The best books for data science and analytics leaders

Who am I?

I am a leader in analytics and AI strategy, and have a broad range of experience in aviation, energy, financial services, and the public sector.  I have worked with several major organizations to help them establish a leadership position in data science and to unlock real business value using advanced analytics. 


I wrote...

Minding the Machines: Building and Leading Data Science and Analytics Teams

By Jeremy Adamson,

Book cover of Minding the Machines: Building and Leading Data Science and Analytics Teams

What is my book about?

In Minding the Machines: Building and Leading Data Science and Analytics Teams, AI and analytics strategy expert Jeremy Adamson delivers an accessible and insightful roadmap to structuring and leading a successful analytics team. The book explores the tasks, strategies, methods, and frameworks necessary for an organization beginning their first foray into the analytics space or one that is rebooting its team for the umpteenth time in search of success.

Perfect for executives, managers, team leads, and other business leaders tasked with structuring and leading a successful analytics team, Minding the Machines is also an indispensable resource for data scientists and analysts who seek to better understand how their individual efforts fit into their team’s overall results.

The books I picked & why

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Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning

By Thomas H. Davenport, Jeanne G. Harris,

Book cover of Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning

Why this book?

This is a foundational book on analytics and data science as a business function and helped to shape the development of the practice. It provides a view of the discipline through a business lens and avoids deep technical examinations. Though much has changed in the 15 years since it was originally published, it is still essential reading for a leader in the field. No book since has captured as well the competitive differentiation that analytics provides.


Be Data Literate: The Data Literacy Skills Everyone Needs to Succeed

By Jordan Morrow,

Book cover of Be Data Literate: The Data Literacy Skills Everyone Needs to Succeed

Why this book?

Not everybody needs to be a data scientist, but everybody does need to be data literate. Without an intentional focus on evangelism and building a strong data culture in your organization it will be an uphill battle to make meaningful change. This book helps individuals and leaders to understand what data literacy is, and how we can build it like any other skill.


Effective Data Storytelling: How to Drive Change with Data, Narrative and Visuals

By Brent Dykes,

Book cover of Effective Data Storytelling: How to Drive Change with Data, Narrative and Visuals

Why this book?

Data scientists and analytics specialists are great at building models and algorithms, but often wrap them in a presentation or dashboard that diminishes their value and reduces the likelihood of their work being adopted. This book encourages practitioners to always consider the last mile and to pay as much attention to presentation and aesthetics as we do to the model itself. 


People Skills for Analytical Thinkers

By Gilbert Eijkelenboom,

Book cover of People Skills for Analytical Thinkers

Why this book?

Since data science is, at its core, people helping people make decisions, it is essential that we can establish productive relationships with our stakeholders. This is a skill that needs to be given the same level of effort as we give to coding or statistics. Gilbert’s book is a great resource to help technically oriented people to advance their people skills.


The Practice of Management

By Peter F. Drucker,

Book cover of The Practice of Management

Why this book?

Management as a skill is typically established and honed by osmosis, mimicry, and corporate crash courses. Data scientists pursuing management roles need to understand management from base principles to create meaningful change and establish productive team conventions. After almost 70 years, Drucker’s book still stands up as a foundational piece of reading.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in data science, data mining, and big data?

5,716 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about data science, data mining, and big data.

Data Science Explore 21 books about data science
Data Mining Explore 11 books about data mining
Big Data Explore 16 books about big data

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Fundamentals of Data Visualization, Effective Pandas, and The Golem if you like this list.