The Little SAS Book: A Primer, Sixth Edition Reviews

The Little SAS Book is a collection of selected SAS knowledge for both beginners and veterans. Therefore, it is brief but not simple. The biggest change in the sixth edition is not what was added, but what was removed. I think this explains why after so many editions released, people love to read it. I believe you will love this new edition, as I do.

Hongqiu Gu, PhD
Department of Statistics
China National Clinical Research Center for Neurological Diseases.

You can bet that the one book all SAS users – new or experienced - have on their shelves is The Little SAS Book, affectionately known as LSB. The Little SAS Book is the swiss army knife of SAS books. Unfamiliar with a topic? LSB can get you started with accessible explanations. Need more detail on something you have some experience with? LSB contains helpful examples and information about exceptions and special cases. My personal favorite? A 25-page index so you can find things!

What if you have a previous edition of LSB? Almost every section in the new edition has been changed in some way. Notable additions and updates include:

  • SAS programmers have more interface choices than ever before. This edition is for all SAS programmers whether you use SAS Studio, SAS Enterprise Guide, the SAS windowing environment, or run in batch. Every example notes any differences in each SAS interface. For example, the LISTING destination behaves differently in different interfaces. Also, the different rules for variable names in Display Manager, Enterprise Guide, and SAS Studio are covered.
  • There are four new sections about PROC SQL providing an introduction for those who don't know any SQL, and showing those who already know SQL how to leverage that knowledge in SAS.
  • There are new sections on reading and writing Microsoft Excel files, including the XLSX LIBNAME engine and the ODS EXCEL destination.

If you don’t have the Little SAS Book yet or own a previous edition, you will be glad you added the 6th edition to your resources.

Andra Northup
SAS Consultant
Communications Coordinator WUSS (Western Users of SAS Software)

If I had my wish, Lora Delwiche and Susan Slaughter’s office would be next to mine.  I’d be friends with them and be able to ask them SAS questions whenever the need arose.  Well, we can’t all have them as co-workers, so the next best thing is to have a copy of their book The Little SAS Book: A Primer nearby.  I first discovered the wealth of knowledge the book has way back in 2012, when I bought it on the recommendation of a friend, at the Northeastern SAS User Group conference.  The fact this book is now in its 6th edition is a true testament to the writing style, ease of use, and usefulness of its contents.

Covering everything from initial setup of the data libraries to more complex topics like key statistical procedures and debugging your code, Delwiche and Slaughter are able to present the information in manageable, “bite sized” and easily accessible sections.  Having the ability to quickly find the answer to a question, or to read the entire book over the course of a weekend, makes this an invaluable resource for any SAS user.

Chris Battiston
Research Data Analyst
Women’s College Hospital

Now with over 350 pages, the sixth edition of The Little SAS Book is still valuable today. The book contains essential topics including Base SAS, Excel files, ODS, basic statistics, macros, and graphs.

The book’s basic examples show a solid foundation of the SAS procedures as well as new SAS version options to save programmers time.  Often programmers continue to apply old methods, outdated syntax, or create customized code when a new option or SAS procedure does the similar task.

The text explanations from Susan and Lora are ideal for self-study learning SAS.  The line by line descriptions are effective to understand the impact of each SAS statement.  The bottom line is that The Little SAS Book is still ideal for beginner and experienced level SAS programmers.  SAS beginners can jump start their SAS knowledge and experienced SAS programmers can leverage their understanding to new options and SAS procedures.

Sunil Gupta
Executive Director Data Sciences

If you want to buy just one book to learn the basics of SAS, buy The Little SAS Book. It is subtitled “A Primer,” but this new edition added “a programming approach” to it. That nicely represents the development of The Little SAS Book over the editions.

The presentation of the ins and outs of the SAS language is simple. Then follows what statements to use and how to use them to achieve the goal in the topic, and finally one or two examples to illustrate the method and result.

To squeeze a bookshelf full of SAS documentation into just over 300 pages is a big feat, but it also requires to be selective: what are commonly used features to be included and what to leave out. Any selection is open for debate. In my opinion, Lora and Susan managed to make mostly the right choices. 

Erik W. Tilanus
Principal of Synchrona Consultancy, the Netherlands
SAS user/trainer/author since 1980