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What SQL Server Books Do You Recommend

By Brad McGehee,

For nearly 11 years now, one of the most common questions people e-mail me about is what SQL Server books do I recommend for the novice DBA. A decade ago, there were many, many titles available, and it was easy for me to recommend books. I had several favorites for many generic categories: “Introduction to SQL Server Administration”, “Introduction to Transact-SQL”, “SQL Server Certification”, and “Advanced SQL Server”.

However, over the past 11 years, as each new version of SQL Server has been released, there have been fewer and fewer SQL Server titles published. This is in spite of the fact that the number of DBAs has grown significantly. So why are there fewer SQL Server books being published?

There are many reasons. Some of them include:

  • A huge amount of SQL Server content is freely available on the Internet;
  • Higher book prices;
  • Poorly written books put together in haste that harm the reputation of all technical books;
  • Authors generally don’t earn enough money from writing technical books to make it worth their time.

In fact, I believe that the biggest reason why fewer books are being published is because many of the good authors have given up writing entirely, which means that there are fewer good books to choose from.

While it is true that there is a lot of free SQL Server content available on the Internet, I am still one of those people who like to curl up with a real, physical book, and read it from beginning to end. And based from the e-mails I get, I am not the only one who feels this way.

Today, because of the lack of a wide selection of quality SQL Server titles, when I get questions about my favorite books, I have a much more difficult time recommending SQL Server books, especially those designed for novices (although there are a number of advanced titles that I regularly recommend).

So my question to you is this: what SQL Server titles have you read that you can highly recommend to novice DBAs? Share with us your favorite SQL Server books, and why you recommend them.

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