Book: Learn R …as you learnt your mother tongue

Book cover

Book cover

Draft 003

I have pre-published my notes on R as a future book at Leanpub titled Learn R …as you learnt your mother tongue.

In the third draft version, published through Leanpub, approximately 85% of the book contents are included.

The PDF of this updated draft of the book is available since this morning at for whatever price you would like to pay for it (including for free).

Status as of 2017-01-17: Added “playground” exercises to the chapter describing ‘ggplot2’, and converted some of the examples earlier part of the main text into these playground items. Added icons to help readers quickly distinguish playground sections, information sections, warnings about things one needs to be specially aware of and boxes with more advanced content. Added to the sections scales and examples in the ‘ggplot2’ chapter details about the use of colors in R and ‘ggplot2’ 2. Removed some redundant examples, and updated the section on plotmath . Added terms to the alphabetical index. Increased line-spacing to avoid uneven spacing with inline code bits.

How to be a modern scientist by Jeffrey Leek [Leanpub]

A book on how to be a scientist the modern way.

Source: How to be a modern… by Jeffrey Leek [Leanpub PDF/iPad/Kindle]

Book cover image

This book looks very useful for PhD students and also to some extent for more experienced researchers willing to get up-to-speed with the use of modern communication tools and on-line media and forums.

It covers a lot of subjects concisely and is very up-to-date. It is an easy read but full of useful information and ideas.

The e-book has a suggested price, but you can chose to get it for free or pay less if you are on a tight budget. Payment is fully voluntary, so you can also pay more than the suggested price if you want to support the author.


Outliers (successful people)

I was visiting Buenos Aires for a few weeks. I had two flights lasting more 12 h and took advantage of the time to read a very interesting book. I am no expert on the subject, and the book is written for general public by a reporter. Following what, I think, is a common approach in humanities, the text is structured around case studies of the careers of well-known successful people like Bill Gates and obscure unsuccessful people who had all the features that are usually assumed to lead to success in business, science or arts. The book is very well written and engaging, but in a way that encourages the reader to think and reach his/her own conclusions before the author reveals his own ideas.

The overall message is that the circumstances allow the outliers to achieve success. That because of the way teaching, sports, and other activities are scheduled and  organized things as simple as the birth date can constrain in what activities we can be successful in.

The interesting message is that in many cases simple changes to how we select students, teach, etc. could improve the chances for more people to succeed in life. This made me ponder about my own career path and reinforced my view that I am where I am because of taking advantage of the opportunities that came along the way rather than by having had a well defined career plan from the very beginning.

To some extent this book links to the my earlier post on career paths and specialists vs. generalists.

The full reference to “Outliers” is:

Gladwell, Malcolm (2009) Outliers: the story of success. London New York: Penguin Books, 320 pp, ISBN 9780141036250.