The Accidental Analyst

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Do you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of data? Would you like to take control of your data and analysis, so you can quickly answer your business questions and take action? Do you want to confidently present results and provide solutions to your managers, colleagues and clients?

If so, The Accidental Analyst is for you! Although you didn’t plan for a career as a data analyst, you’re now in a position where you have to analyze data to be successful. For people like you, who haven’t had formal training in data analysis, we’ve developed a clear, step-by-step framework—The Seven C’s of Data Analysis—to guide you through the analytic process. This user-friendly framework includes many illustrated examples to demonstrate how to find answers to your real-world business questions.

Read this book for inspiration, ideas and confidence to begin tackling the problems you face at work. Keep it by your desk as a reference for data organization and analysis techniques. Throughout the book, we also explain expert tips, tricks, and shortcuts that collectively took us over fifty years of analyzing data to discover and understand!


Eileen McDaniel, PhD, is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Freakalytics, LLC, specializing in analytical training that empowers people to get the most out of their data and take decisive action to solve problems in their daily work. She is co-author of Rapid Graphs with Tableau Software 6 and the Rapid Dashboards Reference Card, also available as a mobile app, and leads the development of course training materials. As a former scientific researcher, Eileen realized that business analysts lack the formal step-by-step method that scientists use to collect and analyze their data, which inspired the analytic framework used in “The Accidental Analyst”. Stephen McDaniel has more than 20 years of experience as a teacher, a consultant, and an innovator in the fields of visual analytics, business intelligence, data warehousing, and data mining, and is an instructor for the American Marketing Association. He is author of Rapid Graphs with Tableau Software 6 and SAS for Dummies. Eileen and Stephen live in Seattle, Washington. Jonathan Koomey, PhD, is a consulting professor at Stanford University, worked for more than two decades at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and has been a visiting professor at Stanford University (2004-5 and Fall 2008), Yale University (Fall 2009), and UC Berkeley (Fall 2011). He is the author and coauthor of 10 books, including Turning Numbers into Knowledge. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.