Rebooting the Little SAS Book: Catching up with the authors before WUSS 2015


LittleSASBookAsk any user how they first learned SAS and there’s a good chance they’ll cite The Little SAS Book as a resource they used to get started. Authors Lora Delwiche, Susan Slaughter, and Rebecca Ottesen have written a new book that promises to be just as helpful to new SAS programmers.

Exercises and Projects for The Little SAS Book Fifth Edition includes a variety of exercises to help people learn SAS programming. All three authors will be presenting at WUSS 2015 in San Diego and signing books in the exhibit space on Thursday September 10 from 1:45-2:15pm. It’s a real treat for attendees, who can meet the authors and purchase their book at a 25% discount.

I recently chatted with each of them to learn more about their new book.

Q: The Little SAS Book has taught hundreds of users how to use SAS.  How is this new book different?
Lora Delwiche: The Exercises and Projects book complements The Little SAS Book by providing questions to test your SAS knowledge and interesting and often challenging exercises to practice what you have learned. The book also includes several ideas for extensive projects that require a broad knowledge of SAS to complete. All topics covered in the Exercises and Projects book are also covered in The Little SAS Book. We hope that readers of The Little SAS Book will appreciate having this book to help them along their SAS learning journey.

Q: In your blog for the SAS Bookshelf, you listed three different types of exercises included in the book:  multiple choice, short answer, and programming exercises.    What were some of the inspirations for your exercises?
Susan Slaughter: For every chapter in The Little SAS Book, Fifth Edition, there is a corresponding chapter in our new book of exercises. So, for example, the answers to questions in chapter 1 of our book of exercises can be found by reading chapter 1 of The Little SAS Book. Rebecca did a great job of tracking which exercises related to which sections to make sure that every section was covered. Further inspiration came from our work experiences (showing us what people need to know) and from teaching SAS (showing us where people tend to get stuck). I'm not sure whether this is true for Rebecca or Lora, but I also got inspiration from seeing where I personally get stuck. So, for example, I have a hard time remembering the order of the dimensions in a PROC TABULATE TABLE statement. (It's page, row, column.) So I wrote a multiple choice question targeting that specific thing.

Q: Lora and Susan have been “Rock Stars” in the SAS Press and users group world for a long time.  What was it like to work with them? Rebecca Ottesen: Working as a trio with Lora and Susan has been amazing. I had no idea in the beginning of this project how much effort we would put into writing the exercises and projects book. I came to the table with years of material that I had developed for my SAS programming classes at Cal Poly. For each chapter I would organize the relevant exercises and send them to Lora and Susan for review. It was clear right away that they are not only a great team, but they balance each other incredibly well. Susan has an impeccable sense of detail and writing style. She took my exercises and whipped them into shape. Lora made countless suggestions about angles that I had never thought of. Her ideas about variations on programming and coding style were invaluable. I never expected to learn as much as I did during this project. I am so thankful to Lora and Susan for collaborating with me on this book.

Now for something fun.

Q: When you’re not writing a SAS Press book or presenting at WUSS, what might I find you doing?
Lora Delwiche: I have been spending my summer in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. Coming from drought stricken California, I have been relishing the abundance of water here by sailing, kayaking, and visiting the numerous waterfall and gorge trails that dot this area.

Susan Slaughter: It's not something I do on a regular basis, but I just returned from driving 3,000 miles from California to New York because my son, Matthew, is starting in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Master of Science in Business Analytics program. It is an amazing program and I wish programs like that had existed when I was in college! One thing that helped Matthew to get accepted into the program was the fact that he is Base SAS certified. Driving across the country is a lot for one person so my husband and I drove with Matthew, and then flew back. We drove 500 to 700 miles a day so there wasn't a lot of time for sightseeing, but we did manage to see Mt. Rushmore National Memorial and Niagara Falls, both of which are incomparable and awe inspiring.

Rebecca Ottesen: Most of my free time is spent with my kids trying to do anything we can that is water related. We live about 10 minutes from the Pacific Ocean so we spend a lot of our weekend time at the beach during the summer. If we can't get to the beach then we try to get to the pool instead.

You can meet these fascinating ladies and a few hundred more of your fellow SAS users at WUSS 2015, September 9-11 in San Diego. Follow us on Twitter at #WUSS15!



About Author

Nancy Moser

Sr Events Project Manager

Nancy Moser is an Event Project Manager, with a passion for providing memorable events and communities to share knowledge and connect with other SAS users. As a member of the Users Group Programs Team, Nancy works the Regional Users Groups and SAS Global Users Groups to share relevant content with community participants. An MBA graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Nancy has over 15 years’ experience in the IT industry. Nancy previously worked in the Utilities industry as a business analyst and in the Securities Industry as a Financial Principal. Nancy enjoys gardening, reading and cooking for her family and friends.

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