Aaron Sumner

Exploring Everyday Things with R and Ruby: A book report

The field of analytics is garnering a lot of buzz right now. Whether you’re collecting data for scientific purposes or to determine whether to pivot your lean startup, you need to know how to collect, aggregate, and make meaning of the trail of digital information we leave behind every day.

In Exploring Everyday Things with R and Ruby, Sau Sheong Chang takes a fun approach to teaching readers the fundamentals of analytics and of two increasingly popular languages: Ruby for harvesting data, and R for analyzing that data with interesting results. The sample projects are among the better ones I’ve seen in any programming book, ranging from using data modeling to determine the appropriate number of restrooms in an office building to monitoring your health to harvesting connections and meaning from your email. It’s easy to spend a few hours with each exercise exploring data and experimenting with different ways to interpret data.

You won’t become an expert in Ruby or R after reading this book, but you should have a good foundation for future study. One note of advice: You’ll probably not get a whole lot out of this book if you don’t have any programming experience. While the first few chapters do a good job orienting the reader to the language, they’re targeted to an intermediate-to-advanced level.

Note: I wrote this review for O’Reilly’s Blogger Review Program. It’s a pretty nice deal: Get a free e-book to read, share a review in your blog, get another free book to read. Sign up for yourself to take advantage of this deal, and watch for more book reports in my blog.

. Questions or comments? Let me know what you think.