Top positive review
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A masterpiece of great content
on 22 November 2014
but in reality it deserves about 5000 stars. (I have no connection whatsoever with the author or publishers)
It's quite clear very quickly when you start working your way even through the early part of this book, that it's the product of an amazingly thorough and clear mind that really understands Excel. It also has a lovely and very friendly authorial voice. Mike Girvin is a brilliant Excel expert, who is constantly giving credit to the people on Mr Excel forum who helped him understand this trick or that.
This book is a very logical and really well laid out set of chapters on how to do increasingly clever and very powerful bits of data analysis (compiling highly selective counts and sums, excluding, including criteria in your calculations etc..) using only formulae (no macros). That is not a failing, if you want data in a column a formula is in the very DNA of Excel and the right way to go. Macros are essential as well, but you'd do well to be a formula black belt, before you tackle macros, because your macros will be that much more powerful.
The book is mainly but not exclusively about Array formulae. It explains with crystal clarity when you need an Array Forumla (using ctrl-shift-enter) and when you don't and has many explanations of how to get the same ends and avoid Array formulas. Because, in reality most people neither like nor understand array formulae, so when you can get the same formula result, without having to use an array formula, it's better to do it that way. It compares Array and non-array formuale to pivots and filters and advanced filters and even has stats on timing and which methods are powerful but slow, versus powerful (and maybe more complex) but really fast.
I'll say a couple of other things to put this book in context. This is from the stable of Mr Bill Jelen, who himself is a very fine author, but other books in the series are about Powerpivot and they are woeful in comparison to this one, so do NOT be put off this book if you have been put off those other ones.
Mike Girvin's download files for this book, are a masterclass in having well thought out examples in exceptionally well organised workbooks. (Rob Collie's download files are truly awful in comparison)
If that wasn't enough Mike Girvin has a Youtube channel where he goes through this book's entire curriculum (with a video in for each chapter, several hours worth in total) and entirely for free.
If you work your way though this book and his videos and truly digest and understand what he is explaining (there is a lot to digest) you will advance to the front-rank of Excel formula masters. All that for £16 is a steal.
My own advice is that it would take months to properly be able to understand this book from cover to cover, but that that effort would enable you to handle some truly challenging Excel situations, and for most of us, that means make us far more effective in our jobs.
A big and heart-felt thank you to Mike Girvin for all that!
this book is really all pros except for my one and only con,
his increasing side boxes of Excel "Array Formula Rules" and a whole chapter recapping the rules, is a bit overwrought, it could have done with more editing and clarity, but that's it, the examples are supreme if you internalise them and what Excel allows you to do with formulae, you won't regret buying this book.
Thank you for reading this far, I quite realise that this is a long review, but I wanted to do justice to a work of enormous quality that really deserves a proper review.