ignored.
Gladwell is not the first person to come up with the 10,000 hour rule. Nor is he the first person to document what it takes to become the best in the world at something.
But his stories are so great as he explains these deep concepts.
How did the Beatles become the best? Why are professional hockey players born in January, February and March?
And so on.