Head First Data Analysis
A learner's guide to big numbers, statistics, and good decisions
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: July 2009
Pages: 486

Today, interpreting data is a critical decision-making factor for businesses and organizations. If your job requires you to manage and analyze all kinds of data, turn to Head First Data Analysis, where you'll quickly learn how to collect and organize data, sort the distractions from the truth, find meaningful patterns, draw conclusions, predict the future, and present your findings to others.

Whether you're a product developer researching the market viability of a new product or service, a marketing manager gauging or predicting the effectiveness of a campaign, a salesperson who needs data to support product presentations, or a lone entrepreneur responsible for all of these data-intensive functions and more, the unique approach in Head First Data Analysis is by far the most efficient way to learn what you need to know to convert raw data into a vital business tool.

You'll learn how to:

  • Determine which data sources to use for collecting information
  • Assess data quality and distinguish signal from noise
  • Build basic data models to illuminate patterns, and assimilate new information into the models
  • Cope with ambiguous information
  • Design experiments to test hypotheses and draw conclusions
  • Use segmentation to organize your data within discrete market groups
  • Visualize data distributions to reveal new relationships and persuade others
  • Predict the future with sampling and probability models
  • Clean your data to make it useful
  • Communicate the results of your analysis to your audience

Using the latest research in cognitive science and learning theory to craft a multi-sensory learning experience, Head First Data Analysis uses a visually rich format designed for the way your brain works, not a text-heavy approach that puts you to sleep.

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by PowerReviews
O'Reilly MediaHead First Data Analysis

(based on 2 reviews)

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(7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)


Great concept, but riddled with typos


from St. Petersburg, Florida

About Me Designer, Developer, Sys Admin

Verified Reviewer


  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written


  • Too many errors

Best Uses

  • Intermediate
  • Novice

Comments about O'Reilly Media Head First Data Analysis:

The best thing about this book is how it uses real-world marketing questions to unlock the concepts and techniques behind practical data analysis.

That's a reverse -- and far superior -- approach to conventional reference books, which provide definitions and concepts, but no practical guidance on how to apply them (it's like trying to learn to write by being handed a dictionary).

The problems in each chapter are presented in the form of a memo from a higher-up who wants an answer to a vaguely-stated question. The chapter breaks down the vague memo into specific, actionable tasks, and shows you how to use different statistical tools to coax insights out of a collection of data.

What's more, the book encourages the reader to apply critical thinking skills at each stage of analysis -- probably the most important quality a good data analyst can have.

The style makes for a nice balance between the dense examples-only format of O'Reilly's Cookbook series, and the definition-laden format of a conventional reference book.

The only ding against the book is that it doesn't appear to have been given a proofreader's eye before publication.

It's peppered with errors in the form of numerous typos, sloppy arithmetic, and careless, rote copying-and-pasting of formulas and text blocks that weren't appropriately edited before reuse.

These problems will lure some readers off-track by reversing the meaning of some equations, and bringing into question how some results were obtained, since following the badly-edited examples clearly won't yield anything close to the correct answers.

So readers will have to apply their critical thinking skills just to parse some of the presented material so it makes sense, and not take all of it at face value.

The spate of errors is the only thing that prevented me from giving this book 5 stars.

(5 of 11 customers found this review helpful)


If you work with data, read it

By Guille

from BCN

Verified Reviewer


  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples


    Best Uses

      Comments about O'Reilly Media Head First Data Analysis:

      This book shows different ways of extract useful information from raw data. Is the only book I know that get to do it without sleep sheep.

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