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Book Review: DAX FORMULAS for PowerPivot: The Excel Pro’s Guide to Mastering DAX

Posted by denglishbi on November 15, 2012

This week I got the opportunity to read a new book out on the market by Rob Collie (PowerPivotPro) – “DAX FORMULAS for PowerPivot: The Excel Pro’s Guide to Mastering DAX”.  I have to admit that once I received the book I read through it in a couple of days, couldn’t put it down and wanted to finish it.  I really enjoyed the style of the book, just like Rob’s blog posts, and there was just a really good natural transition of the content that it kept me hooked.  While reading the book I really felt that I was in a classroom and Rob was presenting the material, something about the writing style, really enjoyed it (hat tip to Rob).

The book is loaded with great tips and advice from Rob, reference links to his blog posts and other content, and real world examples.  The solutions and examples provided in the book can be used right away if you are already using PowerPivot or Tabular SSAS.  There is material in here not just for the Excel pros, but also for IT/BI pros as well.

The second night I was reading the book my son took a peek at what I was doing on my Kindle Fire HD (great reading experience by the way – color, access to the embedded pictures to enlarge, ability to access the links directly, easily take notes and add bookmarks).  My son is in first grade and really starting to get comfortable reading.  He started to read the page I was on:)  It was really cute.  The book was not only good for me, but helped my son learn new words and work on his reading (not sure if this book can qualify for an AR test though)!

When it comes to the editing of the book I did come across a some minor typos, nothing too major, and one figure was missing (Figure 154).  There are references to the Measure Grid (actually Calculation Area in PowerPivot, Measure Grid in Tabular SSAS – this is one thing that I wish Microsoft kept the same or consistent for referencing).  I got a laugh when Rob states that implicit measures are ‘dead to me’ and that he never, ever, EVER creates implicit measures.

The book is really invaluable and the price is a steal (particularly if you buy it on Mr. Excel’s store here)  The length was exactly what I like, short and to the point, I don’t want to read a 800 page door stopper, anything in the 300 or less page range is perfect (that is why I liked the Rational Guide books by Rational Press) and supplemented with links for additional references and more content if desired.  The material and insights that Rob covers is fantastic.  The disconnected table concepts as well as performance tips are PRICELESS.  I would highly recommend this book and without a doubt give it a five star rating.

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