If you need a painless introduction to SQL, this book is excellent. I now work in db administration and development, and this was my first SQL book ever. The explanations are clear, accurate, and try to cover the most popular DBMSs on the market (mainly SQL Server and Oracle), though the book doesn't usually mention which SQL statements are supported in Access and which ones aren't. This is understandable, but an irritating omission nonetheless. I also had to refer to other sources to get a clear explanation of joins; I found the book to be inadequate in this respect, but apart from that it is excellent.