Category Archives: Suggested Readings

Articles, books, and white papers worth your time.

Data Driven – Creating a Data Culture (DJ Patel, Hilary Mason)

cat DJ Patel (of RelateIQ and LinkedIn fame) and Hilary Mason (of Fast Forward Labs and Bitly fame) recently released a free eBook that speaks to the merits of designing and enabling a data driven culture within an organization.

“A data driven organization acquires, processes, and leverages data in a timely fashion to create efficiencies, iterate on and develop new products, and navigate the competitive landscape.”

These two thought leaders in the big data and data science space bring together years of experience and deep knowledge to offer their views on:


  • What a data scientist should be
  • What defines a data driven organization and what they do well
  • The importance of democratizing data
  • Designing a data driven organization and how to manage research
  • Being the change agent for data success

The authors also stress that gut instinct has a key role to play in a data driven organization:

“One word of caution: don’t follow the data blindly. Being data driven
doesn’t mean ignoring your gut instinct. This is what we call letting
the data drive you off a cliff.”

I highly recommend that you take the time to read this brief but pithy eBook.

Get your copy of the eBook here: Data Driven – Creating a Data Culture.

You will be asked for your name and email prior to download.

Regards, Louis.

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My New Year’s Resolution Impetus: Two Great Reads

Deep Knowledge

 

While reading two books over the holiday break, I was inspired to demand more of myself and in turn, lay the foundation for my New Year’s resolution.

So Good they can’t Ignore You (Cal Newport)

5 Elements of Effective Thinking (E. Burger, M. Starbird)

 

These two books, each in their own way, identify and describe core characteristics of people who are not only highly successful, but happy as well.  These people don’t label their work as a job nor as a career.  They would tell you that their work is a calling.

What jumped out immediately while reading these books was that each identified “deep knowledge” as a fundamental underpinning necessary for career and personal success.  Most, if not all, “true” experts of a discipline take the time to master their subject. They aren’t afraid of failure; in fact, they welcome it.  Failure provides so much useful feedback that it actually can be used as a guide for success.  C.S. Lewis said it best: “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”

Deep Knowledge

“Be your own Socrates” is a driving principle in 5 Elements of Effective Thinking.  You should never stop asking questions and always be critical of your own thought process.  In my professional career, I have bumped into too many folks who simply want to be right, to have all the answers, and to be the smartest people in the room (big yawn!).  Fortunately, I have also encountered people who care only about deep knowledge and seeking truth.  Deep knowledge demands incessant questioning, meaningful and relevant dialogue, and the ability to put your ego in your own back pocket for the sake of unearthing truth.

Aspiring to deep knowledge has an important side effect of building rare and valuable skills.  This is a fundamental premise of So Good They Can’t Ignore You.  The author proffers the idea that success is not achieved from pursuing your passion, but rather results from going all in and striving to be a true craftsman.  The deeper you learn the better you become at it, and this is what leads to true passion.  There is a great line in the book, “Following your passion is flawed, and can be harmful – leading to frequent job/career changes and anxiety/angst.”  I have been guilty of chasing something I thought was a passion only to find it was incompatible to me, or it entailed a profound focus and energy outlay for which I was unprepared.

My take away from these books mimics a phrase we have heard our entire lives from our parents, friends, and wise elders, “If you are going to do something, do it well.”  Easy to say, much harder to do!

My New Year’s resolution is to strive for excellence in my professional endeavors.  I will not rest on my laurels, and most importantly, the proverbial foot shall not be removed from the accelerator!

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Louis.

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Beyond the Basics – Data Science for Business (Foster Provost & Tom Fawcett).

Data Science For BusinessIn an earlier post, I recommended a short read on introductory data science and big data. That book gave a fantastic overview of the major areas and ideas governing these disciplines. However, if you are motivated to dig deeper and wrap your head around details, then Data Science for Business should be your next read. This book does a fantastic job of helping the reader understand how one should think if they are considering data science as a profession, or they want to understand all the hype. Further, much detail and time is given to the idea of the “Data Analytics Lifecycle” which governs data science projects through process and a framework.  The authors meticulously step through the various modeling techniques with solid examples and explanations.  There are sections of the book that detail some math and their derivations which may prove to be challenge if your math is rusty. However it should not present too much of an obstacle with regards to understanding the gist of what is being conveyed.  In the preface, the authors state the book is intended for business people who are working with data scientists, managing data scientists, or seeking to understand the value in data science. Also, the book is suited to developers implementing data science solutions and finally, aspiring data scientists.  I believe that this book has a role to play in one’s education in data science and that it is an appropriate read for those wishing to understand, with detail, how data science is done and what it aims to achieve.


Louis V. Frolio

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A Great Introduction to Data Science and Big Data.

SimpleIntroDataScienceFor those of you foraying into the world of Big Data (BD) and Data Science (DS), it can be challenging to find a single resource to help paint a meaningful high-level picture of what this stuff is all about.  Personally, I always like to start with a 30,000 foot view of the challenge or endeavor before me.  I find that it helps frame the important concepts better enabling the consumption and digestion of the details to follow.  This tiered approach is especially important to the disciplines of BD and DS.  A book I read in less than 45 minutes completely satisfied my 30,000 foot criteria.  The key to this book’s success is the organic progression of each chapter, the breadth of topics introduced and its overall brevity.  The authors (in a mere 65 pages) walk you through a summary of data science, a working definition of big data, the new technologies necessitated by big data, aspects of the data analytics lifecycle, key characteristics of a data scientist and approaches to effective communication as a data scientist.  If you have an interest in DS or BD, get your hands on this book.  It provides a simple overview of the complicated disciplines of data science and big data.

Louis V. Frolio

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