Turning Numbers into Knowledge

Tips for the art of problem solving

Turning Numbers Into Knowledge coverTurning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving by Jonathan Koomey is a collection of topics organized to make the reader a better analyst, both in the creation and presentation of analysis as well as the critical review of other analysts’ work. The book is divided into five sections: Things to Know, Be Prepared, Assess Their Analysis, Create Your Analysis and Show Your Stuff. The 39 chapters are short, cover a broad range of topics and most can be read independently of the others. Each chapter references other reading material, so it’s easy to find more information on the topics you want to go deeper with.

A portion of my job involves analysis, but I’m most often creating dashboards or visualizations that will be used by full-time business analysts. Jonathan Koomey is “a researcher, author, lecturer, and entrepreneur whose work spans climate solutions, critical thinking skills, and the energy and environmental effects of information technology,” so his perspective quite a bit different than mine. This difference in perspective is what ultimately made the book valuable to me. Recognizing that there are plenty of “hard skills” books about data analysis, Koomey has created a unique book that focuses on soft skills. If you already have a “few” books about data visualization, you find Dr. Koomey’s coverage on the subject a bit light. But his tips model creation with Microsoft Excel will benefit those that create Xcelsius dashboards, even though dashboard designers weren’t his intended audience. These are just two of the 39 topics presented. If you’d like to improve your analysis and problem solving skills, this book can be a useful tool.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Author: Dallas Marks

I am a business intelligence architect, author, and trainer. I help organizations harness the power of analytics, primarily with SAP BusinessObjects products. An active blogger, SAP Mentor and co-author of the SAP Press book SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide, I prefer piano keyboards over computer keyboards when not blogging or tweeting about business intelligence.

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