NB I am primarly reviewing the earlier version Inside Microsoft® SQL ServerTM 2005: T-SQL Querying (Solid Quality Learning)
and have only read parts of the newer book to cover various updates. But it is the best tech book I have read, even just a few pages of chapter one showed how much I didn't know. EG that the select statement didn't read (or was processed top to bottom) It starts with the 'from' statement goes down to the 'having' then up to the top for 'Select' and 'Distinct' then back to the bottom to 'Order by' then back to the top for the keyword 'Top'. This is pretty obvious once you know but why is it not in other books or in the course I went on! Anyway superbly written. Don't be put off by the physical query execution and the (query tuning/indexes) sections. I still haven't read most of those two chapters and still rate this as the best tech book I've ever read.
Worth the money. As another reviewer said, I'd buy another when this one falls apart.