57.1 DAX Formulas for PowerPivot

The subtitle is “The Excel Pro’s Guide to Mastering DAX.” The book is by a guy I used to work with, Rob Collie. He had to leave us a while ago but he built his new career on the product that we built: PowerPivot. If you are a PowerPivot user or even just a PowerPivot fan, you probably know about his blog. It’s required reading.

Well he finally got around to authoring a book. And today I finally got around to cracking it open. So, no, this won’t be a full book review. It will actually be part of one, though. My plan is to read a chapter a day (maybe I’ll have to skip some due to other priorities) and write a post for each chapter. Today’s post will be about the first chapter.

When I first got Rob’s book, I was surprised. It actually has a form factor that’s more like some kind of workbook. It’s like the Kindle DX version of a PowerPivot book. It’s also thinner than a lot of other books.

After the front matter, chapter one starts (as I assume all subsequent chapters will) with a story. Which, in this chapter, leads to defining the audience for the book: Excel pros. The defining characteristic is working with PivotTables. He then talks about how Excel is the preeminent tool of financial decision makers. He lists three reasons why Excel pros are poised to have, as he says, “a very good decade.”

The first two items are environmental: the world-wide explosion of data and the economic pressure of a down economy. Both are the raw material that business intelligence can work with to provide insights. The third item is a tool: PowerPivot. Rob argues that it is a force multiplier for Excel pros.

I kind of expect these early chapters to be introductions to aspects of PowerPivot; to set context and get all readers on the same page before we get into the meat of the book. One thing that sticks out for me in the first chapter is Rob’s friendly, likeable writing style.

Tomorrow: Chapter 2.

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