Elements of Statistical Learning (ESL) is a book that has fantastic breadth and depth. It covers the essentials to the very modern methods by citing the papers where these original studies come about. However, I really find the language of the book very very prohibitive. I believe there is an easier way to discuss concepts. I find ESL simply too overwhelming. Can someone suggest alternatives that are friendlier to the uninitiated?
I found the sibling to ESL: Introduction to Statistical Learning. That is tone I want to read and understand. It is accommodating, without dumbing things down. Any thing similar to Intro to SL?