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SQL Books for Beginners

How can you learn SQL more efficiently? Besides a good online course, find an interesting book to enrich your knowledge. Here are the best SQL books for beginners.

SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a very powerful tool to work with many types of data. If you are interested in learning SQL you probably know how useful it is, and how widely it is needed.

To learn SQL successfully, a solid online course for beginners like our SQL Basics is a great start. In this course, you’ll practice writing real queries and learn how to retrieve the information you want. First, you start with one table; once you’re comfortable with that, you'll move to multiple tables and use more advanced functions. If you already know a bit of SQL or if you want to learn all SQL offers, check out our SQL from A to Z learning track or our All Forever SQL Package.

Even when you’re learning online, a good SQL book will always be an asset. We’ve compiled a list of five books that are really worth spending time on.

Our 5 Favorite SQL Books for Beginners

1.   Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes

SQL Books for Beginners

I really like the idea behind this book. Very often, what discourages us from learning new things is the time it requires – time we usually don’t have. Between our job and our personal duties, the last thing we want to add is more activities and responsibilities. But learning SQL takes time. Dividing the content into small but complex parts is a perfect solution for all busy people. But it is not only about the time. It is easier to absorb new information when it is served in the form of short lessons.

Author Ben Forta knows all this very well. He has prepared the book so you can learn easily step by step, starting from the very basics and moving on to more difficult topics. Each lesson takes 10 minutes, tops.

In the book, you will find full-color code examples that help you understand how SQL statements are structured. These short lessons will help you get to know how to use SQL statements to sort, retrieve, and format database contents; how to join multiple related tables; how to update and delete data, and much more.

2.   SQL All-in-One For Dummies

SQL Books for Beginners

Another book worth reading is this SQL guidebook written by Allen G. Taylor. This book clearly explains what SQL and relational databases are and what’s involved in designing, developing, and maintaining these databases.

This book also covers SQL queries, database security, error handling, SQL programming, database and query tuning, XML, and JSON.

Allen Taylor has written a really comprehensive book. You can learn from it if you have just started to learn SQL, but it is also useful for more advanced readers. You can use it as a reference while working with SQL.

The author has great experience in the computer industry. He has written over 40 books, including a whole series on SQL “for dummies”. His SQL All in One is definitely among the best SQL books for beginners.

3.   SQL: Learn SQL (using MySQL) in One Day and Learn It Well

SQL Books for Beginners

This is one of the most popular books on MySQL. And that’s for a reason.

It’s a perfect choice for SQL beginners and for those with some experience who want to complete their training.

What makes this book stand out is its practical approach. You will find many examples and exercises while going through the lessons.

The author encourages you to try to write your own commands and to check the book afterward. You will be guided through a hands-on project that’s explained step by step.

The book covers what a DBMS (database management system) is and what software you need to work with SQL. You’ll also learn how to select data from tables, input data into the database, use aggregate functions, use JOIN and UNION statements, work with cursors, and more.

4.   SQL Database Programming

SQL Books for Beginners

SQL Database Programming by Chris Fehily is worth reading if you’re an analyst, data scientist, or database student, developer, or end user. The author discusses the general concept of SQL and offers clear, straightforward explanations for various SQL statements.

Beside some theory, the book is full of practical examples. It starts with simple ones for beginners and moves up to more advanced concepts.

This guide encourages you to download the sample database and practice the examples described by the author.

Chris Fehily explains SQL using various DBMSs like PostgreSQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and MySQL. In this book, you will learn the core language for standard SQL and how to organize a database in terms of the relational model. You will also master tables, columns, rows, and keys; retrieve, sort, format data, and much more.

If you need a comprehensive and well-written guide to SQL, this book is a very good solution.

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

SQL Books for Beginners

You may associate technical books with long, boring descriptions that are difficult to decipher. And that can often be true – but not in this book. Anthony DeBarros’s SQL book for beginners is one of the most amusing pieces on this topic. We already mentioned his book in our previous book rankings, and it is still worth writing about.

Practical SQL is written in a very accessible and interesting way. The author avoids focusing on theory and history too much. Instead, you’ll get the essence of SQL and a lot of practical examples from the business and data analysis world.

Anthony DeBarros shows how you can find a different story in every project by working with data. This is a fast-paced guide towards successful programming with SQL. It is a great learning tool for complete beginners as well as for more advanced readers.

In this book, the author mainly focuses on the open-source PostgreSQL database system. This is a good chance for students to learn about this popular version of SQL; however, the general SQL syntax and concepts apply to most database systems, e.g. MySQL, MS SQL Server, and SQLite.

Here you will learn how to define, organize, and analyze data sets. Also, you will get to know what it means to aggregate, sort, and filter data to find patterns. You will be able to use basic math and advanced statistical functions, identify errors in data (and deal with them), import and export data using delimited text files, create advanced queries, and automate tasks.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive book that explains sometimes-difficult topics in an accessible way, this is a perfect choice. You can read an interview with the author to get more background.

Find the SQL Book That Enriches Your Learning Journey

I hope that you will find inspiration in this short list of SQL books for beginners. Each book on the list has valuable content and will enrich your learning experience. Don’t hesitate to add reading to your SQL learning path. Diverse sources of knowledge can help you consolidate new skills.

Maybe you have your favorite SQL book. If so, share it with others in a comment.