Missy Hannah

4月 072020

As many of us are learning to navigate the changing world we are living in amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and as we care for our loved ones, friends, and our community, many of us now find ourselves working and studying from home much more than we did before. As an employee at SAS and an instructor at NC State University, I have found myself splitting my time between setting up my temporary home office and an at-home routine while also trying to help my students feel safe and comfortable as we move to a virtual classroom. But, as my commute and previous social time becomes Facetime calls and text messages, I’ve found myself with more downtime then I previously had, the time I want to dedicate to the training I’ve been wanting to do for the past year.

At SAS, we are striving to care for our users during this time—in that spirit, I wanted to share with you some free SAS offerings, as well as coping techniques I am doing from home.

Take care of yourself and your family

First and foremost, make sure you and your family are taking time for self-care. Whether it be meditation, using a mobile app or YouTube video, or getting some exercise together. I am finding my daily walk something I need to help relax my mind and get myself back to focus on my tasks.

Retrain on skills you haven’t touched in awhile

Sometimes we all need that reboot on tools or methods we use every day. I love SAS’ Statistics 1 course and SAS Programming 1, both of which are free. It’s a great refresher to those who haven’t taken a math course in a few years, or for those just wanting to start out with data science using SAS. Understanding the fundamentals and getting some refreshers on SAS language tricks is something I try to push through with my work constantly. I am also preparing to take the SAS Certification Exam at the end of the year, so the practice exam is something I also plan to use often during my study sessions.

Learn a new skill

It is also a great time to learn something you have always wanted to do. I started by taking some free online photography classes. I also have on my list enrolling in the SAS Academy for Data Science, which is free until the end of May 2020. The advanced analytics professional courses are something I have wanted to complete for a long time, so I am excited to get started on learning more about data modeling. The SAS e-books collection is now also free until April 30, 2020, so I’ve downloaded some great additional materials using code FREEBOOKS at checkout. 

Be kind to others

Being stuck inside can sometimes make you feel like you are spending more time with family than you are used to, or maybe you are spending more time alone. Using this time to connect with those I haven’t made time to talk to has been something I am really thankful for. I call my sister who is a nurse in Florida and check on her. As this outbreak affects us all differently, this is a great time to come together to connect. It is also a great time to think of others affected by the outbreak and who don’t have the ability to continue working. There are some great ways you can help others by getting involved in volunteer work or donating to a helpful cause.

Do fun activities

Though we are stuck at home, this time has been great for enjoying things I often don’t get to during my normal busy schedule. Besides taking free training, I’ve been playing some new video games (#ACNH) and some games I’ve neglected for far too long. I’ve also used this time to find what brings me joy from my home. Making time for reading is bringing great joy to my life right now.

As we all move through this turbulent time, make sure to take care of yourself and others. I hope some of these free tools and training will come in handy as you work towards your personal goals while remaining safe and healthy.

Working remotely? A list of 5 ways to spend your down time was published on SAS Users.

10月 292019

Thank you to Lora Delwiche and Susan Slaughter for providing the following information:

Six editions is a lot! If you had told us back when we wrote the first edition of The Little SAS Book that someday we would write a sixth, we would have wondered how we could possibly find that much to say. After all, it is supposed to be The Little SAS Book, isn’t it? But the developers at SAS are constantly hard at work inventing new and better ways of analyzing and visualizing data. And some of those ways turn out to be so fundamental that they belong even in a little book about SAS.

Interface independence

One of the biggest changes to SAS software in recent years is the proliferation of interfaces. SAS programmers have more choices than ever before. Previous editions contained some sections specific to the SAS windowing environment (also called Display Manager). We wrote this edition for all SAS programmers whether you use SAS Studio, SAS Enterprise Guide, the SAS windowing environment, or run in batch. That sounds easy, but it wasn’t. There are differences in how SAS behaves with different interfaces, and these differences can be very fundamental. In particular, the system option that sets the rules for names of variables varies depending on how you run SAS. So old sections had to be rewritten, and we added a whole new section showing how to use variable names containing blanks and special characters.

New ways to read and write Microsoft Excel files

Previous editions already covered how to read and write Microsoft Excel files, but SAS developers have created new ways that are even better. This edition contains new sections about the XLSX LIBNAME engine and the ODS EXCEL destination.


From the very first edition, The Little SAS Book always covered PROC SQL. But it was in an appendix, and over time we noticed that most people ignore appendices. So for this edition, we removed the appendix and added new sections on using PROC SQL to:

• Subset your data
• Join data sets
• Add summary statistics to a data set
• Create macro variables with the INTO clause

For people who are new to SQL, these sections provide a good introduction; for people who already know SQL, they provide a model of how to leverage SQL in your SAS programs.

Updates and additions throughout the book

Almost every section in this edition has been changed in some way. We added new options, made sure everything is up-to-date, and ran every example in every SAS interface noting any differences. For example, PROC SGPLOT has some new options, the default ODS style for PDF has changed, and the LISTING destination behaves differently in different interfaces. Here’s a short list, in no particular order, of new or expanded topics in the sixth edition:

• More examples with permanent SAS data sets, CSV files, or tab-delimited files
• More log notes throughout the book showing what to look for
• LIKE or sounds-like (=*) operators in WHERE statements
• Grouping data with a user-defined format and the PUT function
• Iterative DO groups
• DO WHILE and DO UNTIL statements
• %DO statements

Even though we have added a lot to this edition, it is still a little book. In fact, this edition is shorter than the last—by 12 pages! We think this is the best edition yet. For a sneak preview check out the free book excerpt. You can also learn more about SAS Press, check out the up-and-coming titles, and to exclusive discounts -- make sure to subscribe to the newsletter.

The Little SAS Book 6.0: The best-selling SAS book gets even better was published on SAS Users.

10月 092019

As a fellow student, I know that making sure you get the right books for learning a new skill can be tough. To get you started off right, I would like to share the top SAS books that professors are requesting for students learning SAS. With this inside sneak-peak, you can see what books instructors and professors are using to give new SAS users a jump-start with their SAS programming skills.

1. Learning SAS by Example: A Programmer's Guide, Second Edition

At the top of the list is Ron Cody’s Learning SAS by Example: A Programmer’s Guide, Second Edition. This book teaches SAS programming to new SAS users by building from very basic concepts to more advanced topics. Many programmers prefer examples rather than reference-type syntax, and so this book uses short examples to explain each topic. The new edition of this classic has been updated to SAS 9.4 and includes new chapters on PROC SGPLOT and Perl regular expressions. Check out this free excerpt for a glimpse into the way the book can help you summarize your data.

2. An Introduction to SAS University Edition

I cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone starting out in data analysis. This book earns a place on my desk, within easy reach. - Christopher Battiston, Wait Times Coordinator, Women's College Hospital

The second most requested book will help you get up-and-running with the free SAS University Edition using Ron Cody’s easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide. This book is aimed at beginners who want to either use the point-and-click interactive environment of SAS Studio, or who want to write their own SAS programs, or both.

The first part of the book shows you how to perform basic tasks, such as producing a report, summarizing data, producing charts and graphs, and using the SAS Studio built-in tasks. The second part of the book shows you how to write your own SAS programs, and how to use SAS procedures to perform a variety of tasks. In order to get familiar with the SAS Studio environment, this book also shows you how to access dozens of interesting data sets that are included with the product.

For more insights into this great book, check out Ron Cody’s useful tips for SAS University Edition in this recent SAS blog.

3. The Little SAS Book: A Primer, Fifth Edition

Our third book is a classic that just keeps getting better. The Little SAS Book is essential for anyone learning SAS programming. Lora Delwiche and Susan Slaughter offer a user-friendly approach so readers can quickly and easily learn the most commonly used features of the SAS language. Each topic is presented in a self-contained two-page layout complete with examples and graphics. Also, make sure to check out some more tips on learning SAS from the authors in their blog post.

We are also excited to announce that the newest edition of The Little SAS Book is coming out this Fall! The sixth edition will be interface independent, so it won’t matter if you are using SAS Studio, SAS Enterprise Guide, or the SAS windowing environment as your programming interface. In this new edition, the authors have included more examples of creating and using permanent SAS data sets, as well as using PROC IMPORT to read data. The new edition also deemphasizes reading raw data files using the INPUT statement—a topic that is no longer covered in the new base SAS programmer certification exam. Check out the upcoming titles page for more information!

4. SAS Certification Prep Guide: Statistical Business Analysis Using SAS 9

Number four is a must-have study guide for the SAS Certified Statistical Business Analyst Using SAS 9 exam. Written for both new and experienced SAS programmers, the SAS Certification Prep Guide: Statistical Business Analysis Using SAS 9 is an in-depth prep guide for the SAS Certified Statistical Business Analyst Using SAS 9: Regression and Modeling exam. The authors step through identifying the business question, generating results with SAS, and interpreting the output in a business context. The case study approach uses both real and simulated data to master the content of the certification exam. Each chapter also includes a quiz aimed at testing the reader’s comprehension of the material presented. To learn more about this great guide, watch an interview with co-author Joni Shreve.

5. SAS for Mixed Models: Introduction and Basic Applications

Models are a vital part of analyzing research data. It seems only fitting, then, that this popular SAS title would be our fifth most popular book requested by SAS instructors. Mixed models are now becoming a core part of undergraduate and graduate programs in statistics and data science. This book is great for those with intermediate-level knowledge of SAS and covers the latest capabilities for a variety of SAS applications. Be sure to read the review of this book by Austin Lincoln, a technical writer at SAS, for great insights into a book he calls a “survival guide” for creating mixed models.

Want more?

I hope this list will help in your search for a SAS book that will get you to the next step in your SAS education goals. To learn more about SAS Press, check out our up-and-coming titles, and to receive exclusive discounts make sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

Top 5 SAS Books for Students was published on SAS Users.

9月 082019

Today, September 8th, is International Literacy Day! A day celebrated by UNESCO since 1967 to emphasize the importance of literacy around the world. Here at SAS, we have decided to highlight data literacy, a critical part of our evolving knowledge as data and analytics continue to dominate the way we do business.

SAS Press author Susan Slaughter defines data literacy as, “understanding that data are not dry, dusty, abstract squiggles on a computer screen, but represent living things: people, plants, animals. You know you are fluent in a foreign language when you are comfortable speaking it and can communicate what you want to say. The same is true for data literacy; it is about reaching a level of comfort, about being able to communicate what is important to you, and about seeing the meaning behind the data.

Everyone knows that technology is becoming more and more a part of everyday life. Without data literacy, people become passive recipients; with data literacy, you can actively engage with technology. SAS calls it ‘the power to know’ and that's an accurate description.”

SAS Press has been helping users be more fluent in data literacy for almost 30 years! The Little SAS Book is about to publish its sixth edition and has been helping programmers learn SAS and analyze their data since 1995.

Free SAS Press e-books

To celebrate national literacy day and do our part in sharing about data literacy, SAS Press would like to share with you our free e-books on a range of topics related to data analytics. These books focus on topics such as text analytics, data management, AI, and Machine Learning.

Moving to the cloud?

Looking for information on SAS Viya? Download our two new free e-books on Exploring SAS Viya. Both books cover the features and capabilities of SAS Viya. SAS Viya extends the SAS platform to enable everyone – data scientists, business analysts, developers, and executives alike – to collaborate and realize innovative results faster.

Here is a list of our free e-books on SAS Viya:

Exploring SAS ®Viya®: Programming and Data Management
This first book in the series covers how to access data files, libraries, and existing code in SAS® Studio. You also will learn about new procedures in SAS Viya, how to write new code, and how to use some of the pre-installed tasks that come with SAS® Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning.

Exploring SAS® Viya®: Visual Analytics, Statistics, and Investigations
Data visualization enables decision-makers to see analytics presented visually so that they can grasp difficult concepts or identify new patterns. This book includes four visualization solutions powered by SAS Viya: SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Visual Statistics, SAS Visual Text Analytics, and SAS Visual Investigator.

Interested in learning more?

As becoming more data literate becomes increasingly more important in our daily lives, knowing where to get new information and tools to learn becomes critical to innovation and change. To stay up-to-date on new SAS Press books and our new free e-books releases, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Celebrating #InternationalLiteracyDay with Free SAS E-books! was published on SAS Users.

7月 152019

With all the excitement around SAS’ new software architecture, SAS Viya, we often get asked the question:

What is it and how can it help my company conquer our analytics challenges?

Fortunately, learning more about SAS Viya has never been easier.

SAS Viya extends the SAS® Platform and provides reliable, scalable, and secure analytics inventory management and governance. It allows for faster processing, access to machine learning, plus support for other languages like Python, R, Java, and Lua. In addition, it has support for on-site, cloud, or hybrid environments. It opens SAS to more than just data scientists and allows the SAS platform to be used by business analysts, developers, executives, and more. It truly is the next step in data analytics!

To support our Viya revolution, we have published two new free e-books to illustrate the features and capabilities of SAS Viya.

Exploring SAS® Viya®: Programming and Data Management covers how to access data files, libraries, and existing code in SAS® Studio. It also includes information on new procedures in SAS Viya, how to write new code, and how to use some of the pre-installed tasks that come with SAS® Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning.





Exploring SAS® Viya®: Visual Analytics, Statistics, and Investigations covers data visualization which enables decision-makers to see analytics presented visually so that they can grasp difficult concepts or identify new patterns. SAS offers several solutions for visualizing your data, many of which are powered by SAS Viya. This book includes four visualization solutions powered by SAS Viya: SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Visual Statistics, SAS Visual Text Analytics, and SAS Visual Investigator.

Test your new SAS skills

Ready to test out Viya for yourself? Get a free trial and test the power of the Viya engine.

For more updates on new SAS Press books and exclusive discounts subscribe to our SAS Press New Book Newsletter.

Curious about SAS® Viya®? Discover two new free SAS Press e-books! was published on SAS Users.

7月 102019

Posted on behalf of SAS Press author Derek Morgan.

I was sitting in a model railroad club meeting when one of our more enthusiastic young members said, "Wouldn't it be cool if we could make a computer simulation, with trains going between stations and all. We could have cars and engines assigned to each train and timetables and…"

So, I thought to myself, “Timetables… I bet SAS can do that easily… sounds like something fun for Mr. Dates and Times."

As it turns out, the only easy part of creating a timetable is calculating the time. SAS handles the concept of elapsed time smoothly. It’s still addition and subtraction, which is the basis of how dates and times work in SAS. If a train starts at 6:00 PM (64,800 seconds of the day) and arrives at its destination 12 hours (43,200 seconds) later, it arrives at 6:00 AM the next day. The math is start time+duration=end time (108,000 seconds,) which is 6:00 AM the next day. It doesn’t matter which day, that train is always scheduled to arrive at 6:00 AM, 12 hours from when it left.

It got a lot more complicated when the group grabbed onto the idea. One of the things they wanted to do was to add or delete trains and adjust the timing so multiple trains don’t run over the same track at the same time. This wouldn’t be that difficult in SAS; just create an interactive application, but… I’m the only one who has SAS. So how do I communicate my SAS database with the “outside world”? The answer was Microsoft Excel, and this is where it gets thorny.

It’s easy enough to send SAS data to Excel using ODS EXCEL and PROC REPORT, but how could I get Excel to allow the club to manipulate the data I sent?
I used the COMPUTE block in PROC REPORT to display a formula for every visible train column. I duplicated the original columns (with corresponding names to keep it all straight) and hid them in the same spreadsheet. The EXCEL formula code is in line 8.

Compute Block Code:

I also added three rows to the dataset at the top. The first contains the original start time for each train, the second contains an offset, which is always zero in the beginning, while the third row was blank (and formatted with a black background) to separate it from the actual schedule.

Figure 1: Schedule Adjustment File

The users can change the offset to change the starting time of a train (Column C, Figure 2.) The formula in the visible columns adds the offset to the value in each cell of the corresponding hidden column (as long as it isn’t blank.) You can’t simply add the offset to the value of the visible cell, because that would be a circular reference.

The next problem was moving a train to an earlier starting time, because Excel has no concept of negative time (or date—a date prior to the Excel reference date of January 1, 1900 will be a character value in Excel and cause your entire column to be imported into SAS as character data.) Similarly, you can’t enter -1:00 as an offset to move the starting time of our 5:35 AM train to 4:35 AM. Excel will translate “-1:00” as a character value and that will cause a calculation error in Excel. In order to move that train to 4:35 AM, you have to add 23 hours to the original starting time (Column D, Figure 2.)

Figure 2: Adjusting Train Schedules

After the users adjust the schedules, it’s time to return our Excel data to SAS, which creates more challenges. In the screenshot above, T534_LOC is the identifier of a specific train, and the timetable is kept in SAS time values. Unfortunately, PROC IMPORT using DBMS=XLSX brings the train columns into SAS as character data. T534_LOC also imports as the actual Excel value, time as a fraction of a day.

Figure 3: How the Schedule Adjustment File Imports to SAS

While I can fix that by converting the character data to numeric and multiplying by 86,400, I still need the original column name of T534_LOC for the simulation, so I would have to rename each character column and output the converted data to the original column name. There are currently 146 trains spread across 12 files, and that is a lot of work for something that was supposed to be easy! Needless to say, this “little” side project, like most model railroads, is still in progress. However, this exercise in moving time data between Microsoft Excel and SAS gave me even more appreciation for the way SAS handles date and time data.

Figure 4 is a partial sample of the finished timetable file, generated as an RTF file using SAS. The data for trains 534 and 536 are from the spreadsheet in Figure 1.

Figure 4: Partial Sample Timetable

Want to learn more about how to use and manipulate dates, times, and datetimes in SAS? You'll find the answers to these questions and much more in my book The Essential Guide to SAS Dates and Times, Second Edition. Updated for SAS 9.4, with additional functions, formats, and capabilities, the Second Edition has a new chapter dedicated to the ISO 8601 standard and the formats and functions that are new to SAS, including how SAS works with Universal Coordinated Time (UTC). Chapter 1 is available as a free preview here.

For updates on new SAS Press books and great discounts subscribe to the SAS Press New Book Newsletter.

SAS Press Author Derek Morgan on Timetables and Model Trains was published on SAS Users.

7月 032019

One of my favorite parts of summer is a relaxing weekend by the pool. Summer is the time I get to finally catch up on my reading list, which has been building over the year. So, if expanding your knowledge is a goal of yours this summer, SAS Press has a shelf full of new titles for you to explore. To help navigate your selection we asked some of our authors what SAS books were on their reading lists for this summer?

Teresa Jade

Teresa Jade, co-author of SAS® Text Analytics for Business Applications: Concept Rules for Information Extraction Models, has already started The DS2 Procedure: SAS Programming Methods at Work by Peter Eberhardt. Teresa reports that the book “is a concise, well-written book with good examples. If you know a little bit about the SAS DATA step, then you can leverage what you know to more quickly get up to speed with DS2 and understand the differences and benefits.”

Derek Morgan

Derek Morgan, author of The Essential Guide to SAS® Dates and Times, Second Edition, tells us his go-to books this summer are Art Carpenter’s Complete Guide to the SAS® REPORT Procedure and Kirk Lafler's PROC SQL: Beyond the Basics Using SAS®, Third Edition. He also notes that he “learned how to use hash objects from Don Henderson’s Data Management Solutions Using SAS® Hash Table Operations: A Business Intelligence Case Study.”

Chris Holland

Chris Holland co-author of Implementing CDISC Using SAS®: An End-to-End Guide, Revised Second Edition, recommends Richard Zink’s JMP and SAS book, Risk-Based Monitoring and Fraud Detection in Clinical Trials Using JMP® and SAS®, which describes how to improve efficiency while reducing costs in trials with centralized monitoring techniques.

And our recommendations this summer?

Download our two new free e-books which illustrate the features and capabilities of SAS® Viya®, and SAS® Visual Analytics on SAS® Viya®.

Want to be notified when new books become available? Sign up to receive information about new books delivered right to your inbox.

Summer reading – Book recommendations from SAS Press authors was published on SAS Users.

6月 062019

Want to learn SAS programming but worried about taking the plunge? Over at SAS Press, we are excited about an upcoming publication that introduces newbies to SAS in a peer-review instruction format we have found popular for the classroom. Professors Jim Blum and Jonathan Duggins have written Fundamentals of Programming in SAS using a spiral curriculum that builds upon topics introduced earlier and at its core, uses large-scale projects presented as case studies. To get ready for release, we interviewed our new authors on how their title will enhance our SAS Books collection and which of the existing SAS titles has had an impact on their lives!

What does your book bring to the SAS collection? Why is it needed?

Blum & Duggins: The book is probably unique in the sense that it is designed to serve as a classroom textbook, though it can also be used as a self-study guide. That also points to why we feel it is needed; there is no book designed for what we (and others) do in the classroom. As SAS programming is a broad topic, the goal of this text is to give a complete introduction of effective programming in Base SAS – covering topics such as working with data in various forms and data manipulation, creating a variety of tabular and visual summaries of data, and data validation and good programming practices.

The book pursues these learning objectives using large-scale projects presented as case studies. The intent of coupling the case-study approach with the introductory programming topics is to create a path for a SAS programming neophyte to evolve into an adept programmer by showing them how programmers use SAS, in practice, in a variety of contexts. The reader will gain the ability to author original code, debug pre-existing code, and evaluate the relative efficiencies of various approaches to the same problem using methods and examples supported by pedagogical theory. This makes the text an excellent companion to any SAS programming course.

What is your intended audience for the book?

Blum & Duggins: This text is intended for use in both undergraduate and graduate courses, without the need for previous exposure to SAS. However, we expect the book to be useful for anyone with an aptitude for programming and a desire to work with data, as a self-study guide to work through on their own. This includes individuals looking to learn SAS from scratch or experienced SAS programmers looking to brush up on some of the fundamental concepts. Very minimal statistical knowledge, such as elementary summary statistics (e.g. means and medians), would be needed. Additional knowledge (e.g. hypothesis testing or confidence intervals) could be beneficial but is not expected.

What SAS book(s) changed your life? How? And why?

Blum: I don’t know if this qualifies, but the SAS Programming I and SAS Programming II course notes fit this best. With those, and the courses, I actually became a SAS programmer instead of someone who just dabbled (and dabbled ineffectively). From there, many doors were opened for me professionally and, more importantly, I was able to start passing that knowledge along to students and open some doors for them. That experience also served as the basis for building future knowledge and passing it along, as well.

Duggins: I think the two SAS books that most changed my outlook on programming (which I guess has become most of my life, for better or worse) would either be The Essential PROC SQL Handbook for SAS Users by Katherine Prairie or Jane Eslinger's The SAS Programmer's PROC REPORT Handbook, because I read them at different times in my SAS programming career. Katherine's SQL book changed my outlook on programming because, until then, I had never done enough SQL to consistently consider it as a viable alternative to the DATA step. I had taken a course that taught a fair amount of SQL, but since I had much more experience with the DATA step and since that is what was emphasized in my doctoral program, I didn't use SQL all that often. However, after working through her book, I definitely added SQL to my programming arsenal. I think learning it, and then having to constantly evaluate whether the DATA step or SQL was better suited to my task, made me a better all-around programmer.

As for Jane's book - I read it much later after having used some PROC REPORT during my time as a biostatistician, but I really wasn't aware of how much could be done with it. I've also had the good fortune to meet Jane, and I think her personality comes through clearly - which makes that book even more enjoyable now than it was during my first read!

Read more

We at SAS Press are really excited to add this new release to our collection and will continue releasing teasers until its publication. For almost 30 years SAS Press has published books by SAS users for SAS users. Here is a free excerpt located on our Duggins' author page to whet your appetite. (Please know that this excerpt is an unedited draft and not the final content). Look out for news on this new publication, you will not want to miss it!

Want to find out more about SAS Press? For more about our books, subscribe to our newsletter. You’ll get all the latest news and exclusive newsletter discounts. Also, check out all our new SAS books at our online bookstore.

Interview with new SAS Press authors: Jim Blum and Jonathan Duggins was published on SAS Users.

5月 172019

As a publishing house inside of SAS, we often hear: “Does anyone want to read books anymore?” Especially technical programmers who are “too busy” to read. About a quarter of American adults (24%) say they haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form. In addition, leisure reading is at an all-time low in the US. However, we know that as literacy expansion throughout the world has grown, it has also helped reduce inequalities across and within countries. Over the years many articles have been published about how books will soon become endangered species, but can we let that happen when we know the important role books play in education?

At SAS, curiosity and life-long learning are part of our culture. All employees are encouraged to grow their skill set and never stop learning! While different people do have different preferred learning styles, statistics show that reading is critical to the development of life-long learners, something we agree with at SAS Press:

  • In a study completed at Yale University, Researchers studied 3,635 people older than 50 and found that those who read books for 30 minutes daily lived an average of 23 months longer than nonreaders or magazine readers. The study stated that the practice of reading books creates a cognitive engagement that improves a host of different things including vocabulary, cognitive skills, and concentration. Reading can also affect empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence, which all help people stay on the planet longer.
  • Vocabulary is notoriously resistant to aging, and having a vast one, according to researchers from Spain’s University of Santiago de Compostela, can significantly delay the manifestation of mental decline. When a research team at the university analyzed vocabulary test scores of more than 300 volunteers ages 50 and older, they found that participants with the lowest scores were between three and four times more at risk of cognitive decay than participants with the highest scores.
  • One international study of long-term economic trends among nations found that, along with math and science, “reading performance is strongly and significantly related to economic growth.”

Putting life-long learning into practice

Knowing the importance that reading plays, not only in adult life-long learning with books, SAS has been working hard to improve reading proficiency in young learners — which often ties directly to the number of books in the home, the number of times parents read to young learners, and the amount adults around them read themselves.

High-quality Pre-K lays the foundation for third-grade reading proficiency which is critical to future success in a knowledge-driven economy. — Dr. Jim Goodnight

With all the research pointing to why reading is so important to improving your vocabulary and mental fortitude, it seems only telling that learning SAS through our example-driven, in-depth books would prove natural.

So to celebrate #endangeredspecies day and help save what some call an “endangered species,” let’s think about:

  • What SAS books have you promised yourself you would read this year?
  • What SAS books will you read to continue your journey as a life-long learner?
  • What book do you think will get you to the next level of your SAS journey?

Let us know in the comments, what SAS book improved your love of SAS and took you on a life-long learner journey?

For almost thirty years SAS Press has published books by SAS users for SAS users. Want to find out more about SAS Press? For more about our books and some more of our SAS Press fun, subscribe to our newsletter. You’ll get all the latest news and exclusive newsletter discounts. Also, check out all our new SAS books at our online bookstore.

Other Resources:
About SAS: Education Outreach
About SAS: Reading Proficiency
Poor reading skills stymie children and the N.C. economy by Dr. Jim Goodnight

Do books count as endangered species? was published on SAS Users.

5月 142019

Interested in making business decisions with big data analytics? Our Wiley SAS Business Series book Profit Driven Business Analytics: A Practitioner’s Guide to Transforming Big Data into Added Value by Bart Baesens, Wouter Verbeke, and Cristian Danilo Bravo Roman has just the information you need to learn how to use SAS to make data and analytics decision-making a part of your core business model!

This book combines the authorial team’s worldwide consulting experience and high-quality research to open up a road map to handling data, optimizing data analytics for specific companies, and continuously evaluating and improving the entire process.

In the following excerpt from their book, the authors describe a value-centric strategy for using analytics to heighten the accuracy of your enterprise decisions:

“'Data is the new oil' is a popular quote pinpointing the increasing value of data and — to our liking — accurately characterizes data as raw material. Data are to be seen as an input or basic resource needing further processing before actually being of use.”

Analytics process model

In our book, we introduce the analytics process model that describes the iterative chain of processing steps involved in turning data into information or decisions, which is quite similar actually to an oil refinery process. Note the subtle but significant difference between the words data and information in the sentence above. Whereas data fundamentally can be defined to be a sequence of zeroes and ones, information essentially is the same but implies in addition a certain utility or value to the end user or recipient.

So, whether data are information depends on whether the data have utility to the recipient. Typically, for raw data to be information, the data first need to be processed, aggregated, summarized, and compared. In summary, data typically need to be analyzed, and insight, understanding, or knowledge should be added for data to become useful.

Applying basic operations on a dataset may already provide useful insight and support the end user or recipient in decision making. These basic operations mainly involve selection and aggregation. Both selection and aggregation may be performed in many ways, leading to a plentitude of indicators or statistics that can be distilled from raw data. Providing insight by customized reporting is exactly what the field of business intelligence (BI) is about.

Business intelligence is an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to — and analysis of — information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.

This model defines the subsequent steps in the development, implementation, and operation of analytics within an organization.

    Step 1
    As a first step, a thorough definition of the business problem to be addressed is needed. The objective of applying analytics needs to be unambiguously defined. Some examples are: customer segmentation of a mortgage portfolio, retention modeling for a postpaid Telco subscription, or fraud detection for credit cards. Defining the perimeter of the analytical modeling exercise requires a close collaboration between the data scientists and business experts. Both parties need to agree on a set of key concepts; these may include how we define a customer, transaction, churn, or fraud. Whereas this may seem self-evident, it appears to be a crucial success factor to make sure a common understanding of the goal and some key concepts is agreed on by all involved stakeholders.

    Step 2
    Next, all source data that could be of potential interest need to be identified. The golden rule here is: the more data, the better! The analytical model itself will later decide which data are relevant and which are not for the task at hand. All data will then be gathered and consolidated in a staging area which could be, for example, a data warehouse, data mart, or even a simple spreadsheet file. Some basic exploratory data analysis can then be considered using, for instance, OLAP facilities for multidimensional analysis (e.g., roll-up, drill down, slicing and dicing).

    Step 3
    After we move to the analytics step, an analytical model will be estimated on the preprocessed and transformed data. Depending on the business objective and the exact task at hand, a particular analytical technique will be selected and implemented by the data scientist.

    Step 4
    Finally, once the results are obtained, they will be interpreted and evaluated by the business experts. Results may be clusters, rules, patterns, or relations, among others, all of which will be called analytical models resulting from applying analytics. Trivial patterns (e.g., an association rule is found stating that spaghetti and spaghetti sauce are often purchased together) that may be detected by the analytical model is interesting as they help to validate the model. But of course, the key issue is to find the unknown yet interesting and actionable patterns (sometimes also referred to as knowledge diamonds) that can provide new insights into your data that can then be translated into new profit opportunities!

    Step 5
    Once the analytical model has been appropriately validated and approved, it can be put into production as an analytics application (e.g., decision support system, scoring engine). Important considerations here are how to represent the model output in a user-friendly way, how to integrate it with other applications (e.g., marketing campaign management tools, risk engines), and how to make sure the analytical model can be appropriately monitored and back-tested on an ongoing basis.

Book giveaway!

If you are as excited about business analytics as we are and want a copy of Bart Baesens’ book Profit Driven Business Analytics: A Practitioner’s Guide to Transforming Big Data into Added Value, enter to win a free copy in our book giveaway today! The first 5 commenters to correctly answer the question below get a free copy of Baesens book! Winners will be contacted via email.

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What Free SAS Press e-book did Bart Baesens write the foreword too?

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Further resources

Want to prove your business analytics skills to the world? Check out our Statistical Business Analyst Using SAS 9 certification guide by Joni Shreve and Donna Dea Holland! This certification is designed for SAS professionals who use SAS/STAT software to conduct and interpret complex statistical data analysis.

For more information about the certification and certification prep guide, watch this video from co-author Joni Shreve on their SAS Certification Prep Guide: Statistical Business Analysis Using SAS 9.

Big data in business analytics: Talking about the analytics process model was published on SAS Users.