The Elements of Statistical Learning Book Review

Uncover the power of data mining, inference, and prediction in 'The Elements of Statistical Learning' 2nd Edition. Get an expert book review here!

Alan Walker-

Published on 2023-06-15


"The Elements of Statistical Learning: Data Mining, Inference, and Prediction, Second Edition" is a highly acclaimed book that delves into the fascinating world of statistical learning. Authored by Trevor Hastie, Robert Tibshirani, and Jerome Friedman, this comprehensive guide is an invaluable resource for both beginners and experienced practitioners seeking a deep understanding of statistical learning and its applications.

Content and Coverage:

This book covers a wide range of topics, including data mining, inference, and prediction. The authors provide a comprehensive overview of both classical and modern statistical learning techniques, making it suitable for readers with varying levels of expertise. The concepts are explained in a clear and accessible manner, ensuring that even complex ideas are easily grasped.

Real-World Applications:

One of the standout features of this book is its emphasis on practicality. The authors present numerous real-world examples and case studies, enabling readers to apply the learned concepts to actual problems. By including these practical applications, the book bridges the gap between theory and practice, making it a valuable resource for professionals in various fields.

Clarity and Readability:

The writing style of "The Elements of Statistical Learning" is commendable. The authors have taken great care to ensure that complex ideas are explained in a straightforward manner, making it accessible to readers from diverse backgrounds. The logical flow of the content allows for a gradual progression of knowledge, building a solid foundation for statistical learning.

Feedback from Readers

This book has received an amazing rating of 1,133 and 299 reviews by the readers. Many appreciate its clarity, well-structured content, and the authors' ability to make complex concepts easily understandable. For example, a reader of this book says,

“This is a great book for graduate students interested in building a deeper theoretical understanding of machine learning. It has helped me go from blindly plugging in matrices to scikit learn to developing intuition about the models.”

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of this book according to the feedback from readers.


  1. This book is very comprehensive, sufficiently technical to get most of the plumbing behind machine learning.
  2. It is the best book for referencing as it is a complete reference book.
  3. The printing quality of this book is good, especially in PDF format.
  4. It is a content rich book but you need to have a basic understanding of calculus and probability.
  5. This book will help you to know in depth how machine learning algorithms work.
  6. This book is clear and concise and using it with the website lectures makes the learning easy.


According to the feedback, this book has some cons which are:

  1. This book is not for beginners. You must have a basic understanding of calculus and statistics to read this book.
  2. The binding of this book is terrible and the quality of the paperback of this book is not as good as the PDF format.
    1. There are some serious issues with the kindle version of the elements of statistical learning such as syntax format error, table error and latex equations errors.
    2. From the mathematics point of view it is a terse book. Most of the time important steps in proofs or explanations are skipped. 
    3. From the engineer point of view it has too much hand waving and fluff. The algorithms are presented poorly; steps are unclear paragraphs.

Value and Pricing:

This book is an investment worth considering for anyone interested in statistical learning. While the pricing may vary depending on the format chosen (hardcover, paperback, or eTextbook), the wealth of knowledge and practical insights it offers justifies the cost. The authors' expertise and the book's comprehensive coverage make it a valuable resource that can be referenced time and again.


"The Elements of Statistical Learning: Data Mining, Inference, and Prediction, Second Edition" is a must-have for anyone looking to expand their understanding of statistical learning. With its comprehensive coverage, practical examples, and accessible writing style, it serves as an indispensable guide for beginners and a valuable reference for experienced practitioners. Whether you're a student, researcher, or professional, this book will undoubtedly enhance your statistical learning journey.

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