I am still working through this book, but I wanted to share my insights on the book thus far. What strikes me most about the author, Rick Morelan, is that he is down to earth (refreshing) in his teaching approach and presentation, and places a high value on his students' (readers) time. He wastes absolutely no time jumping right into some extremely practical examples of how SQL works. He follows up lessons with practical labs/exercises, which help solidify one's understanding of new material. This method works really well with my learning style. As a sidenote, I realize there is more to SQL than what is presented, but the author's intention is not to cover every aspect of SQL. However, the core nuts and bolts that are in this book definitely help start the learning flywheel. I have another SQL book, but it was a bit over my head as a beginner. At this early stage, I needn't be bogged down in trivial aspects of SQL, but rather the core fundamentals, which are clearly explained in this book.
Important knowledge is presented in a succinct but very illuminating fashion. The labs/exercises help to solidify the new knowledge. I also have the accompanying DVD (sold separately, but worth it if you are a visual learner) to this book, and it marries up nicely with the book. On the whole, just seeing the birds eye view of how SQL operates and how things fit together will be a good platform for launching into more advanced topics, or diving deeper into topics already covered.
I am a one-man IT department, but to date have very little knowledge of SQL and SQL Server (not my responsibility, but I am quite interested, thus my purchase of this book!). I have been fairly intimidated about learning SQL Server, especially about where to begin and where to turn for reliable and helpful beginner's information (since there are so many options out there!). I am glad I selected this series. I have a good feeling Mr. Morelan's resources will save me a lot of time ... and money ... as I continue forward with his series! Well done to the authors!