Recently, the SAS Press team moved to a new building on the SAS campus. And when the SAS Press team moves, we bring a lot of books with us! Packing and organizing all of our books gave us a chance to appreciate all of our authors’ hard work during the more than 30 years that SAS Press has existed.
One author has an outsized presence on the SAS Press bookshelves – Ron Cody. He has written over a dozen books that include some of the most popular titles for new SAS users. He taught statistics at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School for many years and is a frequent presenter at SAS conferences.
Few people know more about SAS than Ron, which made him the perfect person to be our first SAS Press Author of the Month. During August, you can get special deals on all of Ron's books at RedShelf. Find out more information on his author page. Ron is also hosting a free webinar on data cleaning tips and tricks on August 11th.
We recently asked Ron to share a little bit about his journey as an author and teacher. As you might imagine, Ron has a lot of SAS knowledge and advice to share.
Q: When did you decide to write your first book?
I decided to write my first SAS book (Applied Statistics and the SAS Programming Language) in 1985. It was published by Elsevier Publishing, which was later bought by Prentice Hall. At the time I was writing the book, there were no other books out there—just SAS manuals. This book is still in print (in a fifth edition).
Q: What made you decide to keep writing more books about SAS?
Once I realized I could write well enough to get published, I got the "writer's bug." Although writing a book is hard work, the reward is substantial. My motivation is more about teaching people about SAS and statistics rather than the monetary reward. My goal in writing any book is to make enough money to take my wife to dinner!
Q: Is one of your books your favorite? Or do you love them all equally?
I do have some favorites. I would put Learning SAS by Example as one. It contains a section for beginners as well as later chapters that are useful to intermediate, or even advanced SAS programmers. I particularly like my latest book, A Gentle Introduction to Statistics Using SAS Studio in the Cloud. I think I made statistical concepts accessible to non-mathematically minded people. There are only a few equations in the entire book.
Q: As a teacher, how did you encourage students who were having a hard time understanding statistics?
I try really hard to convince them that the statistical concepts really make sense, and it is sometimes the terminology that gets in the way.
Q: What do you think students struggle with the most when they are learning SAS?
I believe the overwhelming richness of SAS can intimidate a beginning programmer. That's why I start from simple examples and explain step-by-step how each program works.
Q: What is your best advice for someone who wants to learn SAS?
Buy all of my books, of course! Just kidding. There are many YouTube videos and other online resources that are useful. I think two of the best books would be The Little SAS Book, and either Learning SAS by Example (for the more serious student) or Getting Started with SAS Programming Using SAS Studio in the Cloud. The latter book is more suited to someone using SAS OnDemand for Academics.
Q: You recently published a memoir about your time as an EMT. How did it feel to reflect back on that time of your life? Any more memoirs in your future?
I thoroughly enjoyed writing a book about my years as a volunteer EMT (10-8 Awaiting Crew: Memories of a Volunteer EMT). I was fortunate that I had kept a journal and recorded details of some of the more interesting and exciting calls. As of now, I do not have another memoir in my future, but I am working on a nonfiction novel. I'm not sure how successful it will be, but I'm going to give it a try. I strive to write almost every day. I tell other beginning authors, that if you spend a few hours writing every day, it becomes much easier. I call it "getting in the groove."
Thanks for talking to us, Ron! We hope you will join us in celebrating Ron's accomplishments as our Author of the Month. Check out his author page to see special deals on all of Ron’s books during August and to discover more resources.