Book Review: Extending Power BI with Python and R

Extending Power BI with Python and R Second Edition book cover

I've seen a few books lately from the PackT people. The latest was the second edition of Extending Power BI with Python and R by Luca Zavarella: Perform advanced analysis using the power of analytical languages.

Author

Luca Zavarella

The author is Luca Zavarella. I've been working with Power BI since before it was released, and ever since I've seen discussions around using R (initially) and Python (later), Luca has been one of those people that everyone listens to.

Luca is a fellow Microsoft MVP and has a great background in data science. In recent times, he seems to have been focussing on advanced analytics, data science, and AI. He's been prolific in these areas.

The Book

This is another very comprehensive book and took quite a while to read. It will be a vital reference for anyone trying to apply Python and/or R in Power BI. I've heard many argue that this is a pretty niche topic but I can't say I agree. I deal with a real mixture of clients and while not everyone does this, quite a few do. That of course particularly applies to anyone from a data science background.

In the book, Luca's experience shines through.

The real power of the book is the way that Luca shows you how to do things with Python and/or R that most people working in Power BI without them, would think were impossible.

In the DBA world, people often talk about the "accidental DBA" i.e., that's someone who wasn't planning to be a DBA but ended up being the one doing the tasks. I can well imagine that if you are the "accidental data scientist" working with analytics, there's a great amount to learn from this book.

I could also imagine this book being useful to people who use other analytic products, not just Power BI. because Luca explains the theory, not just the practical application.

And even though I've worked with Power BI from the start, I found a few interesting things in the book about Power BI, not just about using Python and R with it. It's important to always just keep learning, and every time I read something about a product that I think I already know well, I invariably learn something anyway. That's often because everyone uses the products differently, or applies them to problems that you hadn't considered.

Summary

Another great book. And another one where I can't imagine how long it must have taken to write. And the second edition adds great value.

It's not one for all my usual data audience, but anyone with an interest in applying advanced analytics in Power BI should check it out. You will learn a lot.

9 out of 10

 

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