Continuing the book theme established in my last blog, here is another book that looks very interesting. I say 'looks' because I haven't purchased it yet. The book is Head First Data Analysis: A Learner's Guide to Big Numbers, Statistics, and Good Decisions by Michael Milton. It is very different from the last book I recommended.
The main differences are that it is aimed at the beginner, is highly visual, and at under 500 pages is significantly shorter.
Extensive examples make up the majority of the book and use is made of Excel, OpenOffice, and statistical computing software package R.
What is really interesting is that R is a major feature in this book. It doesn't even rate a mention in the Handbook of Statistical Analysis and Data Mining Applications.
The publisher's recommend that you first know how to use basic spreadsheet formulas before tackling the book. After reading this book they also recommend Head First Statistics in the same series. I haven't yet looked into this title.
Author Michael Milton's approach in the book is very refreshing and engaging as well as being very practical. It is a radical departure from the dry texts of most (all?) university courses on the subject. Michael has degrees in philosophy and religious ethics and this may help to explain his innovative approach.
Below are a couple of screen shots of the book to give you an idea of how topics are presented. Click on the images to open a larger version.
Using the Google book preview on publisher O'Reilly's website, you can get a real flavour of the book. I'm impressed by what I see and I have put it on my list of books to buy soon.
You can find the book here on Amazon for about AUD 35. You can also buy it from O'Reilly as a printed book (but it is much more expensive than Amazon) or as an ebook.