PowerPivotPro: The Book (Coming Soon)

***UPDATE:  Window Extended!

I think I can leave the “get your name in the book” offer open until the weekend.  See this post.

Where’s Rob?

You may have noticed a certain absence over the past couple weeks.  David Churchward has been on quite a run of guest posts, and that is no accident.  He’s been keeping things afloat here for me, as a HUGE favor, while I finish the book.

It was time

Yes, the book.  One that captures the essential lessons that I’ve informally recorded and scattered on the blog over the years in random order.  One that sequences all of those lessons properly, explains them more fully than the blog, and forces me to not cut corners.  One that captures the way I teach when I train people onsite.  Ideally, one that helps the Excel Pro in particular make the transition from Excel Pro to All-Out Data Monster.

I’ve been thinking about this forever.  Hey, it’s always sounded like a great idea.  But it’s one thing to think about it and another to actually do it.  I actually started over New Year’s this past January, but then shelved it as things got hectic at work.  Well…  August rolled around, things were STILL hectic at work, and then I noticed THIS on Amazon…  “rut roh Shaggy.”

WAIT!  If you want to pre-order, do it tomorrow, and I’ll put your name in the book.  See below for details.

WAIT!  If you want to pre-order, do it Wednesday, and I’ll put your name in the book Smile
(See below for details)

At the beginning of August, the release date was listed as September 1st.  It was quite the wakeup call Smile.

Plus, this is being published by Bill Jelen’s Holy Macro Press.  It’s a Mr. Excel title!  Bill has been fantastically helpful to me in this whole process, dating back to last calendar year.  Thou shalt not let down Mr. Excel!  So again, yeah, it was time.

I’ve been heads-down ever since, and the process is now happily in its final phases.  The book will be released Nov 10.

150 Pages?  Bah.

Yeah it’s listed at 150.  That was the estimate that I submitted nearly a year ago.  Then I dug in and quickly started realizing that I needed to exceed it. 

 

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This is the “shorthand” working table of contents
and estimated page counts – in Excel of course Smile

The final page count won’t be set until all the formatting and layout is done, so I don’t know for certain, but right now the estimated page count is somewhere between 200 and 250 pages.  (I’m not yet sure if we’ll eventually update that 150 number on Amazon or not, I have to ask Bill how that all works.)

Thinking back, it was pretty silly, estimating it to only take 150 pages.  There are now nearly 400 posts on PowerPivotPro!  And while I certainly haven’t written them all (thank you, guest bloggers, particularly David, Colin, and David!), the blog itself would probably approach 3,000 pages if it were printed out.

The book doesn’t even attempt to address everything on the blog though.  The book is all about the fundamentals and patterns that you will use repeatedly in your PowerPivot work.  It cannot begin to capture all of the millions of little tricks that emerge.  There’s nothing on “sort by slicers,” for instance.  I’m only “glancing” at cube formulas, there are no macros, no formatting tricks.  This is 200+ pages dedicated to DAX, model building, and a few pages on my other favorite topic:  how to leverage all of this most impactfully in your career.

Flash Mob:  Pre-Order Wednesday 9/12, Get Your Name in the Book!

Let’s have some fun.  If you are planning to order the book, consider pre-ordering it tomorrow, September 12, between noon and 1 PM US Eastern time (that’s 9-10 AM US Pacific, and 4-5 PM GMT).

(Of course, if you’re reading this via email or RSS, “tomorrow” might already be “today.”)

Send me a screenshot of the order confirmation page (indicating a pre-order during that 1-hour window), and I will include your name in the book!  (Yes I still have a narrow window for changes).

Click Here to Add to Your Calendar (.ics file)

If enough people participate, the book may crack the top 100 or better in the Tech category Smile

Send screenshots to:  rob.  at a place called Pivotstream.  dot com.

A Fascinating Process

It’s been an amazing trip.  The things that go into a book are surprising and yet, make tons of sense.  For instance, you don’t format the book in anything resembling WYSIWYG manner.  You edit it in something that vaguely (VERY vaguely) resembles HTML, in a format that I immediately dubbed “BookML.”  Then you hand it off to someone else for layout and formatting.  This is like the “source code” for a book.

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From the cockpit:  a glimpse of BookML
Final Result Will Look NOTHING Like This Smile

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Someone mention images??
There are over 300 diagrams and screenshots in the book.

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You know you are losing it when you take
screenshots of yourself taking screenshots.

Everyday I Write the Book

Fair warning:  if your formative music-listening years included 1983, and you decide to write a book, you will never, EVER, get this Elvis Costello song out of your head.  It’s just gonna be stamped there forever.

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Click for a Sample of the Most Common Words in My Head this Past Month

And when I say every day, I mean EVERY day, and in lots of different places.  I quickly discovered that simply sitting at my desk was no good, I had to draw a line and only work on it in relative seclusion.  I’ve been keeping a bit of a photo journal to document the process.  Here’s a sampling:

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On Vacation? Everyone else is out on the lake, you say?
Here’s your laptop, the room has wifi.  Get comfy.

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24 Hour Road Trip to Wisconsin and Back? Wife Drives, I Write.
Yes this was taken from the PASSENGER Seat :)

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Hey is that Lambeau Field? Hmm. OK, I can take five minutes.
But then back to the car, and the laptop.

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I’ve Become a Regular at MULTIPLE Coffee Shops.  And libraries. 

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Backyard at Home Always SEEMS Like a Good Idea, but it Rarely Works Out

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Ah the wee hours of the night.
Why does she even wait up for me?

Home Stretch

Anyway, I’ve gotta get back to work.  Just a few finishing touches left.  I’ll update you when it’s finalized, thanks for reading for the past few years Smile

31 Responses to PowerPivotPro: The Book (Coming Soon)

  1. The_DJ_Monkey says:

    In case you are wondering… Yes, the book is going to kick all holy ass. I have read several chapters and it’s incredibly enjoyable — holding on to Rob’s light-hearted non-stuffy style while jammed with useful info.

    • powerpivotpro says:

      Thanks Scott. I’m adding “kick all holy ass” to the pantheon of creative compliments. Or things Ray Lewis says before a game.

  2. John Bradley says:

    Sounds awesome Rob. Going to put my preorder in. Love your stuff.

  3. Ben Niebuhr says:

    I am trying to restrain my need to order this book until the appointed time.

    And next time you are in Wisconsin, I’d gladly provide the beverage of your choice as a thanks for all the help your blog has given me.

    • powerpivotpro says:

      Ben – next time I am in Wisconsin, I will drink my way across the state to make up for lost time on this last trip :)

    • Jeff Wilson says:

      You have to take Rob for lunch at Chili Johns and dinner at the Stadium View sports bar. Show him Broasted chicken.

      GO PACK!!

  4. Jeff Wilson says:

    Rob- The book will be great because you are writing it on the road again at Lambeau that cuts it a 46 yr fan (I’m 52) of the Green Bay Packers it has the feel of getting a secret playbook.

    Wille Nelson On the Road Again
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TD_pSeNelU

    Doobie Brothers – Rockin Down The Highway

  5. Avi Singh says:

    I’ve been keeping an eye on this one for a while…I think I am one of the “Likes” in the Amazon snapshot. Love your blog, but haven’t really gotten around to perusing all the old posts. This book would do it for me :-)
    Any ETA on when it would be released? I suppose even after completion it goes through the publishing cycle so you may not have an exact idea.

  6. James Rivera says:

    Congratulations Rob!!

    My favorite line in your post above: “You know you are losing it when you take
    screenshots of yourself taking screenshots.” :-)

    • powerpivotpro says:

      Thanks James. And I’m pretty sure that was my favorite line too. Funny, I took the screenshot… and then I’m looking at the screenshot tool… and my first instinct after taking hundreds of screenshots… is to take ANOTHER screenshot of that window!

      It started out as instinct, and only THEN morphed into humor :)

  7. Jeff Wilson says:

    For when you need a break and some crazy humor This is like being caught in Lotus tech support in the old days or customer service with your cell carrier

    Monty Python

    Argument Clinic

  8. Randy says:

    Rob, will you please provide more details about the “BookML” layout in MS Word? Is it a template? Is it used for technical books requiring many screenshots in the narrative flow? Or is this layout your publishers requirement?

    • powerpivotpro says:

      It’s actually just the format/template required by Holy Macro Books. The critical thing is that it picks up on Styles in the document rather than explicit formatting. So I tag a It’s kinda like CSS in that regard. “BookML” was just my geeky knee-jerk label for it :)

  9. Jen says:

    AWESOME! I can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for all your hard work. Tell PowerPivot pup my 3 Office, SQL Server and SharePoint pups all bark hello. : )

    • powerpivotpro says:

      Thanks Jen!

      Our other two dogs were not included in the picture, they were out of frame at the time – probably because they were hassling me :)

    • powerpivotpro says:

      Wow Jen you have an amazing web site. Best “personal” site I’ve ever seen from an MS employee. You maintain that yourself in “spare” time? Impressive!

  10. Aaron Bregel says:

    Congrats on the book! I miss doing BI stuff in XL. Hopefully you have some content on what I would assume are additions/improvements in the next version of Office. I am going to buy a copy and give it to my youngest brother who is doing lots of PowerPivots in his job at Extended Results.

    • powerpivotpro says:

      Wow, hey there Aaron! Serious blast from the past, hearing from you :)

      PowerPivot is amazing Aaron. Not sure how closely you’ve been watching it, but it’s CRAZY, the most amazing gift to people like us. The world is only beginning to begin to wake up to the changes afoot :)

  11. Nobody says:

    whenever I get the OK to move from Cognos cubes to Excel PowerPivot, I’ll def. order it (though it will probably be too advanced for me!)

  12. Big fan of your blog, appreciate the headsup on your book – look forward to it.

    Mission: Pre Order Book – Achievement Unlocked.

  13. D3strukt says:

    Thank you Rob for restoring my faith in Microsoft and self-service BI. This book is an insta-buy. F*ck all the haters that say PowerPivot can’t be a full-scale enterprise reporting tool.

    Question: Will this book just be DAX code? Or will you make it interesting, situational, and fun to read by providing real world examples/case studies?

    Will the entire accounting/finance techniques DAX be included? That is most relevant to my company.

    Do you plan on a Kindle/e-reader version?

    • powerpivotpro says:

      D3strukt – with a name like that I feel like I was just playing Halo against you :) Seriously, the neighbors just left, we were having a LAN party. And yes, I am 38 years old :)

      The book is primarily fundamentals, the foundations you need in order to understand the various “tricks” and scenario-specific techniques covered on the blog over time. I originally intended to make the book 50/50 but then the 150 page book became 288 and was just fundamentals :)

      That said, I do use some scenarios as examples to teach various topics. But I think I could probably write a “sequel,” one that captures several dozen tricks and techniques. I’ve been talking to Bill (MrExcel) about that. We may collaborate on it, as I don’t have time to do another book on my own.

      Yes, there will be an e-reader version released at the same time as the print book. We’re just a few weeks away now. I’m excited :)

      • D3strukt says:

        Bought. Company let me expense it! C’mon, Calculate/Filter/and beautiful TimeIntelligence functions! Time to put Cognos to shame!

  14. Greg says:

    Lol at halo LAN parties. Those kinda died for me when Xbox live came around but those were fun back in the day.

    • powerpivotpro says:

      This was a hybrid. The four of us play as a team on xbox live, on two tv’s. And yeah this is a very recent revival – first time I’ve done anything like this in 10+ years. Good times.

  15. greg says:

    We used to that exact thing all the time as well with Halo 2 – good stuff. :) Maybe ill see u online for halo 4

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