Customer Review

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the purchase, 25 Sep 2012
This review is from: R For Dummies (Paperback)
Given the series' reputation, R for Dummies should be suited for readers with little or no experience in programming or R. After a cover to cover read, I can say that this book delivers. It helps to have some experience with a command line interface paradigm (in other words, you should not be afraid of typing commands into the computer) or at the least, to be susceptible to some new concepts. The book guides the reader through every step from a blinking console cursor to a handsome trellis graphic and assumes no prior experience with R.

Throughout the book, all the examples are executable, which means that the reader can have a rich hands-on (dare I say fun?) experience with managing the data. Topics covered give the reader enough to start and regularly invite him or her to further explore the topic in very rich documentation that already comes with R and add-on packages. The book works as a map for navigating around main streets but an inquisitive reader can (and should) always make turns into smaller alleys to explore issues further.

The book is ready to be read from cover to cover or be a light reference for when you're starting out coding your analysis. The authors did a great job introducing topics that literally may take thousands of pages to explain in detail (e.g. advanced graphics, introductory statistics). From my experience with teaching R to scientists and students, it is that information overload which can be a problem. This book eases the reader into basic structures and slowly builds on them, giving time for that knowledge to settle.

Introduction to various popular packages is very useful and gives the reader a good starting ground to tackle data crunching on their own. Authors endorse various software and techniques, but do not hide the alternatives. They do not cover any specific add-on packages (like biology, finance, market research, high performance computing) but touch the tools that will be useful to everyone.

The book has about 350 pages, which is moderate for an introductory material. Even though this work is not meant to be comprehensive, most, if not all, topics that a regular user of R comes across daily are covered. Given the affordable price, in my opinion this book is well worth the purchase. I would recommend it to beginners and if you're already comfortable with R maybe as a gift to a person who is too afraid to board the R express headed for Data city.
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