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Head First SQL: Your Brain on SQL -- A Learner's Guide
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Head First SQL: Your Brain on SQL -- A Learner's Guide (Head First Series)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  237 ratings  ·  21 reviews
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 te ...more
ebook, 610 pages
Published August 1st 2007 by O'Reilly Media (first published 2007)
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Julie Dill
Apr 01, 2008 Julie Dill rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English majors escaping the poverty of listening to their heart instead of their wallet
Computer tech manuals are drier than a popcorn fart, am I right? However, I'm only a quarter of the way through with this book, and I can safely declare it the best database programming language book ever. Holy crap on a cracker, there are decent works of fiction I'd put down to read this tech manual.

In addition to being a tech writing genius, Author Lynn Beighley also happens to have an MFA in creative writing. And she rocks ass. I don't give a squat about SQL, and were it not required for my
This book made learning SQL fun. I mean, I probably would have fun learning SQL anyway, but everything about this book is a good time. The examples included such practical applications as making a database to track clowns in order to help your clown-phobic friends. Clearly an introductory text, but that's the point.
Kasper Christiansen
You can save a lot of time by just using Google. This book takes its sweet time explaining concepts that are not that complicated.
Jamie Henderson
Before reading this book, I knew almost no SQL. Head First SQL was a very fun entry into the world of talking to tables. Despite my near complete ignorance, I was very quickly creating tables and extracting information from them. I found the explanations very clear and the examples entertaining. Once or twice an exercise would throw me for a loop; but there was enough information in the book to figure them out.

Perhaps most surprising to me was that this is not just a beginner's book. The last ha
Bonnie Vasko
This is a worthwhile book to get started with for learning general purpose SQL. This book is not specifically on mySQL, but that's what the author uses throughout the book.

Here are the few complaints that I have: If your totally brand new to SQL, it may not be clear that you can populate tables from the sample code provided at the book's website. More than one reviewer mentioned that on

I found that the code from the website dropped off in the later tables on Joins, Subqueries, contr
Needed to brush up on my SQL (specifically, the DB2 variety), so I picked up this book. After the first couple hundred pages, technical errors started popping up everywhere: apparently + is the operator for addition and subtraction. And "birthday > '1950-03-20' AND birthday < '1960-03-20'" means a birthday between 1970 and 1980. The book is awash in these.

There's a lot of testing before teaching, where they ask how you think a task can be accomplished, and then explain the actual syntax of

I got this book to brush up on SQL since I haven't really had to work with it too much since I was in college.

On the plus side:

The book provides a url where you can experiment with some queries without setting up your own database/tables while you're going through the examples and I thought it provided a decent overview of commands/terminology/etc.

On the negative side:

I did find some technical errors, which weren't too difficult to spot/overcome, but my biggest pet peeve is how the book would as
I've been dabbling with SQL at work and figured I really needed to know what I was doing. I follow syntax relatively easily, so I've been able to get an idea of what was happening, but I needed to know why what I did worked. Years ago, I used Head First HTML and CSS as an introduction to coding and really enjoyed how it approached teaching, so I didn't hesitate to turn to this one for SQL. The Head First series teaches the nuts and bolts and is entertaining in the process.
I had zero experience with SQL prior to this book - I really liked the hands-on activities and the overall format. It was pretty helpful - and I'm likely to seek out other books in the series if they cover the things I want/need to learn.
The first book I read from the Head first series. It was definitely a different approach which I enjoyed quite a bit. The only thing I wish they did better is providing better downloadable material to go along with it.
Starts out really basic, too basic for me.

More annoyingly, they're using lower quality copies of the same stock photos from the previous Head First books - most look like photocopies of pages from previous books. I'm guessing that the next edition will be produced on the mimeograph machine in the publisher's basement.
Great format for learning this sort of thing, but there are tons of technical errors to be found. Many of them are obvious typos that can be sorted out and avoided, but for some it took 15 minutes of googling to sort out.
Too many useless exercises that are supposed to entice thinking but leads to nowhere because the queries are not supposed to work. They also sometimes tell you to do something before telling you how.
Carolina Bento
It is excellent as a beginners guide and is also suitable for people who want to review and refresh their memory on specific aspects of sql.
Ryan Ringler
Definitely caught a few mistakes in the book, but overall a good introduction. I wish they covered indexing a bit more though.
Nick Hodges
Very good run down on basics of SQL. Excellent for total newbies up to folks (like me) who want a refresher.
Surprisingly, this book was incredibly helpful. A very practical guide, though I wouldn't rely on this for theory.
Snoopy Brasil
Boa introdução à SQL. Não há grande aprofundamento, mas fornece uma boa base com leitura fácil.
A great tool to learn basic SQL. Simple text that helps to make the concepts really stick.
Read for a class. Good intro book.
Genicio Zanetti
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Lynn Beighley is the author of dozens of tech books and even more articles. She's had lots of her short stories published in lots of places. She's an editor for Manning Publications and she's currently writing a YA novel that she hopes will encourage girls to try a bit of computer programming. She got an MFA a few years back. She's on twitter as @lynnbeighley and would enjoy hearing from you.
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