10 Best SQL Books For Beginner and Advance SQL Developer

Finding the right SQL (Structured Query Language) books for your needs is challenging. Let’s make it easier for you with a well-curated list of the top 10 SQL books on the market.

If you love handling data, you should consider learning SQL. A certain level of familiarity with SQL helps you manage data in a large relational database management system. After all, SQL is the most widely used language for data.

Even if you have just consolidated the fundamentals of Python, do yourself a favor and learn SQL before moving on to something else. Mind you, learning SQL gives you a competitive edge over your peers.

While video courses might help, having a good book by your side will make the whole learning process quick and easy. So, here we have compiled a list of the 10 Best SQL Books for all levels, from beginner and intermediate to expert.

Best SQL Books

1. Head First SQL

Head First SQL Your Brain on SQL -- A Learner's Guide

Description: Head First books are written keeping in mind the beginners and Head First SQL is no exception either. With fine content quality and easy-to-read format, it could provide a near-perfect start to a beginner learning MySQL. That’s why we rate it among the best SQL books out there.

Head First SQL takes a visual approach to learning, which makes it engaging. The animations also help easily memorize the topics discussed. The book is fast-paced and you could finish it over the weekend. The Head First SQL PDF is also readily available. On the downside, the book isn’t a comprehensive guide to SQL, given its average size.

  • Originally Published: 2007
  • Author: Lynn Beighley

You can buy this book here.

2. SQL Cookbook

SQL Cookbook Query Solutions and Techniques for Database Developers (Cookbooks (O'Reilly))

Description: If you’re aware of the basics of SQL, this book will help you create and manipulate large stores of data. The second edition of the SQL Cookbook features revised “recipes” that include the greater adoption of Window functions in SQL implementations. These recipes are even useful for those who aren’t database experts.

The recipes and examples in the book make for great SQL practice. As the author assumes readers have a basic understanding of SQL, he places an emphasis on writing complex queries, data preparation, manipulation, grouping, and reporting. You can use the book as a reference to your daily queries while working with SQL.

  • Originally Published: 2005
  • Author: Anthony Molinaro

You can buy this book here.

3. 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

Description: As the name suggests, this book goes beyond the basics of SQL to explore how it can be used for data analytics. You can count on the book to gain insights into how to spot patterns in data and learn the logic behind them. If you are a data scientist, it is tailor-made for you.

Though it’s for intermediate-level learners, even beginners would find it helpful. What makes it beginner-friendly is its simple tone and lucid presentation. As one of the best SQL books, it covers a wide range of topics from basics to complex window functions. Also, the book is well-organized.

  • Originally Published: 2019
  • Author: Upom Malik, Matt Goldwasser, Benjamin Johnston

You can buy this book here.

4. SQL All-in-One for Dummies

SQL All–in–One For Dummies

Description: “SQL All-In-One for Dummies” is a reference guide to all SQL-based relational databases. As with all the other ’For Dummies’ books in the series, this one requires no prior knowledge of the subject to get you started. It provides clear, concise explanations of SQL and its applications, which makes it ideal for those seeking a book on SQL for beginners.

While the book is beginner-friendly, it doesn’t limit itself to beginners only. It covers a wide range of topics without, however, delving deeper. The author has made sure anyone with any level of knowledge takes away something from the book. It is the perfect book to start your SQL journey and it sets you up nicely for further reading.

  • Originally Published: 2011
  • Author: Allen G. Taylor

You can buy this book here.

5. Sams Teach Yourself – SQL in 10 Minutes

SQL in 10 Minutes a Day, Sams Teach Yourself

Description: This book makes its way into the list of the best SQL books out there. The book consists of short lessons, which, according to the author, can be read in 10 minutes each. Whether you finish the lessons in 10 minutes or not, this methodical approach is great for beginners.

The lessons are useful and interactive packed with SQL practice problems to help you practice well and gain more. With just 256 pages, this book can act as a quick guide to SQL. The book contains web page URLs from where you can download the data for the database. That could free you from trouble. Plus, there is an errata on the site. Speaking of the author, Ben Forta is a prolific writer and has written on multiple subjects, including several SQL types.

  • Originally Published: 2019
  • Author: Ben Forta

You can buy this book here.

6. SQL Practice Problems

SQL Practice Problems 57 Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Challenges for You to Solve Using a Approach

Description: The book is a collection of 57 challenging real-world SQL practice problems. Guess what? It even provides helpful hints to the problems. The problems are of different difficulty levels with some questions from each level. With just 125 pages, the book is more like a recap of what you already know (or do not know) about SQL.

This is not the right book for you if you are a beginner or are looking for a step-by-step guide to learning SQL. As the book contains only practice problems, it could prove beneficial only if you already know a thing or two about SQL.

  • Originally Published: 2016
  • Author: Sylvia Moestl Vasilik

You can buy this book here.

7. SQL Quickstart Guide

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

Description: If you’re looking for beginner-level SQL books that focus on practical examples, don’t go any further than the SQL Quickstart Guide. The book comes packed with a free audiobook, sample database, SQL software download, SQL statement references, and video guides. That is some value for money, isn’t it?

The author describes the importance of data in a free and unpretentious language. He has done an exceptional job at simplifying SQL since SQL language is not easy at all. Best of all, the explanations are not tedious. Instead, they are interesting and useful. If you’re looking to lay a solid foundation for SQL learning, it’s a must-have book.

  • Originally Published: 2019
  • Author: Walter Shields

You can buy this book here.

8. Murach’s SQL Server 2019 for Developers

Murach's SQL Server 2019 for Developers

Description: When it comes to beefing up your knowledge on SQL Server, Murach’s SQL Server 2019 for Developers is the best resource available. You can rely on the book for examples that help explain the facts well. It provides the SQL statements that you’ll need to retrieve and update the data in a database. It is not in-depth about the database aspect of SQL but then the book never promised that.

From design to SQL coding, the book covers all aspects of database programming that a software developer should know. Although the book focuses more on beginners, it is an excellent reference for experienced programmers as well. The formatting of the book is fantastic and you wouldn’t notice that you are reading a 674-page long book.

  • Originally Published: 2019
  • Author: Joel Murach, Bryan Syverson

You can buy this book here.

9. Data Analysis Using SQL and Excel

Data Analysis Using SQL and Excel

Description: If you are keen to know how to extract useful business information from relational databases, then this book is your best bet. In this book, you come across some proven strategies for deploying SQL for business analytics. You can also expect guidance and insight into writing more complex queries on an already established large database.

Some previous knowledge of SQL is mandatory considering how the book teaches you to use familiar tools to achieve expertise. Other than using SQL and Excel for data analytics, which is the underlying principle theme of the book, it also covers topics like how to avoid pitfalls and more.

  • Originally Published: 2015
  • Author: Gordon S. Linoff

You can buy this book here.

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

Microsoft SQL Server 2016 A Beginner's Guide, Sixth Edition

Description: You can think of this book as a friendly resource for how to learn SQL. The book is a step-by-step guide to the relational database system. At the start of the book, you get an introduction to SQL servers as it discusses how to install, configure and customize them. The book then walks you through stored procedures, user-defined functions, backup, and recovery.

While the book does a great job at covering a wide range of topics, some of the topics like Normal Forms and Entity-relationship model required more thorough explanations. As such, providing dedicated chapters to them would have been more useful for the reader. Otherwise, it is among the top SQL books available in the market.

  • Originally Published: 2016
  • Author: Dusan Petkovic

You can buy this book here.


The SQL books listed here may cater to different audiences. Like, if you’re a beginner, SQL All-In-One For Dummies could be the best bet. If you have a working knowledge of SQL, Cookbook, or SQL Practice Papers will provide a quick reference for all your issues. For someone who wants to have a much deeper understanding of SQL, SQL for Data Analytics makes sense.

People are also reading:

Leave a comment