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7 Books to Gift Data Geeks

By Maribel Ayala | November 5, 2021

With Christmas just around the corner, the holidays bring some welcome time off that gives us a chance to focus on hobbies, relaxation, and reading. If you’re a data geek, will you have any NLG or analytics books on your Christmas list? What is a good read if you are interested in learning more about analytics and NLG? From academic texts to lighter, interesting reads, we’ve compiled a list of recommendations. Happy reading!

Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

Storytelling with Data teaches you the basics of data visualization and how to communicate effectively with data. You will discover the power of storytelling and the way to make data a key point in your story. If you have created a chart to explain something but are not sure if people will understand what you’re trying to tell them, this book is for you. If you work with Excel, Power BI, or any other tool to visualize data, this book is highly recommended. Overall, a concise and informative summary of what you need to do to present data in an engaging manner.

Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die by Eric Siegel

This book has been called ‘The Freakonomics of Analytics.’ It is indeed a fascinating—and surprisingly accessible—introduction to the field of Predictive Analytics. A leading expert in the field, Eric Siegel explains how predictive analytics works and how it affects everyone every day. A very well-written text that simplifies a complex discipline.

Data Science for Business: What You Need to Know about Data Mining and Data-Analytic Thinking by Foster Provost and Tom Fawcett

An excellent book if you want to understand how data science fits into the big picture of the rapidly changing business landscape. If you are looking for a simple (but not simplistic) introduction to nearly all the underlying data science fundamentals, then look no further. This is the book for you.

Based on an MBA course Provost has taught at NY University over the past 10 years, Data Science for Business gives examples of real-world business problems to illustrate these principles. You’ll learn how to improve communication between business stakeholders and data scientists.

Natural Language Understanding by James Allen

When we recently interviewed Alasdair Logan, Lead Software Engineering at Arria NLG, he told us about a book he was given the loan of at the beginning of his career. He told us, “Natural Language Understanding by James Allen gave me a lot of the basics of grammar syntax, and I would recommend it to newcomers to NLG.” The text is intended both as a textbook and as a general reference book for researchers in artificial intelligence and other areas related to language. As a text, it is suitable for an advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate-level course in computer science.

Building Natural Language Generation Systems (Studies in Natural Language Processing) by Ehud Reiter and Robert Dale

If you are serious about learning about NLG, you should read Professor Ehud Reiter’s and Robert Dale’s book Building Natural Language Generation Systems (Studies in Natural Language Processing). The book explains how to build Natural Language Generation (NLG) systems – computer software systems that use techniques from artificial intelligence and computational linguistics to automatically generate understandable texts in English or other languages. We are perhaps biased as Ehud is one of our Chief Scientists at Arria NLG, but despite being one of the older texts on our list, this is still an important and popular book in the field of NLG.

Speech and Language Processing (3rd Edition Draft) by Dan Jurafsky and James H. Martin

This recommendation comes from Arria’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Yaji Sripada, and is so new that the authors are still putting the finishing touches on it! If you want to get a preview of the text, you can download a PDF. Dr.Yaji Sripada is a Senior Lecturer in Computing Science at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. His research is at the intersection of data science, machine learning, and natural language generation (NLG). He is one of the founders of Arria and an inventor on several US patents related to NLG technology. He is currently supervising Ph.D. students on neural NLG, XAI (eXplainable AI), and question-driven NLG.

Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing by Chris Manning and Hinrich Schutze

This foundational text is the first comprehensive introduction to statistical natural language processing (NLP) to appear. The book contains all the theories and algorithms needed for building NLP tools. It is another recommendation from Dr. Yaji Sripada, who is not only a member of the Arria NLG team but also Head of the Computer Science department at Aberdeen University.


If you’re a data geek and have ideas for books we’ve missed, we’d love to hear from you. To keep up with AI and NLG’s use of data, please subscribe to our blog in the right-hand column on this page.


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Maribel Ayala is a CIM qualified Marketing and Product Professional with 20 years of experience in Financial Services and the Tech industry. She works at Arria NLG, an AI intelligence company, and acts as a mentor for postgraduate students at the University of Aberdeen.