Do you like learning by example?


Around the country and in my neighborhood, kids everywhere have returned to school. We’ve made it through the back-to-school ads in our newspapers, social media, and on TV. Our pocket books are lighter now (and credit cards heavier) with all the spending on school supplies and the very important back-to-school wardrobe. With our slow economy worldwide, many adults find themselves a part of the "back-to-school" movement as well.

I’ve always known (as a Mom) that learning begins on a mother's (or father's) lap. The best way to learn is by example. There are many individual preferences to learning. But most of us learn best by example; practice; repetition; exercise; and training.

My favorite SAS examples books are Ron Cody’s: Learning SAS by Example: A Programmer’s Guide, SAS Functions by Example, Second Edition, and SAS Statistics by Example. And no list of learning SAS books would be complete without The Little SAS Book: A Primer by Lora Delwiche and Susan Slaughter (fifth edition due out mid-fall) which contains examples and graphics.

At user conferences, SAS provides customer surveys asking what you want us to include in books. We often get the feedback, "more examples". In addition to our books, did you know there are many examples located online? Check out the data step examples and the Graphics Samples Output Gallery located on our Web site. On the the right of the Graphics Gallery, there are also examples for selected industries (Clinical Macros, Financial, and Health and Life Sciences). 

Learning by example provides students and professionals with a quick and easy way to learn fundamental concepts about SAS. An old proverb says, "The road to learning by precept is long, but by example short and effective". Happy learning!


About Author

Sandy Varner

SAS Publishing Operations Manager

Sandy joined SAS in 1980 and has been in publishing for over 30 years. In addition to supporting the SAS bookstore, she also focuses on business development with resellers in the publishing industry such as the Apple iBookstore, Amazon, Google, and Barnes and Noble.


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    • Sandy Varner

      Wow, that's cool that you got a free meal. Sharing information is a great way to grow knowledge and community. Way to go!

  2. Sandy Varner

    Great comments and recommendations for books that help you learn by example! Thank you. In reality, most of the books written by SAS users are chocked full of great examples. SAS documentation tells you how the software works and offesr some examples but you are likely to find the best examples in books written by SAS users. Do you have a favorite or most helpful book or example authored by a SAS user? Please share that with us here!

  3. Thanks for sharing the links on data step examples and graphics sample output gallery! I agree. Examples are the best way to learn SAS programming and SAS procedures. When I give my Proc SQL hands-on-workshops, for example, I show five ways to create macro variables. I think with this type of approach, SAS users better understand the full scope and flexibility available to them.

  4. Yes, I like examples. A great way to get started with the ODS Graphics and the SG (Statistical Graphics) Procedures is with "Statistical Graphics Procedures by Examples" by Sanjay Matange and Dan Health, who both are involved in the development of that software. Not TITLED with "By Example", but embodying that style is "SAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics" by Robert Allison, who is a development tester at SAS. By its title, you can see that Allison's book is not necessarily for helping you simply get started.

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