Holiday book gift ideas for the analytically minded

The holidays are nearing, and you may have a person with a quantitative bent on your gift list. Perhaps that person is an analyst, engineer, scientist or statistician who works in an organization that is ramping up its analytic efforts.

Well, here's help with your holiday shopping! It's a list of books that your favorite analytically minded person would likely enjoy.

This has been on my mind because I am often asked about ways to overcome challenges to data-driven decision making in organizations — typically, these challenges are related to people changing behaviors and doing things differently. Every organization will have its own cultural make-up, but getting people to try new things (and expecting some failures) is not easy.

These books will inspire and share some very interesting perspectives on experimentation, influence, cognitive bias and ways to make better decisions:

For more on methods and approaches:

Several of these are also are recommended on the International Institute for Analytics website.

tags: Academic, Data Visualization, Exploratory Data Analysis, Interactive Data Mining, Modeling, Statistics


  1. Posted November 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the reading list, Anne! My husband makes fun of me for putting statistics textbooks on my Amazon wish list... but perhaps I am in good company.

  2. Steve Figard
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    This also looks like a list of potential Discovery keynote speakers, for those who haven't done so recently!

  3. Posted November 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    That's a hell of a list. It's sort of humbling that I'm so opinionated yet have read so few of them.


  4. Michele Lewis Reeves
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Wow Ann. There's nothing like a great list of books for the 'geeks' in your life... aka "the analytically minded." Thank you for inspiring others to think beyond the traditional gift of socks!
    @ Cat - you are in good company, indeed.

  5. Posted December 1, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant list, and not just because I'm on it! :)

    Ever since Amazon launched this Kindle, they've been making a killing out of me. I should buy shares ...

  6. Posted December 2, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I'd buy some of them but the stack of unread books on my desk would fall over if I did!

  7. Posted December 12, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I missed a few books I should've included in this list and colleagues have recommended a few more. I recently saw a sign: "Life is short. Read fast!" Happy Reading and Happy Holidays!

    Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception, Charles Seife.
    Visual Thinking for Design, Robert Steele
    Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a Connected World, Derek Hanson, Ben Schneiderman, and Marc Smith
    Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics, Nathan Yau
    Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information, Manuel Lima

    For more on methods:
    Large-Scale Inference: Empirical Bayes Methods for Estimation, Testing, and Prediction, Bradley Efron
    Statistics for Business: Decision Making and Analysis, Bob Stine and Dean Foster

  8. Posted December 16, 2011 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    This is good news esp.for friends who really are in business , you gave me an idea. . .might also get one for myself :)

  9. Gregg Phillips
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I read another book over the holiday break that I found to be very relevant to analytics folks. It was Moneyball by Michael Lewis, which is probably familiar to everyone as a fairly recently released movie. I think it's relevant to this community not because of the technical detail but as a call to set aside conventional wisdom and question things using new tools and techniques.

    It doesn't hurt that it's also a very well written and engaging book. Whether you have any interest in baseball or not, check it out.