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SQL in Easy Steps

At $14.95 CDN (approximately $10.00 U.S.), SQL in Easy Steps is very reasonably priced for a computer book. If you're anything like me, you probably have quite a few doorstop-sized books for which you paid a fortune only to read once. It's a refreshing change to find a book that doesn't cost so much. That said, the low price does come at a cost that users new to SQL/MySQL may not want to pay: gaping holes in content.

The jacket claims that this book will accommodate a variety of users, from students on a limited budget to self-employed individuals with no formal training. While SQL in Easy Steps is very reasonably priced, students and small business owners will have a hard time doing anything without previous database administration experience. The lone administrative example is hidden near the end of the book and isn't detailed as well as the rest of the examples:

	GRANT FULL PRIVILEGES ON *.* to mony@localhost 

Furthermore, anyone who gained access to the monty@localhost account could do whatever he pleased, creating databases and tables, granting users whatever permissions they wanted... This is not a good way to secure your system.

It seemed strange that the book would discuss importing data using the source command and not talk about backing up data using mysqldump. (MySQL is used throughout the book, though other databases are covered here and there).

Also missing is any mention of using MySQL with PHP, Perl, or other languages. Some might consider the missing discussion on PHP/Perl a good thing, since it means the book just sticks to the basics, but its exclusion reduces the book's value to someone interested in using MySQL to run her business. Though hacker types might not mind using the mysql client to do everything, most small business owners new to MySQL would probably prefer to set up a Web-based interface for their frontend.

With all these problems, you might be wondering why I would review/recommend the book at all. Though perhaps not as useful as it could be for users completely new to SQL, it's a handy book if you already know a little about SQL administration but are a little shaky on SQL joins and the myriad of select options. What's particularly good about this book is that following every documented keyword is a good example. This is one of the few books I've found with such extensive examples. I also like the fact that the MySQL Open Source database is used over its non-Free relatives. Some examples have a sidebar which tells how Oracle or Access differ, which makes SQL in Easy Steps useful to users of non-Free databases.

Unlike my experience with the Dummies series of books, I actually paid attention to the warning/tips icons. The icons are different enough that they're recognizable at a glance, and most of the tips are useful.

It's likely that the publisher/author considered administration, but purposefully left it out because of the variety of ways available to perform administration tasks on various databases. Unfortunately, the topic of administration really cannot be avoided for a book like this to be truly useful to someone who has never touched a database before and is planning on actually using MySQL/SQL. The inexpensive price makes the book very attractive, but I wouldn't recommend it as an introduction to MySQL because of the gaps in administration. As a second book, however, it's really handy for referencing simple SQL keywords.

Recent comments

13 Aug 2007 06:36 Avatar superhero776

I got it!
Cool! I got it! Thanks for the explanation!

06 Aug 2007 16:31 Avatar Drag0nMaster

Good Review
Thanks for the book review, I'm going to be taking a SQL class this fall so this should give me a good head start.

31 Aug 2006 04:39 Avatar CollegeStudent

One More for the Record
Ben Forta wrote a similar book, 'Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes'. It's database vendor independant and isn't "dumbed-down" as well.


daniel _AT_ (

22 Jul 2006 03:34 Avatar CrazyGFreak

Re: the book

> it's cheap but still, is it really worth
> the money?
> henrik

the book is very nice. I bought it...I like this sql book...good and fair price. More MySQL Books ( My favourite Book about MySQL is High Performance MySQL
By Jeremy D. Zawodny, Derek Balling. It is not for beginners, but the best Mysql book I ever got in hands.


21 Feb 2006 08:52 Avatar bachcottage

Is this advertising a book?
This should be on amaz0n.c0m.


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