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Best SQL Books for Data Analysis

In the world of data analysis, SQL is a powerful tool. It's a language that helps professionals find, organize, and analyze the data stored in databases. If you're looking to learn this important skill, you've come to the right place. This article will guide you through the best SQL books for data analysis, whether you're just starting out or already have some experience.

SQL (Structured Query Language) is a standard language used for working with databases. It's a key skill for data analysts, as it allows them to find specific data, ask complex questions, and even manage databases. But where should you start your learning journey? Your best SQL book for data analysis will depend on your current knowledge level and how you prefer to learn.

If you're a complete beginner, you might be wondering where to start. One great starting point is the SQL Basics course on This interactive course is designed for beginners and covers everything from basic queries to more advanced topics.

Alongside that course, a good SQL book can provide additional insights and practice. Read on to discover some of the best SQL books for data analysis.

What Is SQL and Its Role in Data Analysis?

In the world of data analysis, the database language – SQL – holds a crucial role. Picture data analysts as detectives. Their mission is to sift through data, hunting for insights that can solve problems, answer questions, or guide decision-making. Just as a detective relies on their toolkit, a data analyst leans on SQL. It's their primary instrument for delving into data.

SQL is outstanding in its ability to allow data analysts to pose complex questions to the database. I’ll give you another example; imagine a vast library filled with books. Without a catalog or a librarian, locating the exact book you want would be a daunting task. SQL acts as both the catalog and the librarian for databases. It aids data analysts in pinpointing the precise pieces of data they need, even in a database teeming with millions or billions of entries.

But the power of this database language extends beyond just finding data. It also grants data analysts the ability to manipulate data, reorganizing it to reveal patterns or make it more comprehensible. With SQL, data analysts can construct new tables, combine data from different tables, or compute summary statistics. These capabilities render SQL a potent tool in the realm of data analysis.

According to a report by Fortune Business Insights, the global Big Data analytics market size was valued at 271.83 billion USD in 2022. This market is projected to grow significantly, indicating the increasing importance and demand for data analysis skills. As such, mastering SQL and data analysis is not just a valuable skill; it’s a strategic move to stay relevant in the rapidly evolving digital economy.

Best SQL Books for Data Analysis

Before we delve into the list, it's important to note that the SQL books mentioned here are not sponsored or part of any affiliate marketing program. The selections are made based on my personal understanding, recommendations from my peers, and reviews from professionals in the industry.

Whether you're a complete beginner or an experienced professional looking to upskill, books can be a great resource for learning SQL at your own pace. Here are some of the best SQL books for data analysis:

1. SQL for Data Analytics: Perform fast and efficient data analysis with the power of SQL

SQL for Data Analytics: Perform fast and efficient data analysis with the power of SQL

My first recommendation is an awesome book by Upom Malik, Matt Goldwasser, and Benjamin Johnston that aims to guide readers in exploring and understanding large relational datasets.

The book is designed for those who have a basic understanding of SQL but want to delve deeper into data analysis. It promises to help readers identify trends and unlock deeper insights from data, which are crucial skills in making informed business decisions.

However, the book's effectiveness may largely depend on the reader's prior knowledge of SQL, as it moves beyond the basics and into more complex data analysis techniques. My suggestion is to try it out after finishing our SQL Fundamentals track.

The guide covers a wide range of topics, from performing advanced statistical calculations using window functions to working with different types of data in SQL, including time-series, geospatial, and text data. It also provides guidance on how to optimize queries for faster results and debug queries that won't run.

The book includes a case study that uses SQL to summarize and identify patterns in data, providing readers with practical application of the concepts discussed. Overall, SQL for Data Analytics is a comprehensive guide for those looking to enhance their data analysis skills using SQL.

2. SQL Database Programming

SQL Database Programming

SQL Database Programming by Chris Fehily is a comprehensive guide designed to help end users, analysts, data scientists, students, and developers get up to speed with SQL, the language of databases. It provides a mix of general concepts, practical answers, and clear explanations of what the various SQL statements can do.

The book is filled with hundreds of examples of varied difficulty, encouraging readers to experiment and explore. The formatted SQL code listings are particularly helpful in understanding the elements and structure of the language. There are some sample datasets for download, allowing readers to follow along with the examples. However, some readers might find the progression a bit steep, especially those new to SQL

You will learn a wide range of SQL and data analytics topics, from organizing your database in terms of the relational model to mastering tables, columns, rows, and keys. It also delves into more advanced techniques that extend the power of SQL.

3. SQL for Data Analysis: Advanced Techniques for Transforming Data into Insights

SQL for Data Analysis: Advanced Techniques for Transforming Data into Insights

The book by Cathy Tanimura is an interesting read that offers a unique perspective on SQL and data analysis. The author's personal journey with SQL, which started quite unexpectedly, adds a relatable touch to the book.

The author's self-taught path, filled with trials and errors, is a testament to the challenges one might face when learning SQL. The transformation from a novice to an expert is commendable, but the journey might not resonate with everyone, especially those who prefer structured learning.

The book aims to fill the gap in advanced SQL resources for data analysis, a niche that is often overlooked in most SQL books. While it does a decent job in this regard, some might find the lack of structured progression a bit off-putting. However, it does provide solutions to common SQL problems and encourages exploration, which is a plus.

SQL for Data Analysis is a worthwhile read for those looking to delve deeper into SQL. It offers valuable insights and fills a much-needed gap in SQL literature. It's a book that promises to unlock knowledge and inspire curiosity, making it a recommended read for those willing to navigate its unconventional approach.

4. Data Analysis Using SQL and Excel

Data Analysis Using SQL and Excel

Third on my list is a practical guide that combines the power of SQL and Excel to perform sophisticated data analysis. The book, written by an expert in business data mining, provides a comprehensive overview of core analytic techniques and how to implement them using database language and spreadsheets.

The author starts with the basics of SQL for data mining and Excel for data presentation, gradually moving towards more complex concepts and applications. However, some readers might find the progression a bit steep, especially those new to analysis. If you are one of them, take our SQL Reporting track first and then read the book.

This book covers a wide range of topics, from understanding the importance of geography in data analysis to charting changes in data over time. It introduces survival analysis for understanding customer tenure and churn, market basket analysis for understanding purchasing behavior, and various data mining models.

It’s pretty well written, and I can recommend it.

5. Practical SQL: A Beginner's Guide to Storytelling with Data

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

Technical books can often be dense and hard to digest, but Anthony DeBarros's beginner-friendly SQL book breaks that stereotype. This engaging and informative book has been a consistent recommendation in our previous rankings, and it continues to be a noteworthy read.

Practical SQL is written in a reader-friendly manner, with the author steering clear of excessive theory and history. Instead, DeBarros dives straight into the heart of SQL, supplementing the learning experience with numerous practical examples drawn from the realms of business and data analysis. To be honest, this book is my favorite of them all.

DeBarros illustrates how each data project tells a unique story, providing a dynamic guide to mastering SQL programming.

The book caters to a wide audience, making it an excellent resource for both SQL novices and those with more experience.

The author primarily uses the open-source PostgreSQL database system for his examples. This offers learners an opportunity to familiarize themselves with this popular SQL variant. However, the general SQL syntax and concepts discussed are applicable to most database systems, including MySQL, MS SQL Server, and SQLite.

You will learn how to structure, organize, and analyze data sets. The book covers how to aggregate, sort, and filter data to uncover patterns, use basic and advanced statistical functions, identify and rectify data errors, import and export data using delimited text files, create advanced queries, and automate tasks.

If you're in search of a comprehensive SQL book that simplifies complex topics and presents them in an easy-to-understand manner, Practical SQL is an excellent choice. For more insights, you can check out an interview with the author.

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

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

Book number 6 in our list aims to make your SQL query writing easier. The author, John L. Viescas, is an independent database consultant with over 45 years of experience, making him a reliable guide for this journey.

This book will help you to understand the foundation of SQL queries and how to implement them effectively. It covers a wide range of topics, from basic to advanced.

This awesome guide is the result of the author's extensive experience in data analysis – including his time at IBM, Applied Data Research, and Tandem Computers. Viescas has a knack for explaining complex concepts in an understandable way, making the book a valuable resource for SQL beginners.

7. The Art of Big Data Analysis: Unleashing Insights from Big Data

The Art of Big Data Analysis: Unleashing Insights from Big Data

This is something different. It’s set in today's data-driven world, where the ability to extract meaningful insights from massive datasets is a game-changer. The author describes some essential tools and techniques to navigate the vast landscapes of Big Data.

Reading this, you can go deep into the foundations of data analysis. Sarah Segel teaches readers how to collect, preprocess, and explore data, and uncover patterns and trends that were once hidden. However, she doesn't stop at the basics.

The book unveils advanced techniques that supercharge data analysis skills. From predictive modeling and machine learning to natural language processing and social network analysis, it covers the methodologies that allow readers to extract actionable insights and drive meaningful change.

The Art of Data Analysis is not just a technical manual. It's a guide to becoming a true data maestro. It introduces the art of data visualization and storytelling, teaching readers how to craft compelling narratives that captivate audiences and drive messages home.

The book also explores ethical considerations, ensuring data analysis practices are fair, unbiased, and responsible. It guides readers on how to effectively communicate findings to stakeholders, influence decision-making processes, and shape strategies that propel organizations forward.

If you're ready to embrace the power of Big Data, this book is a worthy read.

8. Data Science for Business: What You Need to Know about Data Mining and Data-Analytic Thinking

Data Science for Business: What You Need to Know about Data Mining and Data-Analytic Thinking

Why am I suggesting a book on data science and not strictly on data analysis? Well, sometimes you have to try something different to see things from a broader perspective. But don't worry – we're still in the world of databases.

I like this book because it makes tough ideas easy to understand. The writers, Foster Provost and Tom Fawcett, have done a great job of explaining things in a way that everyone can get. This book is good for people who already know a lot about data science and for those who are just starting out.

The book is really good at showing how to use data science in real life, not just talking about the theory.

This is great for people who want to use data science in their work. The writers explain different ways to find and analyze data really well, which helps readers use these methods in their own jobs and projects.

9. Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals

Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals

Last but not least on my list is this book about storytelling with data. If your job involves creating SQL reports and you're looking for ways to present data in a compelling manner, then this one is just for you!

This book serves as an excellent guide to understanding data visualization for business applications. It lays down the basics of data visualization and guides you on how to weave a narrative with your data.

The book emphasizes the importance of storytelling in data visualization. It encourages you to consider the context and your audience when creating data visualizations.

This approach helps you choose the right graphs for different situations, ensuring your data resonates with your audience.

You will find numerous tips on enhancing your visualizations and many useful real-world examples. The author introduces key design principles and shows you how to remove unnecessary information, highlight the most crucial parts of your visualization, and make data the centerpiece of your story.

If you're keen on learning how to communicate effectively with data and craft impactful visual narratives that leave a lasting impression on your audience, this book is a must-read!

Challenges of Learning SQL from Books

Learning SQL from books can be a great thing to do, but it can also be a bit tough. Books can explain things in detail and help you understand SQL and how to use it for data analysis. The best part is that you can go at your own speed. If something is hard to understand, you can read it again and again until you get it. Here are our other SQL book recommendations:

But, while books are great for learning theory, they don't give you a chance to practice writing real SQL queries. And that's crucial if you want to work professionally with SQL. You learn a lot when you actually do the work, write queries, fix mistakes, and see the results.

That's why online SQL courses are so good. This is just The Best Way to Learn SQL. Courses teach you the theory, just like books. But they also let you write and run queries. You can see right away if your code works or not. This kind of hands-on learning is really important. It helps you remember what you've learned and makes you feel more confident about your SQL skills.

Don't get me wrong; I still say that books are a valuable learning resource. But they should be a supplement to – not the basis of – your training process. Taking an interactive online course and reading an SQL book alongside it will give you the full picture. You’ll benefit from both methods.

You came here because you deal with or want to start dealing with data analysis. Here's a great guide on how to begin or improve your SQL.

If I had to start from scratch, I would choose the SQL A to Z track. This set of online courses offers a smooth entry into coding and requires no prior experience or additional software. It includes 7 interactive courses, each building on the last and helping you gain confidence and practical experience in SQL.

sql from a to z

This learning path provides hands-on practice with real-life exercises, using a real code editor and real data sets. Upon completion, you'll receive a certificate that you can share on your LinkedIn profile.

The objectives of this learning path are comprehensive, covering everything from creating simple queries to writing complex SQL queries using advanced features. It's an ideal choice for anyone, from beginners to experienced programmers, who wants to master SQL. All you need to start is a web browser and an Internet connection.

Do you want to see how someone who was completely green in databases started learning SQL and managed it? I am living proof that anyone can master this programming language and start using it in their daily work. Here is my story.

Beyond SQL Data Analysis Books

If you're at the beginning of your data analysis journey or seeking to enhance your existing skills, rest assured that there's a book perfectly tailored to your needs. The market is filled with a lot of resources, from the best SQL books for data analysis to comprehensive guides that delve into the intricacies of Excel and SQL.

These books are designed to cater to a wide range of learners, from novices to seasoned professionals, providing them with the knowledge and tools necessary to become experts in data analysis.

woman working

Just remember that mastering SQL, like any new skill, requires more than just theoretical knowledge. Consistent practice is the key to truly understanding and applying SQL in real-world scenarios. Pick one of the SQL interactive courses from’s offer or go “All in” and select the All Forever SQL Package. It offers lifetime access to all existing and future courses on the platform, covering all SQL dialects. It's a treasure trove of hands-on SQL courses that allow you to apply what you've learned from books, enhancing your understanding and proficiency in SQL.

So, whether you're just starting out or looking to deepen your data analysis skills, remember that the journey to becoming a proficient data analyst is a marathon, not a sprint. Arm yourself with the best SQL books for data analysis, practice consistently, and stay curious.

I hope that with resources like the books I’ve recommended to you in this article and the comprehensive courses offered by, you're well on your way to mastering SQL.