We at Devtodev have compiled a list of must-read books for game analysts that will broaden your horizons and help your games grow faster.
We often receive questions from our friends and colleagues in the game industry asking for book recommendations to better understand metrics and analytics in games. As a response, we have curated a list of such books.
This list includes only books. For our list of articles, podcasts, and videos, please visit our website here. here.
1. Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz
This book addresses the crucial question of how to begin analyzing your data. The authors have explored various business models, including mobile applications, user-generated content, and SaaS, and have proposed the most suitable metrics for each. They also provide a logical framework for selecting the right metrics, and the book includes numerous real-world case studies.
2. Creating a Data-Driven Organization: Practical Advice from the Trenches by Carl Anderson
If you are data-driven or aspire to become data-driven, this book is a must-read.
It explains that true data-driven practices require genuine commitment across your entire company, from analysts and management to the C-Suite and the board. You'll discover what works and what doesn't, and why fostering a data-driven culture throughout your organization is imperative.
3. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
While this book doesn't exclusively focus on app or game analytics, it's often described as a production novel. Despite its engaging narrative, many use it as a resource for managing companies and conducting training. A significant advantage of the book is its excellent writing, which helps you understand how to identify bottlenecks in your product and how to address them.
4. Say It With Chart: The Executive's Guide to Visual Communication by Gene Zelazny
Visualization is the quickest route from data to solutions. That's why the ability to visualize data is just as essential as proficiency in Python. We highly recommend this step-by-step guide for creating compelling and memorable presentations.
5. How to Analyze Promotional Activities in Games by Devtodev
The practical book for game analysts, authored and published by the Devtodev team, is available for free download. Initiating promotional activities with discounts can be a component of the monetization strategy for many projects. However, in practice, we observe that not everyone knows how to accurately assess their effectiveness. In this book, we share insights and conclusions that will assist you in achieving success with your promotional activities.
6. Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Wheelan
The tagline reads: 'The most interesting book about the most boring science,' and while we might debate the second part, we wholeheartedly agree with the first. Surprisingly, this book is engaging and easy to read. It's enjoyable and explains rather complex concepts with numerous examples. Reading this masterpiece is the surest way to turn anyone into a lover of statistics!
7. The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow
Mlodinow is a co-author of Hawking, so that alone should pique your interest. In his book, he explains complex concepts in a straightforward manner, covering not only statistics and probability theory but also game theory, physics, and astronomy. By revealing the true nature of chance, Mlodinow equips us with the tools needed to make more informed decisions.
8. MoneyBall: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis
You've likely seen the movie 'Moneyball,' starring Brad Pitt and directed by Bennett Miller, which is an adaptation of this specific book. It's based on the story of a baseball manager who was among the first to apply statistical methods in team management and, as you might expect, achieved remarkable results in doing so.
9. How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff
This is another interesting book for game and app analysts. We might describe it as 'How Not to Be Deceived by Statistics.' The author explains how statistics function and how they are utilized in the media and other information sources. Additionally, you'll discover how to influence people and data. It's quite valuable, isn't it?
10. The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you by Rob Fitzpatrick
We believe that customer development begins with this book. Analytics isn't just about data and metrics; it's also about the ability to communicate and understand the needs of users. Surprisingly, this can be even more challenging than constructing SQL queries.
11. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
In brief, this is the ultimate book on user retention. It thoroughly elucidates the techniques for setting up triggers in your product that drive users to return repeatedly. Nir Eyal expounds on the Hook Model, a four-step process integrated into the products of numerous successful companies to subtly encourage customer behavior. By employing successive 'hook cycles,' these products attain their ultimate objective of bringing users back without relying on expensive advertising or intrusive messaging.
12. Freemium Economics: Leveraging Analytics and User Segmentation to Drive Revenue by Eric Seufert
This is one of the best pieces we've read about free-to-play games and how they operate. The free-to-play economy is responsive to user behavior and changes, and the book's author adeptly simplifies this complexity for readers.
13. Exodus to the Virtual World by Edward Castronova
Castronova, a leading expert in virtual economics, presents insightful discussions on how games operate, how the economy functions, and how virtual economic laws impact various aspects of our lives.
14. Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal
McGonigal, a prominent figure in the field of games and the game industry (you can watch this video for proof), shares her insights on the role of games in the contemporary world. For those working in game development, the book might not introduce anything fundamentally new. However, what truly matters is that this book is highly motivating and encourages you to embark on the journey of creating an exceptional game.
15. Game Analytics: Maximizing the Value of Player Data by Magy Seif El-Nasr, Anders Drachen, Alessandro Canossa
At present, this book stands as one of the few, covering game analytics comprehensively from the first page to the last. It may be considered dry and repetitive, but nevertheless, there is no other book in the world that delves into the topic of game analytics with such depth.
16. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
This is the bible of behavioral economics, and if you must pick one book to read on this topic, it should be 'Thinking, Fast and Slow.' Kahneman's work comprehensively explores behavioral economics like no other.
17. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
If Kahneman's book is primarily focused on capturing and perpetuating facts, Ariely reflects more on how people harness their emotional decision-making abilities for personal gain.
18. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
Thaler and Sunstein, unlike Ariely, discuss how people's tendency to make mistakes can be applied in management, government structures, and social institutions to reach win-win solutions. In other words, this book isn't about game and app analytics but is nonetheless highly valuable.
19. Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler
We recommend Thaler not only because he won the Nobel Prize in Economics but also because his book is the most up-to-date and current work on behavioral economics.
20. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter