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I am looking for recommendations on database books. Ideally, I would like a book spending no more than 1/4 covering the basics of the abstract / theoretical stuff, and then delves into the practical aspects.

If the relevant "Dummies book" is good, this would be fine, as long as people here would endorse it. Brownie points for books available on Kindle.


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closed as off-topic by TomTom, TheCleaner, ceejayoz, Michael Hampton Nov 4 '14 at 15:55

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Your primary focus on the database is in the deployment and maintenance, right? If not, you may want to ask this question or search for a similar one on stackoverflow... – Paul Sonier Jul 8 '09 at 18:23
What database flavor do you need to admin? It's touhg to get a book to delve into practical admin work without knowing what thing to admin. – Jim B Jul 8 '09 at 20:22
This seems like a poll question. Shouldn't it be community wiki? – T. Marshall Aug 21 '09 at 20:51
Actually it is not a poll question, it is the recommendation for learning material. And this is off topic here - lets get it closed. – TomTom Nov 4 '14 at 14:17
up vote 4 down vote accepted

My two favorite have been Database Design for Mere Mortals and SQL Queries for Mere Mortals by Michael J Hernandez which Amazon does have available for the Kindle.

+1 - I was just going to add "Database Design for Mere Mortals" here. I'll edit your post and throw in the Amazon links. "Database Design..." is a very, very good book. It focuses on the theory of relational database design from a practical, non-mathematical perspective, and doesn't focus (or, indeed, even hardly mention) any specific RDBMS software. I can't speak to the other book except to say that it's probably as good as the first since Michael Hernandez wrote it too – Evan Anderson Jul 8 '09 at 18:36
First thanks for the edits, I didn't think to put the actual links in. Second when I was green sysadm dealing with db issues I read 50 pages of Database Design. Went to work the following day, pointed at a table that was using email addresses as the primary key and said "add a INT(11) column to the front of that table." The next day queries went from 30 minutes to 30 seconds. That's the strength of both books. They give you the tools and concepts to go solve your own problems. If the OP wants "how to admin Mysql" these aren't the books, but IMHO they are better than that book would be. – kashani Jul 8 '09 at 19:46
I think he's looking more for admin basic than design basics, SQL queries would be good, datbase design is good for thowing at devs and telling them to read it before you start telling me my server sucks (as kashani's example demonstrates) – Jim B Jul 8 '09 at 20:21
Thank you guys. I just pulled the trigger on the Kindle edition of DB Design. I want to think through how to structure a db for a new business idea, so I think that's what I need. – JDelage Jul 9 '09 at 12:31

I found the "SQL Server for Dummies" book to be pretty good. It's the only "Dummies" book I've ever read, but a friend recommended it when I asked about a good intro to RDBMSs.


The "The Manga Guide to Databases" is supposed to actually be pretty good.


I'm a big fan of Databases Demystified (link to the Kindle edition) because of its excellent db logic questions at the end of each chapter. It's also well written and breaks down all of the concepts surrounding databases into an easy to understand format.


I also recommend "Database Design for Mere Mortals" and for a fun quick bit about getting your head around normalization Gay marriage: the database engineering perspective and a few other issues, is well worth your time.

I haven't yet had to learn much about databases, and practically all I have learned I learned from that post on same-sex marriage. – TRiG Aug 6 '11 at 2:18

Have a look at

Databases DeMYSTiFieD

It covers all of the fundamentals. Not much depth, however. Good if you want to get an overview on topics related RDBMS.


One of my college courses years ago used the first edition of "Database Solutions" by Connoly & Begg (link below). We breezed through it in a month and then got on to other stuff, but I remember it being a good intro.

Covers all the 1st, 2nd and 3rd normal form stuff; all the RDBMS stuff you'd expect.

Amazon link


The Essence of Databases is very short but is one of my favourites, a bit old now and not available on kindle unfortunately. If you want a rule of thumb the shorter the better, huge database books tend to focus on mathematical theory which practically you don't need.


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