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The Ballad of Ken Puls, DAX Convert

PowerPivot Book Acknowledgements

No mention of Ken Puls – The Person Who Inspired the Book in the First Place
(In Author Circles, I’m Told This is Called a “Mistake.”)

Omissions:  the one thing you can never omit

I’ve been doing this blog since late 2009, back when I was still at Microsoft.  I started doing PowerPivot training in 2010.  And starting that same year, I began getting suggestions/requests to write a book.

I largely ignored those suggestions.  Books are a lot of work (more than I even knew!), I was very busy, I didn’t think of myself as a book author, and really, I didn’t think a book was needed.  I kinda figured “if *I* understand this stuff, everyone else does too.”

That changed on December 15, 2011.  I had sent an email to my fellow Excel MVP’s titled “The Excel Army Manifesto,” in which I outlined my opinion that we are on the verge of a revolution – one that dictates an explosion of the importance of Excel Pros.

Ken Puls replied and said:

“I firmly believe that PowerPivot is the future of Excel.  No question in my mind.  It’s insanely easy to get some killer BI in your hands with very little learning, which is awesome.  But…  What I don’t get is DAX.  The light just isn’t going on for me.  If you want to mobilize the Excel Pro army to really make this take off, DAX needs to become accessible for us.”

This was a light bulb moment for me.  Ken laying it all out there like that made it perfectly clear, because Ken is a monster.  When I was on the Excel team and he visited as an MVP, I don’t have a problem admitting that Ken’s knowledge (and blunt honesty) was intimidating.  He can make Excel do incredibly complex things – things I could not and still cannot do.  And here he was saying he just didn’t get PowerPivot formulas, despite sincere attempts.

I knew in my heart that DAX is actually quite…  simple.  DAX is a LOT simpler than many of the things Ken does in Excel.  I knew that what he was missing was actually something simple yet non-obvious.  If I could just fill in that small little gap, he’d be off and running.

DAX:  It’s the little differences

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More Book Reviews, Back in Top 100 Software, eBook Price Now $9.99, and other fun book stuff

My Powerivot Book:  Back into the top 100 for all Software Books, This Time With NO Dirty Tricks!

Back into the top 100 for all Software Books, This Time With NO Clever Tricks!
(Screenshot taken today, 12/4/2012, Around 2:30 PM US Eastern)

First of all, how cool is that?  Back into the top 100 Software books on Amazon, which hasn’t happened since the flash mob pre-order shenanigans we pulled.  This time, it’s organic.  That’s hot!

It’s all thanks to the reviews!

OK, so the book gets printed, and it goes on Amazon.  The pre-order wave ships, but after that, what happens?  There’s no assurance it will continue to sell, at all.  How does it get continued interest?

By word of mouth.  That’s it.  The only way a book like this continues to sell is via people saying nice things about it in public.  And there have been some very nice people saying very nice things.

A sampling of some of the recent reviews, with hyperlinks to the full version after each:

My book came in yesterday’s mail, and I spent a couple of hours looking through it last night. This morning I started changing the way I’m doing things in PowerPivot.

I have the two other best-selling PowerPivot books, but this is by FAR the best! It’s clearly written, and has lots of screen captures that are large enough so that you can actually read the text they contain.

Read the Rest

Siraj Samsudeen reviews the book

Awhile back I said that if you wanted to review the book but didn’t have a place to publish it, you could send it to me and I’d publish it here.

Siraj Samsudeen is the first person to take me up on that.  I really like his story – an independent consultant in Switzerland, the banking center of the universe and home to the World Bank, but he’s also lived and worked in Dubai and India.  By contract, I’ve only worked in two different states, heh heh.

So yeah, he’s just your average globetrotting Excel Pro consulting to (likely super-secretive and powerful) banking organizations in Geneva.  You know, the usual. Smile

Oh, and he’s already convinced me that I chose a bad title for the book.  Lesson learned Smile

Take it away Siraj…

Impressive Insights Hiding Under an Unappealing Title

Last week, I bought Rob Collie’s DAX formulas for PowerPivot after a bit of hesitation. Just then, I had finished reading ‘PowerPivot for the Data Analyst’ by Bill Jelen and wanted to pick up a book that would help me to take my understanding of PowerPivot to the next level. I have come across Rob’s blog a few times before and I liked what I saw there, but the title sounded like a book that just lists all the formulae in DAX and talk about when to use what – something like a book for techies who need an extensive formula reference. But it was [link removed due to 404] the review of the book by Dan English that made me take the plunge.

Boy! What a surprise I was in for.

Read the Rest

Book Update: Barnes and Noble Sold Out, Amazon Claims to Have Them In Stock

Last week I posted to let everyone know that had the book in stock with reasonable international shipping.

Looks like they are sold out now, however, since the only copies available are from 3rd parties and they are VERY expensive:


Only “Marketplace” Sellers Still Have the Book on
Barnes and Noble, and They Are Severely Price-Gouging
(For the Record, I Have NO Control Over Pricing on B&N or Amazon)

So it looks like you folks bought all of Barnes and Noble’s copies Smile

Amazon Looks Better Now Though

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Dan English Reviews my PowerPivot Book

Book Review: DAX FORMULAS for PowerPivot: The Excel Pro’s Guide to Mastering DAX

Dan English is, I believe, the first person to publicly review my PowerPivot book. And since I’m linking to it here, you can imagine he said nice things Smile.

Dan is a full-fledged BI Pro so it’s flattering that he took the time to read something written by an Excel guy like me.

Read Dan’s Review Here [link removed due to 404]

The review is a quick read but here’s the last paragraph:

Read the Rest

Wahoo! PowerPivot Book Now Available at, Today’s Orders Ship Tomorrow (Saturday), Plus Instant Access to Electronic Version

***UPDATE:  If you live outside the USA, don’t bother ordering the print book from – the shipping is $135 Smile

That’s a legit price from FedEx.  I had no idea folks.  Doesn’t make much sense to even list it as an option really.

So if you live outside the US, buy the eBook from MrExcel or go to Amazon I guess.

Print Version Ships Now, eBook Available Instantly

MrExcel Will Ship it Tomorrow, and You Can Have the eBook Today!

I’m pretty pumped, as the wait (and work) is over and I finally get to hear what everyone thinks of it.  You can have the eBook version from MrExcel right now, literally this instant if you want.

Here, let’s run through your options for getting the book at this point (updated Saturday, Nov 10th):

PowerPivot Book Ordering Options

Click here to order PRINT version from

Click here to order eBook version from

Click here to order from

Why Do I Get Free Stuff From MrExcel?

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