Welcome to the One Model resource page for books about People Analytics. This is meant to be a living document, so if we missed one of your favorites, please don't hesitate to reach out to Richard Rosenow with a recommendation. He's always looking to add to the library.
People Analytics Essentials - Reading Starter Kit
When it comes to books about people analytics, we are finally at a point where we have the luxury of having too many choices. The virtual library is well stocked and all of these books come highly recommended and vetted by our experts, but if you had to start somewhere, we recommend the following 7 books to kick things off.
Work Rules - Best “painting the dream”
“Work Rules” by Laszlo Bock is the first book I recommend to folk looking to learn more about People Analytics. Written by Google's former SVP of People Operations, this book offers a behind-the-scenes look at Google's unique approach to attracting and retaining top talent. Through compelling anecdotes and evidence-based insights, Bock presents actionable strategies for building a dynamic, innovative, and people-centric organization.
Work Rules has held the top spot on my book recommendation list for a long time as it’s the right blend of real-life case study and inspiration. It’s not too technical, but you leave feeling excited to learn more about the space. Whether you're in HR and new to this people analytics space or looking for ideas about how to infuse people analytics into your existing practices, "Work Rules!" is a great introduction in how it paints the picture of what people analytics can look like at scale within an organization.
Moneyball - Best at “building excitement”
"Moneyball" by Michael Lewis (the movie is great, but the book is better!) serves as an unexpected guide for people analytics leaders. While it tells the story of the Oakland Athletics baseball team's innovative use of statistics, the takeaways from the book reach far beyond baseball. The application of data analytics to assess baseball players and make strategic decisions on the field makes for an easy transition to talking about how people analytics can assist business decisions.
For those new to people analytics or HR, "Moneyball" offers relatable examples of how data-driven decisions can lead to surprising and effective outcomes. Its engaging narrative can even serve as a conversation starter with business leaders outside the typical HR function, demonstrating how unconventional thinking about talent practices, paired with data analysis, can lead to success. "Moneyball" is not only a gripping story but a playbook for those seeking to introduce people analytics into their organization.
Excellence in People Analytics - Best at “Overall introduction”
"Excellence in People Analytics" by David Green and Jonathan Ferrar is the classic resource now within the people analytics field. Their book is specifically tailored for those in the people analytics field or those seeking to embark on this fascinating journey. The authors, both renowned experts in the field, offer a comprehensive guide to understanding, implementing, and excelling in people analytics within an organization.
With a blend of theoretical frameworks and practical case studies, the book provides a holistic view of how people analytics can drive better decision-making and foster organizational success. Ideal for HR professionals, analytics leaders, and business executives, "Excellence in People Analytics" will help set the stage for people analytics and inspire you to leverage data in innovative ways to enhance people processes.
Sensemaking - Best at “reminding you that humans still matter”
"Sensemaking" by Christian Madsbjerg is a thought-provoking exploration of the human context in the era of data and analytics. Madsbjerg argues for a balanced approach that marries data with a deeper understanding of human behavior, culture, and emotion. I go back to read Sensemaking every couple of years to remind myself to focus on the people in people analytics. Knowing what data can do for an organization is important, but it’s just as important in a people analytics role to understand the limitations of data.
For those entering the field of people analytics or looking to expand their HR perspective, "Sensemaking" provides a unique standpoint, emphasizing that not everything can be reduced to numbers. It encourages readers to blend analytical thinking with empathy, intuition, and cultural awareness. This approach can lead to more nuanced and effective decisions in people management. "Sensemaking" is a must-read for those who wish to infuse their analytical work with human insights and achieve a more sophisticated and holistic understanding of the people they serve.
Cartoon Guide to Statistics - Best at “Stats without fear”
The "Cartoon Guide to Statistics" is a breath of fresh air for anyone who has ever felt bewildered by statistics. Whether you're a people analytics leader or an HR professional looking to dip your toes into the world of data, this lighthearted and engaging guide speaks plain English and turns complex statistical concepts into digestible and even enjoyable lessons. As someone who came to statistics later in life, this book was a blessing and I can’t recommend it enough.
Through witty cartoons and crystal-clear explanations, the book proves that relearning statistics as an adult doesn't have to be a daunting task. In fact, it can even be funny! A breakthrough resource for those who may struggle with traditional statistical texts, the "Cartoon Guide to Statistics" offers a welcoming entry point to the crucial world of data analysis.
The Fundamentals of People Analytics: With Applications in R - Best at “mastering the stats”
While leading people analytics teams at Experian, Mastercard, Robinhood, and Roku, Craig has somehow also found time to teach, give back to the people analytics community, and write a full statistics textbook, end to end, with people analytics at the core. The Fundamentals of People Analytics: With Applications in R is what happens when a true practitioner sees a problem, no great statistical resources with HR folk in mind, and applies himself to it fully. The result is a masterwork guide to statistics for the people analytics professional. If you are looking to learn statistics for HR or build your confidence in the applications in HR, look no further than this book.
Talent Intelligence - Best at “Talent intelligence”
"Talent Intelligence" by Toby Culshaw explores the field of talent intelligence, an area adjacent to, but one that is starting to appear to be distinct from, people analytics. Overviewing the world of both internal and external talent markets, Culshaw's insights provide a deep understanding of how to strategically approach talent acquisition and talent management through data-informed practices.
This book is an ideal recommendation for those involved in recruiting or those in people analytics seeking to expand their perspective. Whether you're an HR leader or a professional looking to understand the broader landscape of data-informed HR, "Talent Intelligence" offers a comprehensive guide to leveraging data to make informed talent decisions. It's an eye-opener for anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of the ever-evolving landscape of talent in today's business world.
The field of People Analytics
In this section are books that cover the full field of People Analytics. These are excellent overviews that share a range of topics from what this field is, to how to go about it, to case studies in the space. A great place to start for folk looking to learn more about how analytics is used to better understand the workforce.
- Excellence in People Analytics - Jonathan Ferrar and David Green
- The Power of People - Nigel Geunole, Jonathan Ferrar, and Sheri Feinzig
- People Analytics for Dummies - Mike West
- Introduction to People Analytics - Nadheem Khan and David Milnor
- People Analytics: How Social Sensing Technology Will Transform Business and What It Tells Us About the Future of Work - Ben Waber
- Work Rules - Laszlo Bock
- HR analytics: The What, Why, and How - Tracey Smith
- Predictive Analytics for Human Resources - Jac Fitz-enz and John Mattox II
- Strategic Analytics: Advancing Strategy Execution and Organizational Effectiveness - Alec Levenson
- Data-Driven HR: How to Use Analytics and Metrics to Drive Performance - Bernard Marr
- Human Capital Analytics - Gene Pease, Bryce Byerly, and Jac Fitz-enz
- The Practical Guide to HR Analytics: Using Data to Inform, Transform, and Empower HR Decisions - Shonna Waters
- The Basic Principles of People Analytics: Learn how to use HR data to drive better outcomes for your business and employees - Erik van Vulpen
- The New HR Analytics: Predicting the Economic Value of Your Company's Human Capital Investments - Jac Fitz Enz
Specialized People Analytics
Similar to the first section, this section is for books that cover a broad overview of the space, but for a more narrow vertical within the space. These are books that still touch people analytics, but specialize is sub-topics such as DEI, L&D, Workforce Planning and Talent Intelligence. Great for learners who want to go deep on a given topic or transition into people analytics from their prior field.
- Talent Intelligence - Toby Culshaw
- Inclusalytics: How Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leaders Use Data to Drive Their Work - Victoria Mattingly, PhD, Sertrice Grice, and Allison Goldstein
- Agile Workforce Planning: How to Align People with Organizational Strategy for Improved Performance - Adam Gibson
- Strategic Workforce Planning: Developing Optimized Talent Strategies for Future Growth - Ross Sparkman
- Next Generation Performance Management: The Triumph of Science Over Myth and Superstition - Alan Colquitt
- Learning Analytics: Measurement Innovations to Support Employee Development - John Mattox II, Mark Van Buren, and Jean Martin
- Adaptive Space: How GM and Other Companies are Positively Disrupting Themselves and Transforming into Agile Organizations - Michael Arena
- Positioned: Strategic Workforce Planning That Gets the Right Person in the Right Job - Dan Ward and Rob Tripp
People Analytics focused Analytics, Data Science, and Statistics
With the maturity of the people analytics space, we've seen a rise in textbooks covering the fundamentals of HR analytics from an anaytics technical perspective or statistical overview of the space. If you are looking to brush up on your technical knowledge or just starting down your journey with statistics and looking for an HR analytics textbook, you're in the right place.
- The Fundamentals of People Analytics: With Applications in R - Craig Starbuck
- Handbook of Regression Modeling in People Analytics: With R - Keith McNulty
- Handbook of Graphs and Networks in People Analytics: With R - Keith McNulty
- Introducing HR Analytics with Machine Learning: Empowering Practitioners, Psychologists, and Organizations - Austin Hagerty and Christopher Rossett
- Doing HR Analytics - A Practitioner's Handbook With R Examples - Lyndon Sundmark
- Storytelling with Data - Cole Nussbaumer
- Predictive HR Analytics: Mastering the HR Metric - Dr. Martin Edwards and Kristen Edwards
General Analytics, Data Science, and Statistics
The benefit of people analytics being a younger discipline in the analytics field is that we have many other disciplines that have gone down this path ahead of us. We can learn from analytics and statistics books across many disciplines and bring that knowledge back to people analytics. Here is a sample of books that come up frequently when speaking to people analytics leaders about their favorites from outside the field.
- Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning; With a New Introduction - Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris
- Weapons of Math Destruction - Cathy O’Neil
- The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World - Pedro Domingos
- Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data - Charles Wheelan
- The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail--but Some Don't - Nate Silver
- Cartoon Guide to Statistics - Larry Gonick
- Statistics in Plain English - Timothy Urdan
At the end of the day, we are people analytics, not just analytics, and with that comes a real need to understand our subject area - people! These are some of the goto books in the space and some of my favorites when it comes to engaging with the social sciences. They are hand picked for being engaging, thoughtful and educational reads.
- Moneyball - Michael Lewis
- Sensemaking: The Power of the Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm - Christian Madsbjerg
- Humanizing Human Capital: Invest in Your People for Optimal Business Returns - Stela Lupashor and Solange Charas
- Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the World's Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations - Josh Bersin
- The Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You - Scott Page
- The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds - Michael Lewis
- Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman
- Superforecasting - Phillip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
- Evidence-Based Management: How to Use Evidence to Make Better Organizational Decisions - Eric Barends and Denise Rousseau
- Humans at Work - The Art and Practice of Creating the Hybrid Workplace - Anna Tavis and Stela Lupashor
- Misbehaving - Richard Thaler
- It’s Not Complicated - Rick Nason
Want to learn more from an expert about the space?
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We won't get far with people analytics if we don't have well defined inputs, outcomes, or measures within HR. Understanding how HR is measured is critical to a people analytics team success. There is a full second library worth of HR measurement books out there and this section just scratches the surface.
- The HR Scorecard: Linking People, Strategy, and Performance - Dave Ulrich, Mark Huselid, Brian Becker
- Human Resource Management: People, Data, and Analytics - Talya Bauer, Berrin Erdogan, David Coughlin, and Donald Truxillo
- Investing in People: Financial Impact of Human Resource Initiatives - Wayne Cascio and John Boudreau
- Victory Through Organization: Why the War for Talent is Failing Your Company and What You Can Do About it - Dave Ulrich, David Kryscynski, Wayne Brockbank, and Mike Ulrich
- Investing in People: Financial Impact of Human Resource Initiatives - John Boudreau, Wayne Cascio, and Alexis Fink
- The ROI of Human Capital - Jac Fitz Enz
- Positioned - Dan Ward, Rob Tripp
Last but not least, the HR technology space has its own set of fantastic resources. We won't get very far in people analytics without technology to produce data, so understanding this space is critical. Here are some standout HR technology books from the past few years.
- Introduction to HR Technologies: Understand How to Use Technology to Improve Performance and Processes - Stacey Harris
- Artificial Intelligence for HR: Use AI to Support and Develop a Successful Workforce - Ben Eubanks
- I, Human - Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
- Talent Tectonics: Navigating Global Workforce Shifts, Building Resilient Organizations and Reimagining the Employee Experience - Steve Hunt
Finished this list? Check out One Model's whitepapers and ebooks.
Also, did we miss your favorite? Recommendations are welcome! Send Richard Rosenow your recommendations and we'll add to the list.