The 11 Best SQL Books for 2021 Based on Real User Reviews

The Best SQL Books

Our editors have compiled this directory of the best SQL books based on Amazon user reviews, rating, and ability to add business value.

SR Finds 106There are loads of free resources available online (such as Solutions Review’s Data Management Software Buyer‘s Guide, Vendor Comparison Map, and best practices section) and those are great, but sometimes it’s best to do things the old-fashioned way. There are few resources that can match the in-depth, comprehensive detail of one of the best SQL books.

The editors at Solutions Review have done much of the work for you, curating this directory of the best SQL books on Amazon. Titles have been selected based on the total number and quality of reader user reviews and ability to add business value. Each of the books listed in this compilation have met a minimum criteria of 150 reviews and a 4-star-or-better ranking.

Below you will find a short list of titles from recognized industry analysts, experienced practitioners, and subject matter experts spanning the depths of database programming all the way to understanding the different options when it comes to evaluating nonrelational database products. This compilation includes publications for practitioners of all skill levels.

The Best SQL Books

SQL QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide to Managing, Analyzing, and Manipulating Data With SQL

OUR TAKE: The number-one best-seller in Amazon’s Microsoft Access Database Guides category, this title touts nearly 1,000 ratings and 4.5 stars. This book is ideal for professionals looking to augment their skills.

SQL QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner's Guide to Managing, Analyzing, and Manipulating Data With SQLSQL QuickStart Guide is ideal for those seeking to increase their job prospects and enhance their careers, for developers looking to expand their programming capabilities, or for anyone who wants to take advantage of our inevitably data-driven future—even with no prior coding experience. In this comprehensive guide, experienced mentor and SQL expert Walter Shields draws on his considerable knowledge to make the topic of relational database management accessible, easy to understand, and highly actionable.”

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SQL in 10 Minutes a Day

OUR TAKE: This popular title provides you with good working knowledge of SQL through straightforward, practical answers you need to do your job whether you are an application developer, database administrator or web application designer.

SQL in 10 Minutes a Day“Expert trainer and popular author Ben Forta teaches you just the parts of SQL you need to know–starting with simple data retrieval and quickly going on to more complex topics including the use of joins, subqueries, stored procedures, cursors, triggers, and table constraints. You’ll learn methodically, systematically, and simply–in 22 short, quick lessons that will each take only 10 minutes or less to complete. The book has been thoroughly updated, expanded, and improved to cover the latest versions.”

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SQL All-in-One For Dummies

OUR TAKE: The new edition of this perennial bestseller shows you how to use SQL to build relational databases and extract valuable information from them. It covers everything you need to know to begin working with SQL.

SQL All-in-One For Dummies“Updated for the latest version of SQL, the new edition of this perennial bestseller shows programmers and web developers how to use SQL to build relational databases and get valuable information from them. Covering everything you need to know to make working with SQL easier than ever, topics include how to use SQL to structure a DBMS and implement a database design; secure a database, and retrieve information from a database; and much more. As database-driven websites continue to grow in popularity―and complexity―SQL For Dummies is the easy-to-understand, go-to resource you need to use it seamlessly.”  

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SQL Practice Problems

OUR TAKE: This book provides setup instructions for Microsoft SQL Server Express Edition and SQL Server Management Studio, as well as a customized practice database with video walk-through on setting it up.

SQL Practice Problems“It’s easy to find basic SQL syntax information online. What’s hard to find is challenging, well-designed, real-world problems—the type of problems that come up when you’re dealing with data. Learning how to solve these problems will give you the skill and confidence to step up in your career. With SQL Practice Problems, you can get that level of experience by solving sets of targeted problems. These aren’t just problems designed as syntax examples. These are the most common problems you encounter when you deal with data.”

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SQL Cookbook: Query Solutions and Techniques for Database Developers

OUR TAKE: Written in O’Reilly’s popular Problem/Solution/Discussion style, this title helps you move quickly from problem to solution for a variety of SQL features like window functions, pivoting, bucketization, histogram generation, and walking a string.

SQL Cookbook: Query Solutions and Techniques for Database Developers“You know the rudiments of the SQL query language, yet you feel you aren’t taking full advantage of SQL’s expressive power. You’d like to learn how to do more work with SQL inside the database before pushing data across the network to your applications. You’d like to take your SQL skills to the next level. Let’s face it, SQL is a deceptively simple language to learn, and many database developers never go far beyond the simple statement: SELECT columns FROM table WHERE conditions.”

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Head First SQL: Your Brain on SQL

OUR TAKE: As part of Head First Books’ Brain-Friendly Guides Head First SQL touts a visually rich format designed to teach you in a way that you can easily understand. Other technology authors give this title excellent reviews.

Head First SQL: Your Brain on SQL“Maybe you’ve written some simple SQL queries to interact with databases. But now you want more, you want to really dig into those databases and work with your data. Head First SQL will show you the fundamentals of SQL and how to really take advantage of it. We’ll take you on a journey through the language, from basic INSERT statements and SELECT queries to hardcore database manipulation with indices, joins, and transactions. We all know “Data is Power” – but we’ll show you how to have “Power over your Data.”

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SQL Pocket Guide

OUR TAKE: The popular third edition of this O’Reilly title provides example SQL statements for executing against a set of tables with data that readers can quickly download. Verified buyers rank this title with an excellent 4.6 stars.

SQL Pocket Guide“If you’re a programmer or database administrator who uses SQL in your day-to-day work, this popular pocket guide is the ideal on-the-job reference. You’ll find many examples that address the language’s complexity, along with key aspects of SQL used in IBM DB2 Release 9.7, MySQL 5.1, Oracle Database 11g Release 2, PostgreSQL 9.0, and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Release 2. SQL Pocket Guide describes how these database systems implement SQL syntax for querying, managing transactions, and making changes to data.”

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Practical SQL: A Beginner’s Guide to Storytelling with Data

OUR TAKE: Practical SQL provides clear examples with an easy-to-follow approach to tach you the tools you need to build and manage databases. This book uses PostgreSQL, but the SQL syntax is applicable to many database applications, including Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL.

Practical SQL: A Beginner's Guide to Storytelling with DataPractical SQL is an approachable and fast-paced guide to SQL (Structured Query Language), the standard programming language for defining, organizing, and exploring data in relational databases. The book focuses on using SQL to find the story your data tells, with the popular open-source database PostgreSQL and the pgAdmin interface as its primary tools. You’ll first cover the fundamentals of databases and the SQL language, then build skills by analyzing data from the U.S. Census and other federal and state government agencies.”

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SQL Queries for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Data Manipulation

OUR TAKE: Featuring two brand new chapters, this title will show you how to perform complex calculations on groups for sophisticated reporting, as well as how to partition data into windows for a more flexible aggregation.

SQL Queries for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Data Manipulation“SQL Queries for Mere Mortals has earned worldwide praise as the clearest, simplest tutorial on writing effective queries with the latest SQL standards and database applications. Now, author John L. Viescas has updated this hands-on classic with even more advanced and valuable techniques. Step by step, Viescas guides you through creating reliable queries for virtually any current SQL-based database. He demystifies all aspects of SQL query writing, from simple data selection and filtering to joining multiple tables and modifying sets of data.”

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Learning SQL: Generate, Manipulate, and Retrieve Data

OUR TAKE: Learning SQL offers self-contained lessons on key SQL concepts or techniques at the end of each chapter using numerous illustrations and annotated examples. It also features exercises that let you practice the skills you learn.

Learning SQL: Generate, Manipulate, and Retrieve Data“As data floods into your company, you need to put it to work right away—and SQL is the best tool for the job. With the latest edition of this introductory guide, author Alan Beaulieu helps developers get up to speed with SQL fundamentals for writing database applications, performing administrative tasks, and generating reports. You’ll find new chapters on SQL and big data, analytic functions, and working with very large databases. Knowledge of SQL is a must for interacting with data.”

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SQL for Data Analytics

OUR TAKE: This book will help you use SQL in everyday business scenarios efficiently and look at data with the critical eye of an analytics professional. This title was written mainly for database engineers and analysts who want to improve their SQL analytics skills.

SQL for Data Analytics“Understanding and finding patterns in data has become one of the most important ways to improve business decisions. If you know the basics of SQL, but don’t know how to use it to gain the most effective business insights from data, this book is for you. SQL for Data Analytics helps you build the skills to move beyond basic SQL and instead learn to spot patterns and explain the logic hidden in data. You’ll discover how to explore and understand data by identifying trends and unlocking deeper insights.”

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