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Top 5 SQL Audiobooks

No time to learn SQL? What if I said you could learn while sitting in traffic or washing dishes? It’s possible thanks to SQL Audiobooks. Check out which ones you should listen to.

I have been recommending various SQL books for a long time. If selected well, they can be a great complement to the knowledge gained in interactive online courses. If you haven't read my article yet, check it out.

I must admit though. I was skeptical when I first noticed SQL audiobooks on the market. I am a fan of audiobooks – I listen to them all the time while driving, running, or hanging laundry. But the idea that I could listen to a voice reading an SQL book seemed strange to me.

I decided to give them a try. It turned out to be a pretty good solution which I can now recommend. SQL audiobooks can be a good source of knowledge and a great help in the process of learning SQL.

They do not replace interactive SQL courses, because, as with books, you need practice. At least you are looking at SQL queries in the book; here, you have to use your imagination to organize it in your head. It can be done, but it can be a challenge for some.

Here is a list of SQL audiobooks I think you can listen to. I chose ones I hadn’t already reviewed so as not to waste time listening to something I already knew. This is why the list does not include the items I have already discussed in my previous articles.

My choice is subjective. If you disagree with any of the reviews or know of a worthy SQL audiobook missing from my list, please write about it in the comments.

History of Audiobooks

Spoken-word recordings have been around for hundreds of years. The first ones appeared as early as the 19th century. However, a recording from 1952 is generally considered the beginning of the audiobook.

It was a collection of poems by Dylan Thomas as read by the poet himself and produced by a New York company named Caedmon Audio. Interestingly, on the other side of the record was “A Child's Christmas in Wales,” which turned out to be much more popular than the poems on the A-side. It hit the bull's eye and became the beginning of a great audiobook business.

Audiobooks have evolved with technology. Later, they moved from vinyl records to cassettes and CDs. The real heyday of the industry came in the age of the Internet. More and more online audio libraries have appeared and are increasingly used by people.

Top 5 SQL Audiobooks

Today, the audiobook is already part of our culture. It accompanies us every day during a walk, a drive, and household chores. Perhaps audiobooks keep readership going since many people do not have the time for traditional reading. Sitting with a book requires full concentration and time, which we often don’t have during the day. That's why we listen to audiobooks a lot.

Audiobooks are still going strong. According to the Edison Research study, about 131 million people are expected to use audiobooks in 2021. That is about 46% of the total U.S. population age 12 and older and a 1% increase compared to 2020.

But can you learn SQL from an audiobook?

Top 5 SQL Audiobooks

The answer is yes, but only if you reach for the right ones. The most important thing here is the content, but the quality of the recording and the voice of the reader also matter greatly. It's like with some SQL books – they are great, but the quality of the release makes a difference.

Some time ago, I had one of those books in my hands. It was about Python, and I just couldn't read it. The paper was bad, the print had faded, and the drawings were illegible. Nightmare. It can be similar for some audiobooks, so be careful which one you choose.

To make it easier for you, I provide links to Amazon for each audiobook I list below. I do not get even a penny from these links – this is not an advertisement but rather my honest recommendations based on my experience and opinions.

Without further ado, these are the top 5 of the SQL audiobooks I've tried out so far.

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

Top 5 SQL Audiobooks

This book by Walter Shields is at the top of my list. It's just a nice SQL book.

The author is a recognized SQL expert. He lectures on SQL daily, works with large organizations, and deals with data work, and it shows.

Don't count on flowery and eloquent language. Walter is a technical writer, and you will either accept his style or he will annoy you.

The audiobook is recorded quite well; the sound quality is not brilliant, but it is good enough to listen to the end without any problems. The voice of the reader is pleasant, warm, and low. This makes it easier to absorb knowledge.

Interestingly, with this SQL audiobook, you get free database samples, a guide on how to install them, and an explanation of how to practice writing SQL queries with them. This makes it much easier to stick to the next SQL topic, and it addresses my main objection to the SQL books – no hands-on practice.

This audiobook won't teach you SQL. Instead, it does what its title promises – it makes it easier for you to take your first step towards databases. If you are a complete beginner, it can help you understand the basics and push you towards further study.

Are you looking for a place where you can start learning SQL? I started with the SQL Basics course and I recommend it to you, too. Consider the audiobook as an extension of the learning process.

2.   SQL Programming & Database Management for Absolute Beginners

Top 5 SQL Audiobooks

Here's another SQL audiobook for beginners. It covers the basics of SQL, its syntax, and common examples of its use.

It is not a complete SQL book for sure. It does not give you comprehensive knowledge. But it is pretty good for developing your skills.

Importantly, listening to this audiobook is much better than reading the same book on paper or as an eBook. Why? There are a lot of typos and grammatical errors in the written version. I'm not picky when it comes to linguistic correctness, but sometimes errors can make a topic difficult to understand. In the written version, they need to be corrected by the reader as he/she reads along.

3.   SQL for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide to Learn SQL

Top 5 SQL Audiobooks

I reached for this audiobook mainly because of its author. I have read Julian McKinnon's books on Python, Linux, and Raspberry Pi, and they are pretty good. So, I decided to give him a try on SQL.

I think he’s done the task quite well. Most of the basic definitions are correct. I have no criticism about the presentation of syntax and SQL functions. I also like that the author gives a lot of interesting practical examples of how SQL is used.

The audiobook narrator does a good job. It is very pleasant to listen to. He has a low, calm voice, although sometimes you can hear a hint of Southern accent. Nevertheless, the audiobook is well made and does not interfere with your learning.

The author focuses primarily on Oracle and MySQL databases, but most queries can be used safely in PostgreSQL or SQL Server. You also get instructions on how to install a specific database on your computer. If something is not clear, you can also use our tips:

What I love about this SQL audiobook is that it explains to beginners how databases work and what they need to do to start using them. In many of these SQL books, software topics are often overlooked, or the authors assume the readers can handle it on their own.

4.   Big Data: Using Smart Big Data, Analytics and Metrics to Make Better Decisions and Improve Performance

Top 5 SQL Audiobooks

A true professional can explain very difficult topics and issues in very simple terms so that they do not seem so complicated anymore. This is exactly the case with this audiobook.

The author of the book is Bernard Marr, a world-renowned database and big data expert and a recognized personality in the business world. In short, he is worth checking out. If you like his style, I also recommend his podcast Bernard Marr's Future of Business & Technology.

Want more good SQL and database podcasts? Some time ago, my friend Marcin discussed the 7 best podcasts worth checking out.

Why should you reach for this audiobook? Because in the era when everyone is writing and talking about Big Data, the information provided here is really valuable and very accessible.

Most books like this focus on the importance of data, how large corporations use it, and what will come of it in the future. Such futuristic stories about Big Data usually don’t pan out. Here, however, you have a large dose of systematized knowledge.

You will learn not only why Big Data is so important and what you gain if you start using it, but also how to do it. This book is aimed mainly at current and future data analysts. Have you ever heard of data democratization? It's not just a hot topic everyone is talking about. Here, data is a resource an organization can leverage to be more effective and bring more profits.

The audiobook is read by a genius narrator. The quality leaves no doubt this is a high-class recording. 10/10 when it comes to production.

I highly recommend this SQL audiobook for both beginners and more advanced users.

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

Top 5 SQL Audiobooks

The last SQL audiobook on my list is about storytelling with data. Why is this such an important topic? Because even the best insight or SQL report means nothing if you cannot talk about it and make it understandable to others to make better strategic decisions together.

This book by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic, who reads her own work for the audiobook, is a large dose of useful advice for businesspeople. This is not strictly a book about SQL, nor about data in general. So why is it on my list?

I believe every analyst, DBA, and data engineer must be able to communicate. They need to know how to communicate their analysis to a wider group. Only then can it help the organization. Storytelling is one way to communicate information. With data, it turns out to be very effective.

The book contains many interesting examples taken from real business life. These are ready-made scenarios you can draw from. Use the data in your presentation or speech and make it the most important element, and you can see how the whole message changes.

Of course, some tips seem obvious to me. But others were explained in a way I had not thought of before. Considering I constantly write and communicate to the public, this is quite an achievement.

I emphasize once again – this is not a book on SQL but rather on storytelling. Reach for this nice audiobook with that in mind.

Give These SQL Audiobooks a Chance!

Of course, my list has only 5 SQL audiobooks, but there are hundreds of them on the market. I know one thing for sure – I found out I should give SQL audiobooks a chance. I will listen to a few more; if they are good, maybe I will create another list.

Now you know which SQL audiobooks are worth a listen. Again, no book or audiobook can replace a full interactive SQL course. It takes practice; you have to write real SQL queries to learn how to work fluently with databases.

Not sure where to start? Hint: the best idea is the SQL Basics course. It has 129 interactive exercises to help you learn the basics of SQL and start on your own projects.

Already an experienced SQL user? I have an Advanced SQL track for you. This is a collection of 3 great SQL courses to help you master more complex topics. They include using the SQL Window Functions and CTEs and creating more sophisticated queries with GROUP BY clauses, such as ROLLUP, CUBE, and GROUPING SETS.

Start learning SQL and achieve your goals! Perhaps SQL audiobooks can help you. Check them out for yourself!