Actionable Web Analytics, a book that means to be a primer on the topic for an individual who has been tasked with setting up an analytics operation in a corporate environment. It's possibly a worthwhile read for someone who's wholly inexperienced with the topic, as it merely grazes the surface of the topics in which a practitioner should be well-versed, but at the same time contains some very poor and misleading information.
The basic approach of the book is sound: that measurements and metrics pertaining to the behavior of Web site visitors should not be collected just because they can be collected - and that may of the commercial software packages perform an astounding number of utterly useless calculations, which produce intimidating reports full of statistics that are of absolutely no use to anyone.
Instead, some rationale is required to consider the wealth of data that is available, and identify the analyses that provide useful information - data that can be used to drive business decisions that will have a meaningful impact. And once collected and analyzed, the site operator should be willing to invest in taking action as a response.
But beyond this basic message, the book falls short of being a useful guide to the practitioner, in that it provides scant actionable detail aside of a few hypothetical examples. The reader is left to consider his organization, and the site it operates, to determine with little guidance what data he needs, how he might gather it, and how he might take action on the resulting analysis. It's not a good reference for anyone with even a few months' experience in the field - much of what is said is probably quite obvious.
Neither could it be a book that could be recommended to an executive for insight on how he might better leverage the analytics department within his organization. The basic level of detail might make it seem so, but the overt posturing and the attempt to claim for the Web analyst a high degree of control within an organization would likely cause an outsider to take a dim view of the profession, and mistrust analytics as merely a numbers-game that is rigged to serve the interests of the analysts.
Aside of that, there are a few particularly awful sections, where the author delves into ancillary topics in a superficial and often haphazard manner which is laughable to anyone who recognizes the inherent flaws, and dangerous to anyone who takes the information at face value. It's so much filler content that skims the surface of topics that merit much closer inspection from a more knowledgeable source.
And so, this book is to be approached, if at all, much in the same way it advises approaching the data that can be gathered from a Web site: with a suspicious and discerning eye, to pick through the meaningless and misleading data to find the few pieces of useful information that are to be had.