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Learn R : 12 Books and Online Resources

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R, an open-source statistical and data mining programming language, is slowly but surely catching up in its race with commercial software like SAS & SPSS. I believe R will eventually replace SAS as the language of choice for modeling and analysis for most organizations. The primary reason for this is plainly commercial. Most organizations are questioning the heavy annual cost of SAS on their P&L statement. This is escalated with the presence of R as a free and viable replacement. R is highly advanced language with over 5000 add-on packages to assist in data management and analysis. Most senior analysts and analytics leaders have already started polishing their skills on R. In this article, I will introduce the books and online resource that will help you in self-learning R and its applications. Before introducing these resources, let me elucidate why you need many resources for self-learning.

Humans are obsessed with linearity. Look at our houses, furniture, televisions, photo-frames or cabinets, they all follow linear designs. The reason is  linearity is simple, however it is certainly not natural. Outside our houses nature is flourishing with non-linearity – trees, mountains, rivers and the human body all follow non-linear patterns and dynamics (to explore more read about fractal geometry and chaos theory, or we will discuss it in some later articles on YOU CANalytics). Learning / teaching in schools and universities usually take the linear path, however self-learning in my opinion is highly non-linear. Unlike school-learning, self-learning is driven by purpose and need, hence one tends to hop between books, chapters, and the internet – I say this from experience. Let me present the resources that have helped me the most while learning R. I have divided these resources in the following 5 categories

Non-Linear Self-Learning

R for Reference : these books cover most essential aspects about R and also serve well as reference books

R with Theory : these books are great if you want to understand fundamentals of statistics and machine learning while using R as the tool

R with Applications : these books use case studies or applications based learning

R Graphic and Programming : focus of these books is on R Graphics or programming

Online Resource : short online courses and computer based learning tools (I have also included the most important online data repository over here)

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