For those of you Stephen Few fans out there, June marks the release of his latest book, Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantative Analysis. Many folks at Tableau have their heads buried in it - it's garnered a lot of praise for easily outlining information on how to build core skills for visual analysis as well as hone skills in regards to diverse types of visual analysis. And we're thrilled that the book is part of his Visual Business Intelligence workshop at this year's Customer Conference, in Seattle July 20-23, 2009. Sign-up and the book is yours free. Better hurry though - we're down to just a handful of spaces.

As many of you know, Stephen has long been a fan of Tableau. In addition to his keynote address at this year's conference, he will also be back for a repeat of last year's most popular session, Extreme Makeover: Viz Edition.

This year's customer conference also brings a variety of visualization industry experts including Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen fame. To learn more about the various sessions and speakers, check out the conference website.

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I got it...and it's quite good!

Stephen's latest book is a brilliant interplay of simple to advanced statistical concepts with powerful visual equivalents and methods. It offers wonderful guidance with great examples around visualizing time series, correlations and multivariate analysis problems. It will have a major impact for many years to come in changing how business analysts work, think and improve their companies!

A friend of mine recently asked "... are statisticians were becoming irrelevant" (hey, that's me!) with the advent of advanced visualization tools like Tableau. I think the answer is yes and no. New tools like Tableau combined with methods expounded by Stephen will allow daily business questions to be answered rapidly. This should allow the statisticians to focus on tackling very high value problems where even a 1% improvement in outcome is a huge win.

I have personally found that combining my work in data mining with beautiful stories about the results (created with Tableau) is truly impressive and informative for guiding decision-makers. Business decision-makers gain the advantages offered by advanced data mining algorithms such as decision trees, logistic regression and neural networks to identify primary predictive patterns and variables. The analyst can then clearly explain the results with compelling visuals to easily convey the findings and recommendations.

I think Stephen's latest book will become the "gold" standard for data exploration books to follow. If you need the next step past "Show Me the Numbers", this is it! BTW- it is even better than "Show Me the Numbers", which is indeed very impressive. I plan to incorporate some of this book into my advanced Tableau course, "Data Exploration and Elegant Dashboards with Tableau".

Stephen McDaniel
Principal, Freakalytics™ LLC
Rapid Analytics to Explore, Understand, Communicate & Act™