Best Books to Learn R Programming

Books. Books. Books.

There are many books to help you learn R programming. But how do you know which book to choose to invest your time? 

Don't worry. This short list of only the best R books to help you learn R programming. Here we go:

R for Data Science

Learn from the master! Learn from the guy who revolutionized how we programmed in R. From highly customized data visualizations to highly efficient data manipulation, Hadley Wickham has played a role in helping us out. In R for Data Science, you will learn about a new way of programming i.e. the tidyverse way. 

The first book I read on R. It's easy to follow, step-by-step recipes, made the difficult task of getting over all the R annoyances easy. Although it is a few years old now -- which in the always evolving R ecosystem means decades, R Cookbook still is a great book, especially if you're just getting start. 

What's a vectorized way of doing things? That's a R specialty (ugh)! The Art of R Programming will show you how to write good scripts, the R way. 

Bias alert: I was extremely luck to have recruited Brett at the University of Michigan, and therefore, I'm biased to every awesome thing Brett does. But, don't just believe me: read all the glowing Amazon reviews. Brett is a teacher at his heart and the careful and simple explanation of every script and algorithm makes Machine Learning with R a masterpiece. (And this, as he says in the acknowledgment, while expecting a child during both the editions!!)

This is a great starter book for anyone wanting to learn R, but is afraid to do so. R for Excel Users introduces R concepts by using Excel's terminology i.e. cells, ranges, and formulas. The book starts from the basics and doesn't get very advanced to scare one away. Check it out if you're just getting started.

These books will give you the jumpstart and later confidence as you build your skills to attain mastery. All the best.

Did I miss any other book that belongs to this list?

About the Author

A co-author of Data Science for Fundraising, an award winning keynote speaker, Ashutosh R. Nandeshwar is one of the few analytics professionals in the higher education industry who has developed analytical solutions for all stages of the student life cycle (from recruitment to giving). He enjoys speaking about the power of data, as well as ranting about data professionals who chase after “interesting” things. He earned his PhD/MS from West Virginia University and his BEng from Nagpur University, all in industrial engineering. Currently, he is leading the data science, reporting, and prospect development efforts at the University of Southern California.

  • Joris Meys says:

    I am a bit sad that R for Dummies isn’t included. Maybe we can convince you with the next edition. That one will be a thorough rewrite to include the latest developments in the R world.


  • n.ashutosh says:

    If you can send a review copy, I will write up a review.

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