The R statistical programming software is used by millions for everything from genetic research to mapping mountain lion populations. The Book of R (No Starch Press, $49.95, 832 pages) is a complete beginner’s guide to this essential tool for data analysis, combining programming techniques and real statistics discussion.

The Book of R ( uses in-depth discussions, real data examples, and exercises covering essential statistics concepts to encourage readers to learn by doing.

“My book isn’t just an instruction manual for using R,” author Tilman Davies says, “but a way for the reader to put these analytical methods and programming skills into practice and to understand what it is they’re actually doing.”

In addition, The Book of R covers visualization skills, including how to fine-tune detailed plots and use the rgl package to produce stunning data visualizations and infographics, like 3D contour maps of earthquake data and interactive, color-coded graphs of air quality. A comprehensive guide to R and statistics, The Book of R is a good resource for students, researchers, and professionals looking to explore the world of data analysis.

Davies is a lecturer at the University of Otago in New Zealand, where he teaches statistics at all university levels. He has been programming in R for 10 years and teaches it in all his courses. His research has been awarded by the New Zealand Statistical Association. Davies says his annual three-day Introduction to R workshop inspired him to write this book as an all-encompassing guide for beginners.