When I began writing this book, I spent quite a bit of time searching for a good
quote to start things off. I ended up with two. R is a wonderfully flexible platform
and language for exploring, visualizing, and understanding data. I chose the quote
from Alice in Wonderland to capture the flavor of statistical analysis today—an interactive
process of exploration, visualization, and interpretation.
The second quote reflects the generally held notion that R is difficult to learn.
What I hope to show you is that is doesn’t have to be. R is broad and powerful, with so
many analytic and graphic functions available (more than 50,000 at last count) that
it easily intimidates both novice and experienced users alike. But there is rhyme and
reason to the apparent madness. With guidelines and instructions, you can navigate
the tremendous resources available, selecting the tools you need to accomplish your
work with style, elegance, efficiency—and more than a little coolness.