Title: Head First SQL: Your Brain on SQL
Author: Lynn Beighley
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2008
Aimed at: Novice database programmers
Pros: Uses the informal Head First approach
Cons: Very slow pace and limited to MySQL
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot
The first thing to say about this book is that it is one of O'Reilly's “Head First” titles which means it has a very distinctive approach to presenting facts and concepts. In my opinion it’s an anarchic mess and I don't find the hand written notes, diagrams, quizzes, photos, jokes and comments at all helpful. If, on the other hand, you like this sort of approach then you will want to consider this title as a way of learning about SQL but I have to warn you that it comes with quite a few typos and is very slow. It crawls along and explains things mostly by example rather then by careful explanation – occasionally you just wish that the author would just tell you how it all works! You also need to be warned that despite the general title of the book it deals specifically with MySQL. Even though it is product specific the examples aren’t really step-by-step and don’t build from one chapter to the next. In fact how to install and work with MySQL is only described in an appendix. Also notice that it really is just about SQL with no reference to using databases from any other language.
This is not the best of the “Head First” titles but you still might find it an approach that fits in with the way you want to learn.
<Reviewed in VSJ>