Books About Business Analytics; Development, Analysis and Visualisation

Books that are strongly recommended.


T-SQL Fundamentals – Itzik Ben-Gan
Itzik Ben-Gan explains everything so well. He has written several books including ‘T-SQL Querying’ (with others) and ‘SQL Windowing Functions’. This book is one of his earlier books and although it has ‘fundamental’ in its title it shows off some very powerful ways of using SQL.

Microsoft BI stack

Tabular Model – Marco Russo & Alberto Ferrari & Chris Webb
Explains Microsoft new tabular model for developing data warehouses which is a new technology that may provide much better performance and simpler implememtations

Visualizing Data With Microsoft Power View – Brian Larson et al.

Visualizing Data With Microsoft Power View - Book Cover This is a thorough introduction to Power View, Microsoft’s new data visualisation and exploration tool. The book is accompanied by a set of videos (on DVD in the paper book, downloadable if you buy the Kindle version). These are even more useful than the book. Power View is quite different to reporting tools and the best way to learn it is to see it in action. The videos are well explained and comprehensive.


Agile Analytics: A Value-Driven Approach to Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing – Ken Collier
Agile techniques have come late to BI development but this books expains that they are just as necessary d describes how to accomplish agile BI.

Star Schema The Complete Reference – Christopher Adamson
This is a very practical and useful book for those of us who design BI systems. A star schema is the arrangement of the tables in a data warehouse; the category (dimension) tables and the values (fact) tables. It is the bedrock of a good BI system so getting the design of the star schema right is important.

The book has very clear definitions of many of the terms used in data warehousing such as behavioural and degenerate dimensions. For example, it compares and describes very well the two main architectures, the Kimball ‘Dimensional Warehouse’ and the Inmon ‘Corporate Information Factory’. It discusses best practices for all the design issues involved – e.g. slow changing dimensions, drill across tables. It gives the pros and cons for the various design trade-offs that you must make when designing a star schema.

Data Visualisation

Now You See It – Stephen Few
Stephen Few has written three books. The others are ‘Show Me The Numbers’ and ‘Designing Dashboards’. I have found ‘Now You See It’ most useful for quantitative data visualisation for finance and risk management since it contains very relevant chapters such as dealing with time-series data, correlations and variances between data.

The Visual Display Of Quantitive Information – Edward Tufte
This is the classic