I ran across a Slashdot reference to a book called A Complete Guide to Pivot Tables over at at J-Walk’s blog. This looks like a book I’d want to keep around. I’m an absolute freak for pivot tables. I think I use them more than any other feature in Excel. Like most of the posters at J-Walk‘s and at Slashdot (is it just me, or are Slashdot threads nearly unintelligible?), it took me a little time to figure out how to use them (years ago), but man, once you’ve got ’em dialed, they’re invaluable. I can’t even count how many people I’ve turned on to pivot tables.
The utility of pivot tables is difficult to explain, but the basic idea is that it takes a whole mess of data in an Excel sheet and makes it into something you can understand. And a bag of chips.