M is for Data Monkey Book Review

M is for Data MonkeyThe long awaited book from Ken Puls and Miguel Escobar has just been released in digital edition.  I read this book over the weekend and wanted to share my experience with anyone considering buying this book or wanting to learn more about Power Query.

This book is 220+ pages of Power Query information that covers the length and breadth of what you need to know to use this great Excel tool from Microsoft. Ken and Miguel have structured the chapters in a way that builds from the simple introductory topics up to some of the more advanced (but still easily learnable) techniques that can only be accessed when you get into the M programming language (also called the Power Query Formula Language).

Here are a few of the highlights for me from the book.

  • Easy to read and has a well structured chapter layout building from the basics to the advanced.
  • Broad coverage of some of the less obvious features (such as default settings) that can improve the user’s experience in using Power Query.
  • Lots of tips and techniques that will help you become a super user; like pointer queries, import from named range, dynamic headers to name a few.
  • And still more tips and information about “gotchas” like accidentally corrupting the data model or the dangers of the “any” data type. It explains the potential problems and how to avoid them.
  • A great section on how to go about un-pivoting complex nested tables, and another on how to get data from a web page when the data itself is not in a table format.
  • The book explains the differences in the UI across Excel 2010, Excel 2013 and Excel 2016.
  • There are lots of comparisons between Excel functions and the equivalent Power Query functions.  Given most of us already know the Excel functions, this makes it really easy to understand the new Power Query syntax.
  • And finally, the book is well indexed in the table of contents and also in the Index at the back of the book. This makes the book ideal to keep as a reference guide for when you need a refresher later.

M is for Data Monkey is available for purchase and immediate download from my Online Store here.

If you want more information about Power Query, you can also read my book review of Chris Webb’s book that I wrote in July 2015, or you can also take a look at Ken and Miguel’s excellent online Power Query training course.

Power Query Training

October 11, 2015 11:57 am

2 Comments

  • Dear Matt,

    is it worth reading this book in case I have already read the book by Chris Webb?

    Thanks,

    Lada

    1. That’s a hard question and is really about personal preference and learning style. If you have read Chris’ book and are competent in all of the concepts then you will only get incremental knowledge from this book from Ken and Miguel. I have read them both and got something from both. I got the most from Chris’ book but only because I read that first.

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