10 Best SQL Books You Need to Read in 2022

By | November 14, 2021
Best SQL Books

Structured Query Language (SQL) is the standard query language for relational databases. Developed by Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce at IBM, SQL is used to access, retrieve, manipulate, and manage records in relational databases. With databases being the backbone of many businesses and companies, learning SQL will help you pursue a successful career.

Through this article, we will help you understand what SQL is and the need for learning SQL. Also, we will introduce you to the top SQL books that both beginners and professionals can read to master SQL.


So, without further ado, let’s get started.

What is SQL?

SQL stands for Structured Query Language, and it is the standard language for working with relational database management systems (RDBMS). Some popular RDBMS are Oracle, SQL Server, MS Access, Sybase, MySQL, and Postgres. Earlier, SQL was referred to as Structured English Query Language (SEQUEL).

With SQL, you can access data stored in relational databases and perform operations on that data. Following are some key actions that you can perform by using SQL:

  • Creating new databases.
  • Executing different queries against a database.
  • Creating tables in a database.
  • Inserting records or data in a database’s table.
  • Deleting records from a table.
  • Creating stored procedures and views in a database.
  • Updating the existing data in a database.

SQL is based on a tuple of relational calculus and relational algebra. It consists of four different kinds of statements, that are informally called sublanguages and are as follows:

1. Data Manipulation Language (DML)

The language or commands allowing users to insert, delete, or update data stored in a database is called data manipulation language. The three DML commands are INSERT, DELETE, and UPDATE.

2. Data Definition Language (DDL)

This language helps to generate the schema or structure of a database. There are four DDL commands: CREATE, DROP, ALTER, and TRUNCATE.

3. Data Query Language (DQL)

The DQL command enables users to retrieve data from a database. SELECT is the only DQL command.

4. Data Control Language (DCL)

Commands used to grant or revoke access rights or permission are referred to as DCL commands. The two DCL commands are GRANT and REVOKE.

Why Learn SQL?

Today, from small-scale online stores to large enterprises, every business utilizes data to carry out its activities. International companies, like Amazon and Facebook, use SQL to manage and store their data in a database. Therefore, these organizations demand an administrator that can handle their databases effectively and efficiently.

Databases have become the backbone of many IT and non-IT companies, and the standard language to communicate with RDBMS is Structured Query Language (SQL). With the rising demand for database administration professionals, working as an SQL developer is incredibly beneficial.

Besides being an SQL developer, you can get many other job roles, such as data scientist, business analyst, software engineer, quality assurance tester, researcher/educator, etc., with the help of SQL skills.

10 Best SQL Books for Beginners and Professionals

Below is the list of our handpicked SQL books that can assist you in developing your SQL skills.

1. SQL – 2 Books in 1: Beginner’s Guide & 7-Day Crash Course

SQL – 2 Books in 1: Beginner’s Guide & 7-Day Crash Course is a perfect source to learn SQL from scratch in less time. It is specially developed for novices to SQL. This book teaches you how to generate SQL queries and also highlights the benefits and significance of SQL in developing end-to-end projects.

John Russel is the author of this book and he has incorporated small and simple exercises to help you understand SQL concepts effectively.

In addition, this book discusses the following topics:

  • Efficient techniques to learn SQL in just 7 days.
  • Importance of SQL in today’s market.
  • Eight different ways of utilizing SQL.
  • An efficient technique to create the first database for neophytes.
  • Detailed instructions on downloading and installing Oracle and MySQL on a desktop.
  • The finest approaches to ensure data security in a database.
  • A comprehensive guide and proven strategies to develop SQL programs in just 7 days.

It is a 256-page long book available in Kindle and Paperback formats. The book’s author, John Russel, has published this book independently.

You can buy this book from here.

2. Head First SQL

Head First SQL is an interactive and informative book for learners to develop SQL skills. This book is for those who have a basic understanding and practice of writing simple SQL queries and wish to explore more about databases.

The author of Head First SQL is Lynn Beighley and he has described the basics of SQL in the initial parts of the book. Later, he introduces you to the most fundamental INSERT and SELECT queries and then moves to advanced-level topics, like transactions, indices, and joins in databases.

This book also helps you understand how to have great control over data stored in a database. After reading this book, you will be able to query, join, and normalize data in a database like an expert.

It is a 607-page long book and you can read it in Kindle and Paperback formats. O’Reilly is the publisher of this book.

You can buy this book from here.

3. SQL Practice Problem

This SQL book is ideal for experienced developers who have experience developing SQL queries using SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and SELECT commands. Alternatively, this book serves as a refresher for those who know SQL basics and wish to challenge themselves with advanced SQL problems.

Sylvia Moestl Vasilik is the author of this book, and he included 57 beginning, intermediate, and advanced level challenges to help you test your knowledge of SQL. Moreover, you learn SQL through a ‘learn-by-doing’ approach using this book.

This SQL book offers:

  • An introduction to setting up Microsoft Server Management Studio and Microsoft SQL Server Express Edition.
  • 57 practice problems with targeted hints.
  • A short discussion section, questions and answers, and effective programming tips.

It is a 127-page book, and you can purchase it in Paperback and Kindle formats. Createspace Independent Pub is the publisher of this book.

You can buy this book from here.

4. Oracle PL/SQL Programming

As its name suggests, Oracle PL/SQL Programming includes all PL/SQL concepts in detail. In addition, it primarily focuses on the functionalities and capabilities of PL/SQL. Before reading this book, one must have strong knowledge of scripting SQL queries. Also, this book is one of the finest guides by the Oracle community.

Bill Pribyl and Steven Feuerstein are the authors of Oracle PL/SQL Programming. They have penned down hundreds of code examples in this book. In addition, they included high-grade coding approaches and effective practices to solve problems.

This book helps you to understand:

  • Clear instructions for running, tracing, testing, debugging, and handling PL/SQL programs.
  • Brand-new functionalities of Oracle Database 12c Release 1.
  • Optimizing PL/SQL code’s performance by using features like function result cache.
  • Utilizing packages, functions, procedures, and triggers to develop easy-to-maintain PL/SQL applications.

It is a 1392-page long book and you can buy it in Paperback and Kindle formats. O’Reilly is the publisher of Oracle PL/SQL Programming.

You can buy this book from here.

5. Data Analysis Using SQL and Excel

Data Analysis Using SQL and Excel is a perfect guide for data analytics. This book describes the usage of SQL and Excel for carrying out data analysis. It includes not only basic SQL concepts but also data science topics.

Gordon S. Linoff is the author of Data Analysis Using SQL and Excel. The author has mentioned the fundamentals of SQL required for data mining and an introduction to Excel for presenting results.

After reading this book, you can:

  • Understand and leverage analytic approaches compatible with SQL and Excel.
  • Present data in Excel charts and analyze and interpret data in a table.
  • Utilize market basket analysis to comprehend the purchasing behavior.
  • Avoid typical pitfalls in data analysis.

It is an 800-page long book available in Paperback and Kindle editions. Wiley is the publisher of Data Analysis Using SQL and Excel.

You can buy this book from here.

6. SQL Cookbook

SQL Cookbook is an excellent guide for individuals who are aware of the basics of SQL, such as DDL, DML, DCL, and DQL commands. Also, it is among the best SQL books for beginners and intermediate-level learners.

The book primarily highlights the procedure for developing complex and intricate SQL queries. Moreover, it will help you learn how to prepare, manipulate, group, and report data stored in a database.

The author of this book, Anthony Molinaro, has penned down his favorite SQL features and queries.

SQL Cookbook will help you become familiar with:

  • Robust database-specific functionalities, like Oracle’s MODEL clause, GENERATE_SERIES function of PostgreSQL, and PIVOT and UNPIVOT operators of SQL Server.
  • The process for pivoting rows into columns, facilitating inter-row calculations using pivoting, reverse-pivoting columns into rows, and pivoting a result set twice.
  • Creation of histograms, generating running-totals and subtotals, summarizing data into buckets, and performing aggregations over the range of values.
  • Data warehouse techniques.
  • Using SQL to parse through the words, characters, or a string’s finite elements.

SQL Cookbook is a 540-page long book available only in Paperback format. O’Reilly is the publisher of this book.

You can buy this book from here.

7. SQL QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide

This book explains the fundamentals of SQL in a user-friendly and straightforward language. In addition, this book is one of the best sources to learn SQL.

This book is ideal for:

  • Job seekers wishing to hone their SQL skills and boost their resumes to land high-paying jobs.
  • Decision-makers, business owners, and managers looking forward to managing data-driven business insights.
  • Professional developers aiming to boost their skills and build up mastery in SQL.
  • Anyone wishing to shape their career in data-driven technology.

Walter Shields is the author of this book. You do not require any prior experience in coding to learn SQL from the book.

This book talks about:

  • A database’s fundamental structure.
  • The use of SQL to fetch and comprehend data stored in databases.
  • Complex and simple SQL queries
  • How to develop efficient SQL queries.

SQL QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide is a 256-page long book, and you can buy it in Kindle, Hardcover, and Paperback formats. Also, ClydeBank Media LLC is the publisher of this book.

You can buy this book from here.

8. Microsoft SQL Server 2016: A Beginner’s Guide

Microsoft SQL Server 2016: A Beginner’s Guide is one of the finest SQL books for beginners and intermediate-level learners. As its name indicates, this book introduces you to the fundamentals of relational database management systems (RDBMS).

The author of this book is Dusan Petkovic. He has introduced learners to developing Transact-SQL statements, managing system administration, and security, executing intricate and straightforward database queries, utilizing robust Business Intelligence tools, and performing a full-text search.

Additionally, the book also talks about XML, JSOM, and spatial data in detail. Microsoft SQL Server 2016: A Beginner’s Guide is a perfect self-study and classroom SQL textbook. It is an 896-page long book and is available in only Paperback format. McGraw Hill Education is the publisher of this book.

You can buy this book from here.

9. SQL for Data Analytics

SQL for Data Analytics is yet another comprehensive SQL book that is ideal for learners of all levels. This book is user-friendly and consists of numerous practical examples, helping you understand SQL concepts clearly. In addition, this book introduces you to various statistical approaches to analyze data and ways to carry out text and geospatial analysis.

Benjamin Johnston, Matt Goldwasser, and Upom Malik are the authors of SQL for Data Analytics. The book will help you learn how to identify trends and unlock in-depth insights for understanding data. Moreover, you will gain experience working with text data, geospatial data, and time-series data.

In addition, this book will help you get familiar with:

  • Using the WINDOW function to carry out advanced statistical calculations.
  • Preparing data for analysis by using SQL queries and subqueries.
  • Importing and exporting data via a text file and PL/SQL.
  • Enhancing the performance of SQL queries by optimizing them.
  • Analyzing unique SQL data types, such as time data and geospatial data.
  • Debugging SQL queries that do not run.

It is a 386-page long book, and you can buy it in Paperback and Kindle editions. Packt Publishing Limited is the publisher of SQL for Data Analytics.

You can buy this book from here.

10. SQL All-In-One For Dummies

This SQL book talks about the fine details of SQL and its real-world applications. It is an excellent guide for everyone, from database administrators to application programmers.

Allen G. Taylor is the author of this book and he has divided the book content into eight different sections. The first section deals with the fundamentals of SQL, whereas the second section introduces you to relational database development. In the third section, you will learn various concepts of SQL queries, and the fourth section defines data security.

Additionally, the author has described everything about SQL and Programming in the fifth section and SQL, XML, and JSON in the sixth section. Furthermore, the seventh section consists of an overview of database tuning, and the final section comprises a glossary and reversed words.

It is a 768-page long book, and you can buy it in Paperback and Kindle editions. For Dummies is the publisher of SQL All-In-One for Dummies.

You can buy this book from here.


All the SQL books mentioned above are good enough to help you develop or hone your SQL expertise. However, you may get confused about selecting the one according to your level of knowledge. If you are new to SQL, we recommend SQL Beginner’s Guide & 7-Day Crash Course, SQL All-In-One For Dummies, and Microsoft SQL Server 2016: A Beginner’s Guide as the ideal choices.

If you possess good knowledge of SQL but have little experience working with it, you can choose SQL Practice Problem or SQ Cookbook to hone your SQL skills. In addition, the book Oracle PL/SQL Programming will guide you in creating advanced-level SQL queries.

In addition, SQL QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide is ideal for anyone desiring to build a career in any data-driven technology. Finally, Head First SQL is recommended for those having a little practice in writing SQL queries.

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Author: Sameeksha Medewar

Sameeksha is a freelance content writer for more than half and a year. She has a hunger to explore and learn new things. She possesses a bachelor's degree in Computer Science.

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