WOOHOO! Summer is here! Are you ready to pick up a good book and lounge on the beach? I know I am! We put together a list of books that are great for people interested in data and tech to keep their minds active and thinking. Did you know you can prove how many people actually read the books they buy? Have you ever considered that a data visualization could tell an entire story? These books are essential reads for anyone interested in data but aren’t sure of the possibilities. Stories of real people, facts backed by data you wouldn’t believe otherwise, and what not to do to be successful in a rapidly changing space.
There are six books on this list for your enjoyment. You can complete this list by the end of the Summer if you goal yourself at two per month – you won’t regret it if you do!
Moneyball proves that money isn’t the key to success in baseball. The story follows one of the most underfunded teams in the MLB, the Oakland Athletics and how their manager, Billy Beane used numbers to build such a successful team. Beane looked at countless points of data to show that traditional measures of success in baseball was flawed. He used data the form a team of players that nobody wanted that resulted in 20 consecutive wins.
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich
The #1 bestseller and the basis for the blockbuster movie, 21, Bringing Down The House follows the tale of four MIT students who took over Vegas with their ability to count cards. Raking in more than three million dollars in two years, these students get their money’s worth gaining the attention of Vegas executive – and not in the good way.
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
The Smartest Guys in the Room recalls the story of how Enron’s stock prices fell from $90.75 per share down to below $1. The staple narrative of how one of the most profitable companies of the 90’s plummeted, resulting in countless job losses and landing some of their executives in jail, is a must read for what not to do in business. It further enforces how data analysis can help us learn from the past.
Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic
Storytelling is a skill that takes time to master. Doing so with a large amount of data is even more challenging. Knaflic seeks to shed light on data visualization so you can tell a story effectively through your data. You’ll learn how to understand the context of your data and how to visualize that correctly for your audience. No more boring graphs for you!
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
Answering the hard but amusing questions with data, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz shows us that we can prove next to anything with data. More than 8 trillion gigabytes of data are created daily, and he explores how deeply the internet knows us based on our actions. How many Americans are actually racist? Do parents treat sons differently from daughters? There are answers to questions you never knew you needed to know in every page.
Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil
According to Cathy O’Neil, what people believe to be high-powered AI algorithms leading to unbiased equality could actually lead to even greater biased decisions. Did you know a student that lives in a poor neighborhood may be denied a loan automatically because an algorithm deems him too risky because of his zip code? Have you ever heard of bots removing your resume based on credentials so they never even reach human eyes? Expanding on the dark side of big data, this book seeks to enlighten the potential flaws in new systems being implemented.
Not in the mood to read? Try this movie!
Eighteen-time world Champion of the Chinese game, Go, Lee Sedol was considered unbeatable. This movie showcases a team attempting to create an algorithm to beat him at the game. Watch how the team develops this machine to play more games of Go than any human could in a lifetime to develop the best strategies to win against the best – and succeed. (Pro-Tip: It’s on Netflix!)
Whether you have been working with data for a while, or are brand new to it, these books will amplify your interest. From quirky facts to scary truths, these books highlight all ends of data. Let us know which ones you read, and your thoughts on them!