Book Review – Learning R

by trdunsworth

I’ve recently been reading Learning R by Richard Cotton. As usual, the disclaimer is that I received a copy of the book for free in return for the review. I have never worked with R before, but I work with a lot of data queries and data analysis in my day job. Mr. Cotton’s book is fantastic from the ability to get the foundations and figure out how to write different things in R. His tone is easy going and conversational; so I was able to follow along on something that seemed foreign in relation to what I do. The book is broken down, at the beginning, into various pieces, strings, numbers, etc. I like this approach to it because it gave me the ability to focus on each piece of the puzzle and see how I could access data and gather information from that data.

My only negative is there seemed little information on using R with databases such as Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, etc. For many of us in a corporate environment, we’re going to be going in and out of those types of data sources so often that I would have appreciated a more in depth coverage there. However, I do feel like the book was excellent for getting your feet wet in something which seems, to me, a potentially very powerful tool. I believe it was the author’s approach to the subject that made the language as accessible as it turned out to be.

Overall, I would suggest, if you work with a lot of data and have to return information on that data, to give this book a read and you will likely find another tool for your toolbox and will feel like you have good knowledge of it out of the gate.