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The Best SQL Books for 2024

In 2024, finding the right resources to learn SQL is more important than ever. But with so many options out there, how do you choose the best one? In this guide, I will share some top SQL books to help you learn and master SQL this year.

SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a tool that helps you work with data stored in databases; it lets you find and change information quickly and easily. It's user-friendly, but it’s also a must for data-related jobs – which is why so many people want to learn SQL. And there are more learning resources available than ever before, from online courses to university classes and everything in between.

In this article, I’ve picked the best SQL books that you should read in 2024. My list is subjective and stems from my personal experience and judgment. The article is not sponsored and I do not recommend SQL books that I haven't read. I’ve included links to the product on Amazon to make it easier for you to find the book; it's not part of an affiliate program.

Remember, reading alone isn't enough; you need to practice too. That's why I suggest trying the SQL Practice Set course at It has 88 hands-on exercises to help you really get the hang of SQL.

But with all the online learning resources available, do SQL books still have a place?

Why Should You Read SQL Books?

In the digital age, it's easy to overlook the value of picking up a good book to learn something new. When it comes to learning SQL, books can be your best friend. SQL books offer a structured pathway to understanding the nitty-gritty of database management. They break down complex concepts into easy-to-understand language, making the learning process smoother and more enjoyable.

SQL books are a treasure trove of knowledge, curated by experts who have spent years in the field. These books often come from authors with a rich background in data analytics, offering insights and tips that you might not find in an online course. Whether you're a beginner or a long-time SQL user, a well-written book can provide a wealth of information. They can help you navigate the complex world of relational databases with ease.

The Best SQL Books for 2024

Moreover, books about SQL allow for self-paced learning, giving you the freedom to move at your own speed without the pressure of keeping up with a class. You can take your time to understand complex concepts, revisit topics as needed, and really immerse yourself in learning SQL. This kind of environment can be incredibly beneficial, helping to cement your understanding and build a strong foundation in SQL.

Lastly, having a physical book (or a downloaded e-book) means you have a resource at your fingertips at all times. You can easily refer back to it when working on real-world projects, making it a handy tool in your learning journey. There’s a surge in resources for learning SQL, but SQL books stand as a reliable and evergreen resource.

I have always said that SQL is a practical skill. Practice is required to master it, and that means actually writing SQL queries. There is no other way. But in order to have something to practice, you must first learn the theory. And this is where SQL and database books shine.

So let’s jump straight into our list of the best SQL books in 2024.

The SQL Books You Should Read in 2024

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

The Best SQL Books for 2024

If you are a beginner and want to get started with a basic book that covers core SQL concepts, this book is for you. SQL QuickStart Guide covers basic queries and examples well. Its author, Walter Shields, has more than 18 years of work experience. This helps him explain SQL with a practical yet understandable approach.

The book begins by helping you set up an SQL practice environment in SQLite; it goes on to cover some basic and advanced functions in SQL. It covers all the fundamental SQL query concepts (like SELECT, JOINS, and functions) as well as slightly more advanced concepts like subqueries and views.

The downside is that the book is not comprehensive and the text can feel a little too wordy at times. But it is definitely worthwhile for someone who is just starting out.

2. SQL All-in-One For Dummies

The Best SQL Books for 2024

What I like the most about this book is how comprehensive it is. It’s useful for beginning and advanced users. In fact, I still occasionally refer to this book for a quick review.

The author, Allen G. Taylor, has over 40 years of experience in the computer industry and has seen the evolution of databases and the SQL language. He has written over 40 books and quite beautifully covers a wide range of SQL and database concepts.

The book covers relational databases, SQL queries, database security, error handling, SQL programming (procedures, functions, cursors, etc.), database and query tuning (very useful for developers dealing with voluminous data), XML, and JSON. My favorite parts of the book are on error handling and SQL tuning, which are quite important. One bad query can put a lot of stress on your resources, so tuning is a must-learn concept that few books cover this well.

This is one of the best reference books on SQL. If you are someone who uses multiple learning sources but wants to keep a reference copy for a quick consultation (like I do), this book is for you.

3. Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes

The Best SQL Books for 2024

It's hard to believe that this SQL book has been on the market since 2004. Of course, it’s been updated; we currently have its 5th edition. Its author is London-born Ben Forta, a teaching guru and author of 40 technical books.

According to some sources, Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes is the best-selling SQL book of all time. It’s chosen by beginners as well as professional programmers and engineers. It is often included in university students’ recommended reading material. Are you one of them and want to learn SQL? I recommend this book as well as our special student offer.

What makes this SQL book different? First of all, its approach to the topic. You can see that the author wrote it for programmers who work with code on a daily basis.

For example, if you are a Python developer and would like to add SQL to your skillset, choose this book (although I also recommend taking our SQL Basics course).

Most of the basic SQL topics are pretty well covered here. The greatest emphasis is placed on writing SQL queries and achieving full operability quickly. Everyone will find something for themselves. In the latest release, there are additional examples in various databases, including DB2 on Cloud, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, and PostgreSQL.

This SQL book is simple and easy to follow, with a clear structure and understandable instructions. Some exercises are quite abstract, but that doesn't mean they can't be done. It's a good SQL book that’s definitely worth reading.

4. SQL: The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Learn SQL Today

The Best SQL Books for 2024

This book is for people who are just taking their first steps in SQL. Have you already started our SQL Basic course and want to read more about fundamental SQL queries? This book is for people like you.

In SQL: The Ultimate Beginners Guide, you'll find chapters dedicated to all the basics of the language. What's cool is that the author didn't go overboard with complicated examples and language. Everything is described quite neatly so that you will have no problems finding your way through the SQL jungle.

As usual, this type of guide lacks one thing: having the reader write their own SQL queries. Even the best book will not replace real SQL practice on dozens of exercises. Such hands-on practice can be found in our SQL Basic course. This book can be a great supplement to our courses. I'm not saying that this is the best SQL book I have ever had in my hands, but it is quite good and may be of use to those getting started with SQL.

5. Practical SQL, 2nd Edition: A Beginner's Guide to Storytelling with Data

The Best SQL Books for 2024

If you are easily bored by textbooks, this book is for you. It’s one of the most readable books I have found for SQL – probably due to its very relatable and practical dataset, which makes understanding the examples quite interesting.

The book is written by Anthony DeBarros, a journalist with a deep interest in data analysis and storytelling. Perhaps that is why the book is so practical and easy to read. Here is a great interview with the author for you to enjoy.

This book introduced me to PostgreSQL since most of the examples are written in it. It is indeed quite an interesting database management system. I especially enjoyed the chapter on PostGIS.

The book has around 20 chapters; the first 10 give you a good idea of how databases work and the basics of SQL. Then the book dives deeper into slightly more advanced topics like statistical functions, working with date and time data, text mining, using spatial data through PostGIS, and working with JSON and database maintenance.

6. SQL For Data Analytics

The Best SQL Books for 2024

The books covered so far are mostly centered around SQL with some aspects of data analytics. However, SQL used specifically for data analytics needs to have a special emphasis on statistics, data preparation, import and export (from and to various sources) and special analyses (like time series).

And this is where the book SQL for Data Analytics adds value. It is a must-read for data analysts or even business folks looking to get the most from their data using SQL.

This book will help you understand how to uncover insights using data. It also goes into some detail on improving efficiency and automation; the last chapter has a case study on preparing data and answering real-time questions that I think you’ll really enjoy.

Anyone interested in data analysis can read this article on the best 5 data analysis books for some additional recommendations.

7. Head First SQL

The Best SQL Books for 2024

The Head First series uses cognitive science and neurobiology concepts to design learning around how our brain works and retrieves information.

Head First SQL is strictly for beginners. If you are someone who already understands SQL and data in general, this may not be the best book for you.

Head First SQL has a lot of visual aids and an extremely conversational tone. The book is aimed at SQL and does not go into much detail on databases. I would recommend it to students and beginners who find other SQL books boring. While the learning definitely sticks, the book can feel a little slow at times, especially for people who have some SQL knowledge.

Nevertheless, the book can be a decent read for someone willing to learn SQL.

8. SQL Database Programming

The Best SQL Books for 2024

This is one step closer to advanced SQL. In my opinion, it’s not for complete rookies – but if you already have some experience, you will benefit a lot from reading it.

SQL Database Programming by Chris Fehily is a good SQL reference book. Here you will find answers to common questions about the language and its syntax, commands, and functions. The answers are in plain language, so it's pretty easy to grasp and retain this knowledge.

Who is this book for? In my opinion, it will be useful for analysts and data scientists who want to learn SQL better and improve their skills. The book has tons of fairly realistic and quite understandable examples. It’s also useful for developers who need to quickly check how to implement a given solution in their application and do not want to bother with the documentation.

You will learn standard SQL here, but any of the SQL queries discussed should work in any database management system (Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc.). This is a big advantage, considering that most of the books are oriented towards only one of SQL’s many dialects.

Overall, this is a good book that you’ll keep nearby while you’re working on projects – rather than collecting dust on the shelf with other, more theoretical offerings.

If you are interested in this approach to SQL, practice, and training, I recommend our SQL Practice Set. It is full of interactive exercises that will take your SQL to the next level.

9. T-SQL Window Functions: For Data Analysis and Beyond

The Best SQL Books for 2024

I know Itzik Ben-Gan from YouTube. This guy really knows what he is talking (and writing) about. He travels the world and teaches people T-SQL. He has written some really nice pieces about this dialect. They are all worth paying attention to. However, I chose this one specifically. Why? Because he can write about SQL window functions and make it bearable for ordinary people like me.

Window functions are one of the newer features of SQL. If you know them and can use them well, congratulations! If not, it's worth taking the time to learn them; they make life easier. But the functions themselves are not easy – they’re one of the most advanced topics in SQL.

This book gives nice examples of SQL queries. You'll find aggregation, ranking, distribution, offset, and ordered set functions. It also provides examples of code optimization. Everything is written in SQL Server 2019 and based on the Azure database, so this book is perfect for Microsoft geeks.

If you want to master window functions, I recommend the Window Functions in MS SQL Server course. There are over 200 interactive exercises that will help you join the ranks of SQL experts.

10. Business Analytics: The Science of Data-Driven Decision Making

The Best SQL Books for 2024

This is a slightly different approach to the subject of data analysis. If you've read my previous articles, you know that I like to weave something less obvious into this type of piece. This book is that less-obvious choice: a high-end treatise on various analysis topics.

You don't know what prescriptive analysis is? I didn't know either before I read this book. It’s worth keeping the bar high and developing in different directions. And believe me, this book is worth reading.

First, you will learn what analysis means in a business context. You’ll also learn the basics of statistics and mathematics. And you’ll find out how to test hypotheses and correlations. Eventually, all of this will lead you to a place where you can make informed business decisions based on the collected data. And that's what it's all about.

Although the topics discussed here are complex, the author does not use academic language. I really like the case studies presented to illustrate the theories. Thanks to this, even a humanist like me can cope with the flood of mathematical and statistical information. offers several courses that can help with business analysis. Interested? Get started with our popular SQL Reporting track. You'll find courses about reporting, revenue trend analysis, and tracking customer behavior trends. Get even more out of your data!

How is information different from insight? Reach for Dinesh Kumar’s book and find the answer for yourself.

11. PostGIS in Action

The Best SQL Books for 2024

And now for something very specialized. PostGIS in Action by Regina O. Obe and Leo S. Hsu is one of the few complete and well-written books about this great technology.

What is PostGIS? It is a spatial database extension for PostgreSQL. Want to work with geodata, maps, or apps that use these features? You need to know PostGIS. offers one of the few interactive online PostGIS courses in the world.

This is the third edition of PostGIS in Action. In it, you’ll learn the secrets of working with spatial queries and discover useful ways to deal with the challenges of working with geographic data.

I am not a PostGIS expert. I must be honest and admit that at times this book was beyond me. This is really something for pros; if you’re not there yet, get a good grip of PostgreSQL and then revisit this book when you need to handle spatial data.

12. SQL for Data Scientists: A Beginner's Guide for Building Datasets for Analysis

The Best SQL Books for 2024

Almost everything has been said about data science in recent years. Personally, I think it’s a great career choice. If you want to be a part of it, learn SQL and read SQL for Data Scientists: A Beginner's Guide for Building Datasets for Analysis by Renee M. P. Teate.

The book is intended for people who already understand the principles of relational databases. If you've only worked with data in MS Excel, you should still be able to handle this book.

I like how many SQL queries are in this book, ranging from simple data manipulations to complex reports.

SQL can make modeling and forecasting market trends much easier; you just need to know how to do it. With this book, you’ll learn to use the power of SQL to work with data visualizations and create machine learning algorithms.

The book is well written, so there is no problem with understanding even difficult issues. By reading this SQL book, you will learn the basics of analyzing, filtering, and sorting datasets and preparing them for further processing. Use tools like PowerBI or Tableau? You will definitely benefit from reading this book.

This is a great SQL book that, contrary to the title, is not only of use to data scientists.

13. Data Professionals at Work

The Best SQL Books for 2024

Someone once told me that if I want to be successful, I must listen to those who have already succeeded. I believe that to this day. That's why I highly recommend the book Data Professionals at Work by Malathi Mahadevan.

This book is a collection of interviews with database experts from around the world. They tell about their daily work and the realities of the industry. More importantly, they share their stories so you can draw inspiration. Many of them directly tell what to do to achieve success. Do you want to follow in their footsteps and reach their level? Reach for this book.

The interviews are conducted in a friendly, light manner. Find out about the life of a data controller, analyst, or developer as you read interviews with people in finance, IT, marketing, and other sectors.

Why else should you read this book? Many of these experts openly speak about their failures and the mistakes they made. It is worth learning from them so that you do not have to repeat the same errors. The interviews also allow you to understand the modern IT world, which has made a sharp shift toward collecting and using data. You’ll learn the latest trends and best practices.

Keep Calm and Read SQL Books in 2024

We hope this list helps you find the right SQL books to get you going. Books can be a great tool because they let you learn at your own pace. You can always go back to check something if you forget. In a world that is increasingly centered on data, knowing SQL can be a real game-changer in 2024.

Diving into these books can be your first step or a great next step in learning SQL. Each book on this list was picked because it can help make difficult SQL concepts easy to understand. Whether you're just starting or looking to learn more, these books have something for everyone.

So, why wait? Grab one of these SQL books and start learning today. Keeping up with the latest in SQL can give you a big boost in your career. We wish you all the best as you learn and grow with the help of these books.

If you prefer to use books alongside a comprehensive online SQL learning source, then I would highly recommend our A from to Z SQL track. It’s a great place to start learning. It’s made for beginners and doesn’t require any IT experience.

The Best SQL Books for 2024

Inside you'll find seven easy-to-follow online courses that teach you SQL from the ground up. You'll learn how to work with databases and analyze data, all through hands-on practice with real tools and data sets. And the best part? You get a certificate for each course you finish, which you can share on your LinkedIn profile.

All you need to get started is an internet connection and a web browser. It's the best way to start learning SQL.

If you are looking for more books to choose from, check out these articles:

Maybe you prefer to listen to SQL audiobooks? Marcin’s article on the Top 5 SQL Audiobooks is for you.

Wondering if learning SQL is the right choice for your career? We have gathered a lot of arguments in the article Is SQL Worth Learning? Also, check out why SQL is future-proof.

Now you know why learning SQL should be your next goal! Choose one of the SQL courses at and one of the SQL books I recommend and start being awesome!