Recommendations wanted: SQL books

Dan Hanks danhanks at
Mon Apr 11 09:05:13 MDT 2005

On Apr 10, 2005 3:51 PM, Doran Barton <fozz at> wrote:
> Not long ago, Charles Curley proclaimed...
> > I'm looking for a good intro to SQL for someone already familiar with
> > computers & some programming experience. I have someone who needs to
> > get up to speed quickly.
> Anything by Joe Celko or C.J. Date

I find that kind of amusing, as from reading Date, Darwen and Pascal's
works (, I believe I'd be accurate in saying that any
of those three would certainly dislike being associated in any way
with Celko.

<soap box>
But I'd second what has been said in another post on this thread. You
can start with the trade books and learn SQL to your hearts content,
but I'd recommend starting with the fundamentals. There are
practically 0 products out there (including Oracle, Sybase, Imformix,
SQL Server et al) that faithfully implement the relational model.
</soap box>

Date's book is lengthy and is usually used as a college text, but
would be a great introduction to the theory that underlies database
systems. O'Reilly will soon be publishing another book by Date,
entitled "Database in Depth" (silly title, if you ask me, I'd wager
Date thinks the same). See
>From what I've seen of it it will be a fantastic introduction (without
so much of the college-text rigor of his other database intro book) to
the relational model. When it comes out I'd recommend it to anyone who
works with databases in any way.

Pascal's book "Practical Issues in Database management" is also quite good.

Another book from O'Reilly worth mentioning is "SQL tuning", which
offers an effective, multi-vendor-capable approach to tuning SQL

Finally, while I realize the business need to "come up to speed
quickly" (and perhaps that's where Celko and co. will come in handy)
you'll really be doing the person a disservice by not also pointing
them to the materials to understand the fundamentals (set theory and
predicate logic) underneath today's "relational" databases, such as
offered by Date, Darwen, and Pascal (among others).


-- Dan

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