I am Vasiliy Sabirov, Lead Analyst and Co-founder at devtodev, and I'm used to hearing a question from my game industry friends and colleagues about the books that I recommend reading to understand metrics and analytics in games better?
So here’s why I've come up with the list. Into this list, I’ve added the books only. Check out my list of articles, podcasts, and videos here.
1. Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz
This book answers the question of where to start analyzing your data. Authors have considered several business models (mobile application, user-generated content, SaaS) and proposed metrics that will work best for each of them. Also, the authors described the logic that you need to follow when choosing your metrics. And there are a lot of real cases as well.
2. Creating a Data-Driven Organization: Practical Advice from the Trenches by Carl Anderson
If you are data-driven or you want to become data-driven, you should read this book.
It will explain how the true data-drivenness involves processes that require genuine buy-in across your company, from analysts and management to the C-Suite and the board. You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t, and why creating a data-driven culture throughout your organization is essential.
3. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
This book is called a production novel. And, although it is a real page-turner, people manage companies and conduct trainings based on it. A big plus of the book is that it is very well-written. With it, you will learn how to find bottlenecks in your product and what to do with them.
4. How to Analyze Promotional Activities in Games by Vasiliy Sabirov
The practical guide, written by me and published by devtodev, can be downloaded free of charge from our Education Center both in Russian and English. Starting promotional activities with discounts can be a part of the monetization strategy for many projects. However, in reality, we see that not everyone knows how to evaluate their effectiveness properly. In this book, we share insights and conclusions that will help you to make your promo activities successful.
5. Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Wheelan
The tagline says: “The most interesting book about the most boring science,” and if I can argue with the second part, then I agree with the first. Unbelievably, this book is interesting and easy to read. It is fun and tells about quite complex things, with a large number of examples. Reading this piece of art is the best way to convert any person into a statistics lover!
6. How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff
I would call this book rather “How not to be deceived with the help of statistics”. The author tells how statistics work and how features of statistics are used in the media and other sources of information. Also, you will learn how to manipulate people and data. It's quite useful, isn't it?
7. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
In short, this is the best book about retention. This book describes in detail how to arrange triggers in your product that motivate users to return to this product again. Nir Eyal explains the Hook Model — a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies to subtly encourage customer behavior. Through consecutive “hook cycles,” these products reach their ultimate goal of bringing users back again and again without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.
This is almost the best thing I've read about free-to-play games and how they work. The free-to-play economy is sensitive to users’ mood and changes, and the author of the book perfectly breaks this complex down for readers.
9. Game Analytics: Maximizing the Value of Player Data by Magy Seif El-Nasr, Anders Drachen, Alessandro Canossa
At the moment, this book is almost the only one, from the first page to the last, that is written about game analytics. It could be called dry and redundant but anyway, there is no other book in the world that covered the topic of game analytics more comprehensively.
10. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter
Everything is simple with this one - it is my favorite book. Gödel is that mathematician who proved the incompleteness theorem, Escher is that artist who drew unimaginable graphics, and Bach is that composer who doesn't need any introductions. In his monumental work, Hofstadter cleverly weaves together music, painting, and mathematics, moving from them to the general laws by which the world exists. And after reading this book, you will love even more human thinking and science in general.
The full list of my recommendations you can find here.
I hope that these books will broaden your analyst’s horizons, convert you to a science lover and as a result make your games grow faster.