Books to Learn SQL Server Performance Tuning and Database Design

I get a lot of requests about which books are helpful to learn performance tuning and database design. I totally get that – I still like learning with books. It doesn’t mean training videos or blogs are any less cool. They can all work together.


You don’t need to read all the books in each topic. Browse the book descriptions and look through the free PDFs to find the best starting place for your own goals.

SQL Server Query Performance Tuning Books

Grant Fritchey has written terrific books on learning performance tuning:

Jonathan Kehayias and Erin Stellato wrote an e-book on wait statistics, which are critical for perf tuning a workload:

Louis Davidson and Tim Ford wrote a book on using wait statistics and even more DMVs:

SQL Server Database Design Books - Learn from Louis

Louis Davidson has written the book on relational database design in SQL Server. He’s written the book more than once, and it looks like he’s giving us an updated version for 2016 soon, too!

As of this moment, the most recent version is:

Note that this includes “implementation”. Louis thinks a lot about how things work in SQL Server and takes a practical approach. His website has a lot of his presentation materials as free downloads if you’d like to get a sample of his work before buying the book.