Author: Paul Teetor
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2011
Aimed at: Programmers and statisticians
Pros: Good introduction for beginners
Cons: Not good value for money
Reviewed by: Mike James
This is a collection of 25 recipes from the R Cookbook which we recently reviewed and rated as a five.
So this much be good then?
The only question is why would you buy a very slim book which only contains 25 recipes? It is a very good question but it seems that O'Reilly thinks that extracts from bigger books are a good idea in general. In most cases I'd have to disagree but there might be a good reason for doing it in this case.
The recipes start out with downloading and installing R. Then they move on to the basics of using R - reading in data, creating a vector and so on. Then we have a set of recipes that show you how to derive basic statistics from the data and the most simple statistical tests - mean, confidence interval, t test, correlation ans so on. Then we have a section on graphics - scatter, bar, histogram and box plot. Finally we have some more advanced procedures in the form of regression.
So what you have is a complete introduction to R following the sort of path most beginners would take in just 25 Recipes selected from the larger book. It has to be admitted that while the full cookbook is a good book it doesn't provide an easy route for the beginner. However, this could be solved simply by providing a list of recipes to read for an introductory course, so perhaps the production of an extra book based on the same material is unnecessary.
Overall this is a very reasonable, if slight, introduction to R an if you want something you can carry around or want something to base a course on it might just be what you are looking for. Personally I think the full book is better value and its usefulness will last a lot longer.