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So, what book do you recommend?

Another excellent blogger here on SSC, Jeffery Yao, has posted up an interesting idea  http://www.sqlservercentral.com/blogs/jeffrey_yao/archive/2009/04/20/database-administration-literature-criticism.aspx .

As a PASS chapter leader I often get asked the question, What book do you recommend for SQL Server? Several years ago you could recommend a single book to cover ALL SQL Server topics in depth.

Today you really need to ask specifically what topic you are trying to learn about, and if you are just starting, a seasoned pro trying to learn more or updating your skills to the next platform.

When I start looking for a book on a topic I start with authors I know and see if they have written on the subject. If that fails me I usually fall back to Amazon and read reviews there. But that is rarely the last step I have to take.

At some point I drive down to the old brick and mortar store and spend hours walking, reading and eventually buying something.

There is another option I’m trying to leverage, book giveaways at the user groups. I have given away a few books at the chapter meetings but this year I'm trying to be a little more proactive about getting training materials together to help out those looking for work or may be soon.

One of the things I plan on doing is getting everyone that gets a book to write a little review and maybe do a little presentation about it so we can share it with the group, and the SQL Server community as a whole.

I’m also trying to read every book that comes through the door, I don’t know if I’ll be able to before they go up as giveaways, but my intention is to try. The reason is two fold, one I can brush up on stuff I don’t use every day and help write reviews for the members that choose to participate in the review process.


So, the list of authors I read and recommend come in two flavors, technically sound and great communicators. I’ve gone back to these authors and their books time and time again. I’m sure there are a ton of other good authors, some I have read and missed and others that have written on technologies I personally don’t use regularly.

I will follow up this list with some specific books for 2005/2008 in the near future, covering what is on my book shelf that I have read and recommended to others.


Until then… The Short List:

Joe Celko

Kalen Delaney

Kimberly L. Tripp

Itzik Ben-Gan

Kevin Kline

Louis Davidson

Brian Knight

Robert Vieira

SQL Man of Mystery

Wes Brown is a PASS chapter leader and SQL Server MVP. He writes for SQL Server Central and maintains his blog at http://www.sqlserverio.com. Wes is Currently serving as a Senior Lead Consultant at Catapult Systems. Previous experiences include Product Manager for SQL Litespeed by Quest software and consultant to fortune 500 companies. He specializes in high availability, disaster recovery and very large database performance tuning. He is a frequent speaker at local user groups and SQLSaturdays.


Posted by Steve Jones on 20 April 2009

A good list to me, though if you were learning T-SQL, I'd look to Ben-Gan first (for SQL Server), and for admin, Brian Knight's books. Though for admin, any book covers about 80% of the stuff in every other book.

Posted by Dugi on 10 June 2009

what about you Steve ...? Why you are not in list!?

Yea I agree for the T-SQL that Itzik Ben-Gan is recommended!

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