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Excel with SQL- 7 Best SQL Books You Must Read


"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." – Benjamin Franklin

Take Your SQL to the Next Level with these Must-Have SQL Books

Structured Query Language or SQL has been around for years and it’s still the most popular and widely used query language designed and used to communicate with databases. That’s also because SQL is simple and uses few words which makes the language minimal, and that credits to its longevity. Developed by IBM in the early 1970s, its ability to implement queries such as delete, retrieve, insert, and update has been groundbreaking and also highly influential to future technologies like APIs and CRUD (create, read, update, and delete).

 Many of our students and readers keep asking what SQL books they should read to develop their skills. This is also a great way to extend the knowledge you gained in online courses here at JanBask Training. So, here are our top picks for the SQL-related books you should read in 2023.

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Why Read SQL Books?

Is it possible to be a professional SQL developer or a data engineer without reading books? Yes, certainly but the more important question is that why wouldn’t you use the additional source of knowledge that could enhance your understanding of the language and teach you many more things about it?

 SQL, undoubtedly, is a practical skill and you need practice to master it, which means writing SQL queries. But to have something to practice, it’s essential you learn theory first.Your primary source of SQL knowledge should definitely be a good online interactive SQl course.

If you’re interested in learning SQL or would like to learn and upskill yourself, sign up for SQL Server Training and Certification Course.  This course helps you understand the real-time working of the SQL language and how it is applied in different industries and roles. It also teaches you the advanced concepts of Microsoft SQL including SQL Server Programming, Power BI and SQL’s use with custom applications.

Why Learn SQL?

Why Learn SQL

SQL is one of the most essential skills for programmers and almost an indispensable skill set for IT professionals, software engineers, data scientists, business analysts, etc. Since most enterprise applications use the relational database at their backend, like Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, it's crucial to learn SQL to work with those applications and use the data stored on those particular databases. Here are a few reasons you may be interested in learning SQL:

  1. To become a data analyst – Data analysts use SQL to find trends, draw inferences, and report insights about the information they contain.
  2. To better your job opportunities- The job market for data analysts and developers is fast growing. The world continues to use and store more data and we continue to need more people to manage and organize it.
  3. Become indispensable - Unlike other skills that may be a trend now and may not be relevant, SQL would never go out of vogue. Once you learn SQL, you can apply the principles you learn for the rest of your professional career.

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What Makes the Best SQL Books Best?

When looking for the best SQL books, you should have a criteria to evaluate them because the internet is replete with information and you may get swayed by numerous options out there.

We recommend that the books for SQL should be:

  • Well-structured, clear, and should have a logical progression of topics from start to finish.
  • Friendly for self-taught programmers and should have a clear and defined layout
  • Easy to comprehend, lucid and concise
  • Having pertinent examples, contain exercises and practice problems to solve for hands-on experience
  • Able to hold attention of the readers and should be engaging
  • Fun and should be conversational for a better learning experience

For the top SQL books, we have done the research for you, following which we have curated a list of top books that can be recognized by industry experts, practitioners and subject matter experts spanning the depth of database programming and are sure to add value to your existing knowledge of SQL.

How Can I Choose the Best Books for SQL Developers?

SQl developers can choose the best SQL books depending on budget, experience level, and finally earning goals. However, it is equally important to take into consideration the author’s expertise, mastery and the overall topics covered in the book. Let’s find out what you should consider while selecting the best SQL books that’ll suit your requirements and level of understanding.

  • Create a budget and stick to it. See what you can afford and zero in on a budget before you shop.
  • Be clear on your learning goal. You should know if you want to master basic commands or cultivate an advanced understanding of topics? Or if you are looking out for a handy reference to rely on while you’re working. You should be sure what you want to gain from your book resource.
  • To start with, research SQL books for your level. You should know if you need a book for beginners, then look up for SQL books for beginners. On the other hand, if you are an experienced developer looking for something that’ll  address the advanced challenges you experience at work? Your place in your learning journey is definitely a key factor.
  • Know your author. Search for authors in the SQL field and thoroughly research their work. Reputed names are great for ensuring valuable information. Reading reviews can also help you find an author with a good easy-to-comprehend writing style.
  • Weigh all your options. From your extensive research, find books that share the fundamental concepts you want to learn and then compare them. Lots of books cover pretty much the same topics, but by keeping this checklist in mind you can find the best learning resource for your personal learning level and needs. 

Top SQL Books

Each of these hand-picked books for SQL developers. They are different from each other and yet an invaluable resource to enhance your knowledge and skill set. If you’re looking to get a good grip on the fundamentals of Structured Query Language and its functionality in real-world context, these are the resources you must have.

1. “Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes” By Ben Forta

Ben Forta

This book is like a holy-grail and is also a best-seller SQL book for beginners, including  Ben Forta’s best-selling SQL guide book, “Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes.”  It is a must read for beginners. Ben Forta is an expert trainer and a famous author, and his book is perhaps the best way to learn SQL from scratch. This book also caters to the database analyst (DBAs), which many other books don’t have. “Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes.” teaches you the beginning with simple data retrieval, going all the way to SQL joins, subqueries, stored procedures, cursors, triggers and table constraints.

The best part is you learn SQL in a very methodical, systematic, and simple way – in 22 short, quick lessons. Each lesson takes only 10 minutes or even less to finish. Make sure to check out this book and include it in your library. 

It guides and teaches you to:

  • Use SQL statements
  • Change and create database tables
  • Retrieve, sort, and format data
  • Insert, update, and delete data
  • Use multiple clauses and operators
  • Use filter techniques
  • Summarize data with aggregate functions
  • Use join operators
  • Use views

*This book is 256 pages long.

2. Learning SQL

 Learning SQL

Learning SQL: Generate, Manipulate, and Retrieve Data by Alan Beaulieu is a March 2020 release.

It guides and teaches how to:

  • Learn  SQL basics and advanced topics
  • Key concepts and the book illustrates them with well-explained diagrams and pertinent examples
  • Learn to move through basics, create database objects and use data statements
  • Understand how exactly database works with queries and
  • Manipulate data with functions and logics

*The book is nearly 400 pages long.

3. Practical SQL

Practical SQL

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

Best Book for Hands-On Learning, Practical SQL is for people who deal with data in their everyday lives and want to understand and learn how to analyze and transform it. The USP of this book is that it is written in an easy, conversational and friendly style. This book is best for people who want to learn data analysis and want to make a career in it. This book is replete with real-world examples and applications. A complete hands-on book, it guides you every step of the way to:

  • Create tables and databases
  • Define data types and spot errors in data
  • Import and export data
  • Filter, sort and aggregate data
  •  Use arithmetic functionalities
  • Create advanced queries
  • Automate tasks

*The book is 392 pages long.

4. SQL for Data Analytics

SQL for Data Analytics: Perform Fast and Efficient Data Analysis with the Power of SQL by Upon Malic, Matt Goldwasser, and more authors.

The best books for anyone wanting to be a Data Analyst, it covers everything you need to from simply knowing basic SQL to identifying data trends. The USP of this book is how simply it’s written. Its lucid and clean style teaches you to think like a data analyst and write SQL queries using diagrams and relevant examples. This book guides and teaches you to:

  • Write SQL queries and subqueries
  • Analyze simple and complex data with statistics
  • Import and export data
  • Use special SQL functions
  • Use SQL pipelines with other technologies for analytics
  • Use advanced analytic technique like geospatial (used to add timing and location to traditional types of data and to build data visualizations, that include maps, graphs, statistics and text analysis)

*The book is 386 pages.

5. SQL Queries For Mere Mortals

SQL Queries For Mere Mortals

SQL Queries For Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Data Manipulation in SQL by John Viescas

An enormous but one of the most highly referred to, respected and best SQL books in programming. It’s a must-have for people who want to ace SQL. “Mere Mortals” -the title of the book refers to its target audience, who wants to learn database systems (one that supports SQL) in the best, most simplest and effective way. SQL professionals, who want to solve any problem using SQL, this is undoubtedly your go-to book. This book guides and teaches you to:

  •  Use the very basics like SQL SELECT statements, sorting, and expressions
  • Master relational databases and sound database structure
  • Group data with clauses
  • Group data with join operators
  • Modify data sets with statements
  • Use advanced queries and grouping keywords
  • Use window functions

*This book is 960 pages

6. SQL QuickStart Guide

 SQL QuickStart Guide

 SQL QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide to Managing, Analyzing, Manipulating Data with SQL by Walter Shields.

This is one book  that has a simple, practical and hands-on approach to SQL. It teaches you the nuts and bolts of SQL without scrimping on the content. The USP of this book is that it is designed for our already busy lives and is an invaluable resource for people who have a basic know-how or even advanced understanding of SQL. Packed with diagrams and examples, it is a basic tool kit you can refer to when you need it the most, which makes it a great SQL reference book. It is a self-published book, because of which the writing can come across as verbose sometimes. Oh!Did we mention, it's also one of the most affordable books. The book teaches you to:

  • ABCs of database structure
  • Turn data into information
  • Work with multiple tables
  • Use functions
  • Use subqueries and views

7. Learn SQL Database Programming:

 Learn SQL Database Programming: Query and manipulate databases from popular database servers using SQL by Josephine Bush.

One of the best SQL books for academics, it is designed for students, SQL developers, business analysts, database administrators. It is an ideal book if you want to learn how to manipulate and query SQL data for database administration tasks. You may also find this book highly useful if you want to learn to simply extract and organize relevant data for analysis. The USP of this book is how well it is structured. Every term is aptly and clearly defined. It's not overtly verbose, it is often used in college classrooms. The book guides and teaches you to:

  • Understand data types
  • Import and export data
  • Modify data and table structures
  • Group and summarize data
  • Work with expressions
  • Explore and process data
  • Query single and multiple tables
  • Incorporate best practices for designing and querying

*The book is 564 pages long.

 Now start reading!

Wrapping Up with More ways to learn SQL

You can learn basic and advanced SQL from more than just books. Alongside books, learning  through interactive courses, videos and getting industry understanding from experts can help you a great deal. If you want to become a full-fledged SQL pro, SQL courses, with power BI, SQL server programming, and hands-on learning is the way to go. SQL courses at JanBask Training are designed both for beginners and for people who want to learn advanced SQL. The SQL courses at JanBask Training prepare you for different roles in different industries, such as,  aerospace, defende, education, financial services, healthcare, etc.  If you’re looking to shape your career in a dynamic and ever-expanding field of SQL, take a look as to why SQL is and will always be in demand and trending.

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Q1. Can I learn SQL from a book?

Ans. Yes, like learning any other subject, books are a great repository and a source of knowledge. Books help you to understand the concepts in detail and you can refer to them whenever you want guidance. However, hands-on learning and being coached by experts is very important too and good courses can provide that.

Q2. Is SQL a good career choice?

Ans. SQL developers are in high demand because of the expanding dependence on data and information. A career in SQL offers high salaries, contact with the latest technologies, and promising career opportunities.

Q3. What are the easiest books to learn SQL?

Ans. There are many easy and simple SQL books. Apart from the mentioned above, let’s name some more for you.

  • SQL Fundamentals — Dataquest
  • SQL Quickstart Guide- The Simplified Beginner’s Guide to SQL
  • SQL for Dummies
  • Simply SQL
  • SQL for Beginners

Q4. What is good, SQL Books or SQL course?

Ans. Books are definitely the foundation and courses are a great addition to them. Coaching through courses is a great way to interact with teachers, find questions to your answers and also learn real-life applications from them. If you’re interested in making a career in SQL, but not able to make up your mind, schedule a demo class and see decide for yourself. Finally, a combination of books plus courses will fetch you great job opportunities and a good salary package as well.

Q5. What is the best book for practicing SQL?

Ans. Again, there are many. One of them is Anthony Molinaro’s “SQL Cookbook”. Every page in the book has a practical problem and a breakdown of how to solve it.

Q6. Where do I learn SQL?

Ans. There are a few good training portals offering courses on SQL but JanBask Training’s SQL course is by far the best. Focused on industry-need,  it teaches and prepares you like an SQL pro.                                                                                      

Q7. What is a good book for learning advanced SQL as a beginner?

Ans. You can start with:

1.  SQL: The Ultimate Beginners Guide

If you’ve mastered the fundamentals of SQL then you can check out these 5 best books which help you to become a pro in SQL!

  • SQL Cookbook: Query Solutions and Techniques for Database Developers.
  • SQL: The Ultimate Guide From Beginner To Expert
  • SQL For Smarties, Fifth Edition: Advanced SQL Programming
  • The Art of SQL
  • SQL Queries for Mere Mortals

Q8. What are some of the easiest ways to learn SQL?

Ans. You can learn SQL through books to start with but practicing it is what will take you a long way in your career. Signing up for a professional SQL course is the first step in that direction. Nothing can substitute guidance by experts. They help you with the basics of SQL all the way to the advanced. JanBask Training is a great platform that provides great academic, and practical training and support right from start to finish.

Q9. Which is the best book suggested to learn SQL for analytics?

Ans. Itzhik Ben Gaan’s book had a good section on analytical/window functions.

Q10. Which is a quick handy book to learn SQL?

Ans. Again, there are many but “High Performance SQL Server: The Go Faster Book “is a good one.

Q11. What are the best cyber security books?

Ans. We have carefully crafted this list of interesting books on Cyber Security. You can find out the complete list here.


    Puja Bhardwaj

    This is Puja Bhardwaj, a creative writer, and content strategist. I’m passionate about storytelling through written and visual content, and market that content for cultivating a committed audience. I come to the table with 5 years of content writing and marketing experience (in the agency, in-house, and freelance writing).


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