Rudy asks, “I would like to buy a bible in Google Analytics, which hard copy book do you recommend?”
There isn’t one. The thing about Google Analytics - and any SaaS-based software - is that they are very fast-moving targets. Google Analytics in particular makes substantial changes on a regular, frequent basis; in the summer of 2018, they COMPLETELY changed how your analytics tracking code works. As a result, books about Google Analytics don’t age well at all. If you want to read a book for book’s sake, there are better choices for learning how to think analytically:
- Edward Tufte’s Visualization of Quantitative Information: https://amzn.to/2FHF9yR
- Levitt and Dubner’s Think Like a Freak: https://amzn.to/2RJYDJB
- Darwin Ortiz’s Strong Magic: https://amzn.to/2WfgkiD
- Bryan Peterson’s Design Basics for Creative Results: https://amzn.to/2Czt1M8
- Freeman’s The Photographer’s Eye: https://amzn.to/2Wa9OK1
FTC Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links for which my company, Trust Insights, receives financial benefit.
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today's episode, Rudy asks, I would like to buy a Bible on Google Analytics. Which hard copy book do you recommend
for Google Analytics? There isn't one. And I
don't mean to say that in a disparaging way, towards the many people who have written books, even people who worked at Google credible people like Avinash Kaushik, Justin Cutrone
and Daniel Weisberg and all those folks
The reason I say that there isn't a good Bible for Google Analytics the software is that
it and any saw SAS based software is a very fast moving target Google Analytics in the last year
know in the last six months has made substantial changes to its software in in so many ways that
any book any book published on it is now working wrong.
For example, they changed how the tagging itself works right? be switched from analytics, Dutch St. G, tag that JS in the summer of 2018. totally new way of doing tagging. Now, using Google Tag Manager, not an issue. But if you're using the older analytics tags, guess what, any book that's telling you go in and get your analytics that JS script wrong, a flat out wrong. And something as basic as tagging has changed. There are all these new features all the time. And so books on Google Analytics do not age well. It's
the same as like books on Facebook, I was listening to the the family I podcasts yesterday
and listen to an interview one of Facebook's data chief AI folks, I just go Yeah, we're using AI. And he went to all these technical details, we change our source code about once an hour, once an hour.
So a book on Facebook marketing is literally the moment it hits shelves, it's got it's wrong in some way from a code perspective in about an hour. So think about that. Now, if you want to read books to become better at analytics,
there are some really good books to read. The first one I recommend and I think is sort of the gold standard for visualization of data is the visualization of quantitative information by Edward today I'm going to put links to all this in the blog post on Christopher S Pen calm that go. So you can just go right to the the the mega bookstore online and get your books there. But visualization of quantitative information by advertise. It is a fantastic book, the gold standard for learning how to
make visualizations of data that communicate data in an intelligent way. It's a really, really good book. And I recommend it. I also recommend particularly for folks who are doing visualizations I would have my copy some design,
the design basics for creative results is an excellent book that will teach you as how design basics work with tools like Google Data Studio,
Google Data Studio and Google Analytics have a lot of built in charts and the ability to put together dashboards and stuff, which is fantastic, except
they were made by engineers and engineers are not necessarily creative graphical designers. And so there are a lot of things you can do not as optimally with things like dashboards, especially if you yourself don't have a design background. So that's an excellent book. Another one I recommend is Michael Freeman's, the photographers I now this is a sensibly a book about digital photography. But there are whole chapters on how the eye sees and on how colors impact us on on our neurology and things like that. And it's really useful for understanding when we're trying to communicate information to people. Those are some timeless principles. Likewise, I recommend Darwin Ortiz's strong magic which is a book again, ostensibly, is about the performance of magic tricks.
all that a storytelling all that is is an entire book and how do you focus someone's attention. So when you are creating a dashboard or an analytics report or you are trying to direct somebody's attention towards important things
in magic your misdirecting saying, Look over here, why are you doing something over here,
but in obviously, in business, I look over here, because this is actually the important thing, it's a really good book for understanding them. And the last one, I would suggest, and I think is a really an excellent book about analytics, even though it's not totally written that way, is think like a freak by Stephen lemon, and Stephen Dubner. These are two economists. They wrote Freakonomics, a bunch of other books. But this is a book that teaches them how to think differently about data about data about information about stuff
that you being presented from a piece of
software from other co workers from society at large. And how do you get at the roots of questions? And how do you learn to train your mind to think one step beyond what any piece of software is giving you this set of books, this combination of books, I think, is a great way to to learn analytics from a macro perspective,
how do I think about data?
How do I present that data? How do I visualize that data? How do I communicate to the people who I need to communicate with this is what actually matters, this is what you should be paying attention to. And this is what you should be doing. So that's if you got to pick up a a physical paper book, those are the ones I think you should just start with. And in order, I would actually do think like a freak first. So you learn the analytical skills and then do strong magic and then do
today's book photographers, a high end design basics, you'll know that three of the five books are about visualization and presentation because that's what
that's what's probably most
difficult for people is not necessarily analysis itself, it's communicating that data is telling people, hey, this is this is what's going on.
check out those books
in that order. And that is a better way to teach yourself analytics. teach yourself how to think like an analyst. And then the software will more or less handle the the heavy lifting of the getting the data pieces for you.
So good question.
It's a common question. And
I wish I had a better answer for you on Google Analytics. But honestly, if you want to learn Google Analytics itself, I recommend taking Google's official courses from the analytics Academy. They are free of financial cost, you just have to invest in time they're open to everybody. And they are the they are actually the sort of the prerequisites to getting your formal Google Analytics certification if that's something that would be of interest obvious a good certification path, so check that out. And please subscribe to the YouTube channel.
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