Head First SQL
Your Brain on SQL -- A Learner's Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: August 2007
Pages: 610

Is your data dragging you down? Are your tables all tangled up? Well we've got the tools to teach you just how to wrangle your databases into submission. Using the latest research in neurobiology, cognitive science, and learning theory to craft a multi-sensory SQL learning experience, Head First SQL has a visually rich format designed for the way your brain works, not a text-heavy approach that puts you to sleep.

Maybe you've written some simple SQL queries to interact with databases. But now you want more, you want to really dig into those databases and work with your data. Head First SQL will show you the fundamentals of SQL and how to really take advantage of it. We'll take you on a journey through the language, from basic INSERT statements and SELECT queries to hardcore database manipulation with indices, joins, and transactions. We all know "Data is Power" - but we'll show you how to have "Power over your Data". Expect to have fun, expect to learn, and expect to be querying, normalizing, and joining your data like a pro by the time you're finished reading!

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oreillyHead First SQL
 
4.2

(based on 5 reviews)

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    (4)

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (4)
  • Well-written (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Novice (4)

    Reviewed by 5 customers

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    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Perfect for SQL beginners

    By Eddie

    from Mississauga, Canada

    About Me Support Analyst

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Clearly Defines Sql Code
    • Concise
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate
      • Novice

      Comments about oreilly Head First SQL:

      Having worked in a support role for many years, I've been exposed to SQL while working with software developers but on a very basic level. Through the company, I took a 1 week introduction course to SQL and unfortunately, my duties lead me away from SQL and most of it was forgotten.

      Years later, I decided to learn SQL again. I went to my local bookstore and went through the different SQL books and a lot of them just didn't explain the basics like why would you put a ';' at the end of a statement. I really wanted that ground level basic understanding of SQL and luckily I found Head First SQL!

      What I really love about this book is how it clearly explains a line of code. There are a lot of exercises which makes you go over basic concepts over and over again. You really do get the concepts and feel comfortable about them. I feel confident that I understand SQL.

      I'm still going through the book but so far it's been fun and rewarding. It's an excellent book and I highly recommend it.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Learn or Re-learn Sql !

      By Dr Entropy

      from Scottsdale, AZ

      About Me Designer, Developer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Head First SQL:

        I needed to refresh myself on SQL, and instead I not only did that but learned some new things too. But yeah, its all here. How to write queries and sub-queries, table normalization, etc. In a nice friendly style that really does stick with you as advertised.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Very helpful

        By abell

        from Germany

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy to understand
        • Well-written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Novice
          • Student

          Comments about oreilly Head First SQL:

          I use it for better understanding of MySQL.

          (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          fast to pickup

          By haha

          from seattle, wa

          About Me Developer

          Pros

          • Easy to understand

          Cons

          • Too basic

          Best Uses

          • Novice

          Comments about oreilly Head First SQL:

          wonderful bk if you want to pick up sql in a day

          (31 of 34 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          SQL made interesting

          By David Heinecke

          from Undisclosed

          Comments about oreilly Head First SQL:

          I should probably mention up front that I am not really a member of the demographic that this book was written for (that being the fairly new students to relational database theory), but I liked this book nonetheless. What really endears the book to me, and in fact, the entire Head First series, is the geek humor that the author sprinkles liberally throughout the book. Wordplay, funny photo captions, and entertaining exercises abound to make sure that the difficult task of teaching something as dry as an introduction to SQL is as enjoyable and down-right entertaining as possible.

          If you are familiar with other books in the Head First series, then you pretty much know what you are in for with this book. If you are not familiar with this series (and honestly, if not then why aren't you?) then you are in for somewhat of a different experience than your typical beginner level technical book. For starters, the book uses lots of visuals and graphics to explain things. If the topic is learning how a select statement works, then the author hits you with building a dating service to illustrate the points. If the difference between sub-selects and outer joins is the topic, then the author drags both out onto the metaphorical stage to have a debate over why you should use one or the other. All of these implements, from outlandish scenarios to anthropomorphic database constructs are cleverly woven together to make sure that the information the author is presenting sticks to your grey matter. If you do the many and varied exercises in each chapter, then you really can learn this stuff and have a fun time doing it.

          The book doesn't assume that you have had any real experience with databases and it even has a chapter explaining why you would want to use a database in the first place. The content of the book also stays away from any database _specific information and sticks to generic SQL commonalities: selects, alter tables, updates, deletes, where-clauses, joins, sub-selects, aggregate functions, ordering, etc. Constraints, views, and some rudimentary security concerns are touched on, but not to any great degree.

          The appendices are really a collection of esoteric topics that he author calls 'left-overs'. There is a quick section on PHP (which seems a little out of place in such a general SQL programming book), GUI tools for databases, a list of reserved words, some additional information on data types, etc. There is a larger section for how to download and install a MySQL database, which is as close as the book comes to endorsing one database vendor.

          As with most books, there are a few minor things that bothered me about this book in particular, and about the Head First series as a whole. For starters, the pictures and glyphs that the book uses get somewhat redundant after the first few times that you see them. Chapter after chapter, you see the same actors in the same or slightly different poses. In many cases, the only difference seems to be the text in the dialog bubbles that are attached to the portraits. I joked with a colleague of mine that we should have a caption contest and write our own dialog for a good number of the examples in the book. This seems to be a systemic problem with the series itself rather than a problem with Head First SQL exclusively, because I own a number of the other books in the series and they also use many of the same graphics and photos and actors in those books. Perhaps, just perhaps, it is a fiendishly devised mnemonic device to see the same images time and time again, but it strikes me as a tad redundant and a little boring after seeing the same images used to explain different topics.

          In the final analysis of the book, I have to recommend this book to anyone who may be just starting out on learning SQL programming. Don't expect this book to be the last book you will need to purchase on the subject if you are aiming to be a DBA, or even an enterprise developer, but it should definitely be the first one you buy.

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