If you are one of those people (like me) who wonder why Sql Server does certain things (like ignoring your well-planned-out index), or if your professional pride requires that you deploy sql code which other professionals cannot laugh at, then you *must* understand the basic details of the SS Query Optimizer.
This book is thin, omits all of the traditional 'fluff' abstractions, and delivers the details through 'work-along-side-me' examples. The author is not-so-much writing a book as training a 'junior' administrator on how to understand queries and their execution. It is a streamlined training session on one specific topic, and can be consumed (and digested) in a few sit-down sessions.
The level of detail is much finer than any introductory book on Sql administration (or programming), but does not try to match the atomicity of Delaney's "Inside Microsoft Sql Server 2005" series. (Delaney's books are excellent academic achievements which will make you dizzy, lightheaded (possibly nauseous) at the first reading.)
I read Fritchey's book on a Friday evening, and spent the weekend working the examples on my own system. By Monday I was comfortable with troubleshooting many weak t-sql queries at the office, and it gave me the experience I needed to start practicing on creating 'useful' indexes.
This book gives a very good explanation on the topic of 'selectivity', which is the single most important principle of indexing in Sql Server.
The book is a good way to 'get your feet wet' with using Sql Profiler (rather than waiting until serious issues require you to learn on-the-job).
The book is a required follow-up book to the 70-444 (Self Based Training Kit) for Sql Server 2005 DBA certification. I got 2 answers correct because Fritchey's book taught me something the 70-444 SBTK forgot to explain.
This book is also available as an e-book (which I also have) but I suggest getting the paperback version because you will want to flip back pages to compare examples ... something aggrevating to do with an e-book.
1. The editors should be shot! There are spelling errors, missing letters, and punctuation goofs in several paragraphs causing you to stop, rewind and procede again to get Fritchey's point. The proofreaders let the author down on this one.
2. The book says examples are available on a website, but I could not find them there (possibly I am to stupid to locate them).