I have been really looking forward to reading The Definitive Guide to DAX by the fine folks we lovingly refer to as “The Italians”, Marco Russo and Alberto Ferrari. At over 500 pages, I still jammed through it in about one week… and now I am hear to let you know if it was worth my time. Spoiler: It was bad ass.
I’m not going to go into a ton of detail about the contents of the book, as you can go look at the table of contents on Amazon. I will say that the contents of the book were exactly what I expected – a deeply technical book on DAX dealing with the nitty gritty details over filter context, context transitions, details of the xVelocity (aka Vertipaq) engine, performance tuning, and general 400+ level topics, This ain’t no sippin’ tea! (I have no idea what I meant by that, just go with it).
There is some joking amongst Power BI pros that the works of Marco and Alberto can be a bit… hard to approach? Certainly, if you are looking for a super “practical” book that just… helps you get stuff done, without requiring Nth level detail… Rob’s book is likely a better fit and the 2nd edition is coming out soon! That said, I felt this book was easier to understand than I expected. Yes, it is deeply technical, and certainly not for beginners, but for those with some DAX already under their belt, it’s quite understandable.
I have to admit, it felt like this book was written specifically for me. Thanks guys! If you read and understand this book, you can certainly train others and probably have a fine career consulting businesses in using DAX. There is a level of knowledge in this book that caused me to periodically ask the book “Why in the world do you even know that!?” Certainly a testament to them beating up the product team to get and serve up all the good details to us.
Do note that there are many examples in the book that use the newest functionality in the engine, only available in Power BI and Excel 2016. Certainly a ton of useful learning for any version, but the book will make you desire the latest.
Great job, Italians. Go buy their book, random reader