15 best sql books this year [learn sql for beginners and beyond]

15 Best SQL Books in 2022 [Learn SQL for Beginners and Beyond]

Best SQL Books: What is SQL?

SQL stands for Structured Query Language. Essentially, it is used to communicate with a database and is used to perform tasks like retrieving and updating data.

In fact, it’s the standard language for relational database management systems.

๐Ÿง  Did you know? According to the Information Technology Laboratory of NIST, SQL became standardized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1986.

How many people use SQL?

According to JetBrains, over 7 million people use SQL globally.

7,000,000

SQL developers

What companies use SQL?

Some major companies that use SQL include:

โœ… Microsoft

โœ… Dell

โœ… Stack Overflow

โœ… Accenture

And many more.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you buy something. Read my disclosure for more details.

TLDR: Best SQL Books This Year

๐Ÿ”ฅ Best Overall ๐Ÿ”ฅ
Learning SQL: Generate, Manipulate, and Retrieve Data

๐Ÿ’ฅ Best for Newbies ๐Ÿ’ฅ

SQL QuickStart Guide

๐Ÿ’ธ Best Value ๐Ÿ’ธ

SQL Guide (Quick Study: SQL)

Best SQL Books

Now let’s take a look at the best SQL books of this year.

1. Learning SQL: Generate, Manipulate, and Retrieve Data

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: SQL newbies and experienced SQL developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: fundamentals and advanced features

Not only does Learning SQL teach you SQL basics, but you’ll learn some advanced concepts, too.

โžก๏ธ Learning SQL is one of the best SQL books for fast learners.

Each chapter focuses on a key SQL concept while providing tons of illustrations, examples and exercises. Some of what you’ll learn includes how to:

โœ… generate, manipulate and retrieve data

โœ… create database objects with SQL schema statements

โœ… make datasets interact with queries

โœ… convert and manipulate data

And beyond.

See what SQL developers are saying about Learning SQL:

This is one of the better books I have read. It has just the right amount of details at the right places.

– Agent Excel, SQL Developer


๐Ÿ“น If videos are more your speed, be sure to check out Andrei Neagoie’s course Complete SQL + Databases Bootcamp on Zero to Mastery.

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

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: SQL newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: SQL fundamentals

Unlike Learning SQL, you’ll learn nothing but the fundamentals here.

โžก๏ธ SQL QuickStart Guide is one of the best SQL books for absolute beginners.

You’ll move at a nice, slow pace. You’ll start by learning about the structure of databases like:

โœ… what they are

โœ… how they work

โœ… how to navigate them

Then you’ll learn how to use SQL to retrieve and understand data. You’ll also discover the most important SQL queries and the professional applications of SQL.

If you’re looking for the SQL book for beginners, we think the SQL QuickStart Guide is the way to go.

See what SQL developers are saying about SQL QuickStart Guide:

You can’t make SQL any simpler than this.

– Malick3, SQL Developer


โœจ If you’re looking for interactivity, be sure to check out Educative.io’s course An Introductory Guide to SQL.

3. SQL Guide (Quick Study: SQL)

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: new and experienced SQL developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: overview, databases, order of operations

Unlike every other book on our list, SQL Guide is not actually a book — it’s the baddest-ass 4-page laminated sheet ever printed.

โžก๏ธ SQL Guide is not meant to be a complete immersion in SQL. It’s a quick reference sheet for new and experienced developers alike.

It highlights:

โœ… SQL basics

โœ… databases

โœ… order of operations

โœ… delimiters and operators

โœ… DDL and DML

And that’s pretty much it.

So if you’re on a budget, scoop up this handy little guide.


๐Ÿ’ฅ Learn SQL with the interactive Codecademy course Learn SQL.

4. Practical SQL: A Beginner’s Guide to Storytelling with Data

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: advanced SQL newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: automating tasks, cleaning data errors

Similar to Learning SQL, Practical SQL on No Starch Press is a fast-paced guide to learning how to build and manage your own databases. But Practical SQL actually moves a little bit faster.

โžก๏ธ Practical SQL is one of the best SQL books for advanced newbies.

You’ll start by learning the fundamentals of databases and SQL. Then by analyzing real-world data from government agencies, you’ll discover the tools needed to build databases and quickly access information.

You’ll also learn how to:

โœ… aggregate, sort and filter data

โœ… clean up data errors

โœ… write queries for geographic information systems (GIS)

โœ… automate tasks

And beyond.

The primary tools used in this book are the PostgreSQL database and the pgAdmin interface.

SQL code snippets in Practical SQL

๐Ÿ”ฅ Geena’s Hot Take

We โค๏ธ No Starch Press to the ๐ŸŒ™ and back!

And that includes Practical SQL where you’ll speedily learn the ins and outs of SQL in a fun, engaging way.

If you consider yourself an advanced beginner, this is the book to get.


๐ŸŒŠ Dive into the interactive Skill Track SQL Fundamentals on DataCamp.

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

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced SQL developers, data analysts, data scientists
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: advanced SQL techniques

Unlike other books on our list, SQL for Data Analysis is a must-have guide if you work with SQL databases on a professional level.

โžก๏ธ SQL for Data Analysis published by O’Reilly is one of the best SQL books for experienced SQL developers in data science career fields.

In addition to learning the key steps for preparing your data for analysis, you’ll:

โœ… perform time series analysis

โœ… use functions and operators for text analysis

โœ… detect outliers in your data

โœ… perform A/B testing

And more.


6. SQL Cookbook: Query Solutions and Techniques for All SQL Users

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: new and experienced SQL programmers, analysts, data scientists, database administrators
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: problems, techniques and solutions

Unlike most other books on our list of best SQL books, SQL Cookbook is a resource for experienced developers who want to make their existing SQL skills more useful.

โžก๏ธ SQL Cookbook is one of the best SQL books for learning new problem-solving techniques.

You’ll find tons of examples and techniques you can use to navigate SQL. Examples are written in several flavors of SQL including:

โœ… Oracle

โœ… DB2

โœ… SQL Server

โœ… MySQL

โœ… PostgreSQL

These recipes will prove to be a valuable problem-solving guide for everyday problems you’ll find using SQL. Some examples include common table expressions, window functions, numbers and strings.


7. The Language of SQL

๐Ÿง  Fun fact: RealToughCandy used this book to learn SQL!

The Language of SQL is one of the more gentle introductions to SQL that we’ve found.

That’s because rather than bombarding you with syntax, you’ll focus on general SQL concepts. With that, you’ll find ample examples and clear explanations.

โžก๏ธ The Language of SQL is one of the best SQL books for beginners.

You’ll learn about SQL keywords step-by-step, not all at once like some other books.

Throughout the course of the book, you’ll learn about:

โœ… retrieving data from relational databases

โœ… applying functions and calculations to data

โœ… updating data and creating new tables

โœ… using spreadsheets to display your data

And much, much more.

The Language of SQL covers syntax of SQL Server, MySQL, and Oracle databases.


8. Head First SQL: Your Brain on SQL

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: SQL newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: SQL fundamentals

Head First SQL is one of the best SQL books for beginners.

But how is it different from The Language of SQL or SQL QuickStart Guide?

Good question. Head First books are… well they’re awesome. Instead of walls of text, they use neurobiology, cognitive science and learning theory to teach you new concepts.

Simply put, they use tons (and I mean tons) of visuals and notes to make the material stick better.

โžก๏ธ By the end of Head First SQL, you should be able to query, normalize, and join your data.

First you’ll learn the fundamentals of SQL. You’ll cover a variety of newbie basics such as:

โœ… INSERT statements

โœ… SELECT queries

โœ… indices

โœ… joins

โœ… transactions

And more.

Note: Head First SQL is a bit older than other SQL books on our list. But don’t let that deter you. There’s still plenty of evergreen material you’ll find in this SQL book for beginners.

See what SQL developers are saying about Head First SQL:

… Head First SQL is insanely great!

– Russell Bateman, SQL developer

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

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced SQL developers, database administrators
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: SQL queries

By working with real-world problems, SQL Queries for Mere Mortals gives you hands-on experience so you can create reliable queries for most SQL databases.

โžก๏ธ SQL Queries is one of the best SQL books for experienced developers who want to dive deep into queries.

After a brief review of SQL basics and relational databases, you’ll learn how to:

โœ… apply multiple conditions to one table

โœ… perform logical evaluations

โœ… use unlinked tables

โœ… partition data into windows

And more.


10. The Applied SQL Data Analytics Workshop

Note: This book is the updated version of SQL for Data Analytics.

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: data analytics beginners, experienced SQL developers, database engineers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: data analytics, advanced analytics, analytics technologies

Unlike other books on our list, The Applied SQL Data Analytics Workshop shows you how to use SQL to create business insights.

โžก๏ธ The Applied SQL Data Analytics Workshop is one of the best SQL books for beginners learning data analytics.

You’ll start by learning what data analytics is and why it’s important. From there, you’ll move onto:

โœ… using basic and advanced queries

โœ… interpreting data through aggregate functions

โœ… using SQL queries to export data

โœ… automating tasks to speed up your data analysis workflow

And much more.


11. SQL Pocket Guide: A Guide to SQL Usage

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced SQL developers, data analysts, data scientists, data engineers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: data types, conversions, window functions

This lil’ nasty SQL Pocket Guide published by the ever-awesome O’Reilly is a quick reference for experienced SQL developers.

โžก๏ธ This handy little reference enables developers to easily look up how to perform specific SQL tasks.

You’ll also learn how to update SQL queries to work in SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL and SQLite. Then you’ll discover how to connect Python and R to relational databases.

Another handy feature is that you can look up frequently asked SQL questions.


12. Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes a Day

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: SQL newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: SQL fundamentals

SQL in 10 Minutes teaches you SQL concepts systematically and simply.

โžก๏ธ SQL in 10 Minutes is one of the best SQL books for beginners short on time.

The book is divided into short chapters. Each will teach you a new SQL concept in about 10 minutes.

You’ll start with the absolute basics like data retrieval. Then you’ll graduate to more complex concepts such as:

โœ… joins

โœ… subqueries

โœ… stored procedures

โœ… table constraints

And beyond.


13. SQL Practice Problems: 57 Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Challenges

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: beginner, intermediate and advanced SQL developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: practice problems

SQL Practice Problems offers 57 challenges for beginner, intermediate and advanced SQL developers.

โžก๏ธ SQL Practice Problems is one of the best SQL books for hands-on learners.

You’ll find some of the most commonly found problems in SQL.

Using real-world data, you’ll immerse yourself in practice while learning how to think in SQL. You’ll also learn programming best practices and other tips.


14. Learn SQL Quickly: A Beginnerโ€™s Guide to Learning SQL

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: SQL newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: SQL fundamentals

Learn SQL Quickly teaches absolute beginners how to effectively and efficiently navigate SQL.

โžก๏ธ Learn SQL Quickly is one of the best SQL books for programmers on a budget.

In this beginner’s guide, you’ll learn everything you need to start using SQL. You’ll learn exactly what SQL is an how to use it while also learning the most effective way to set up your database management system.

You’ll also learn how to:

โœ… control the movement of your data

โœ… integrate real-world examples

โœ… work with MySQL

And more.


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

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: impatient developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: data types, functions, procedures

Learn SQL Using MySQL walks you through SQL concepts to get you up and running ASAP.

โžก๏ธ Learn SQL Using MySQL claims you can learn SQL in one day. But is it true?

Sort of.

Are you going to be a master? No. But you will learn how to start applying SQL concepts immediately.

After trying out a series of SQL commands, you’ll start working on an actual guided project.

Some more of what you’ll learn includes:

โœ… common data types

โœ… aggregate functions

โœ… stored procedures and functions

โœ… flow control

And beyond.


Best SQL Books: Conclusion

Today we looked at the best SQL books including:

๐Ÿ”ฅ Best Overall ๐Ÿ”ฅ
Learning SQL: Generate, Manipulate, and Retrieve Data

๐Ÿ’ฅ Best for Newbies ๐Ÿ’ฅ

SQL QuickStart Guide

๐Ÿ’ธ Best Value ๐Ÿ’ธ

SQL Guide (Quick Study: SQL)

So whether you need to learn SQL from the ground up or just need a quick reference guide, we think these are the best SQL books out there.


SQL developers are also reading:



  1. What is SQL?

    SQL stands for Structured Query Language. Essentially, it is used to communicate with a database. In fact, it's the standard language for relational database management systems. SQL is used to perform tasks like retrieving and updating data on a database. It became standardized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1986. You can learn more about SQL in today's post where we look at some of the best SQL books out there.

  2. What are the best SQL books?

    Some of the best SQL books include our overall favorite Learning SQL: Generate, Manipulate and Retrieve Data published by O'Reilly. For beginners, we like SQL QuickStart Guide published by ClydeBank Media. For value, we liked the SQL Guide (Quick Study: SQL). And, because it's on No Starch Press, we love Practical SQL: A Beginner's Guide to Storytelling with Data. You can learn about all of these best SQL books and more in today's post.

  3. What are the best SQL courses?

    Some of the best SQL courses include Andrei Neagoie's course Complete SQL + Databases Bootcamp on Zero to Mastery. Another SQL course that we like for beginners is An Introductory Guide to SQL on Educative.io. Learn SQL is another course on Codecademy Pro that is geared towards beginners. And if you're looking for a SQL Skill Track for data science, check out SQL Fundamentals on DataCamp. If you think books may be more helpful, be sure to check out today's article containing the best SQL books we could find.

  4. What companies use SQL?

    Some major companies that use SQL include Microsoft, Dell, Stack OverFlow, Accenture and many more. And worldwide, SQL is used by over 7 million people. To learn more about SQL, be sure to check out today's article where we show you the best SQL books and courses we could find.

  5. How many people use SQL?

    According to JetBrains, as of 2015 over 7 million people use SQL globally. It's also used in some top companies such as Microsoft and Stack OverFlow. If you're interested in learning SQL, be sure to check out today's article. We're featuring some of the best SQL books and courses out there.