Monday, September 19, 2005

What books are on your bookshelf

Which Oracle books are on your bookshelf? Which books do you use/refer to on a regular basis (other than the Oracle manuals)? Are the books on the 'Links I Like' page your bookshelf?

My main bookshelf is online, the Oracle documentation set. I travel with 2.73 gig of Oracle documentation covering Oracle 7.3 on up. I use that all of the time.

In addition - I have every book on the links I like (I won't review/recommend a book without having read it). The transaction processing book isn't used much anymore (I have those concepts down). I refer to Practical Oracle8i by Jonathan Lewis from time to time - to look up something I know he said and refresh my memory. Cary's book Optimizing Oracle Performance was a cool read - it is nice to read something you agree with so much of.

I was a technical editor/reviewer on Mastering Oracle PL/SQL (another "yes, yes, I agree" book for me) as well as Effective Oracle Database 10g Security by Design.  The Effective Security is another book I use as a reference from time to time.

Oracle8i Internal Services for Waits, Latches, Locks and Memory is another one I've had for a long time and still refer to today (very short, perhaps the smallest book I have).

Oracle Insights - just for fun and a little education, but for fun.

Oracle SQL*Plus, The Definitive Guide 2nd Edition - definitely.  I was a tech editor/reviewer on that book and wrote a blurb for the back.  I wrote words to the effect (don't have it with me here at Oracle Open World) "I learned a thing or two new about SQL*Plus reviewing this book" - and I live in SQL*Plus. Good stuff if you want to master that command line interface.

On my bookshelf you would also find a lot of books not related to Oracle.  Lots of Science Fiction, some mystery/detective stories and the like.

What am I reading right now? I never read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged so I'm going through it now.  It is big (if you think they used a small font on expert one on one Oracle - my copy of atlas shrugged beats it hands down).  Just got started on it on the way out to OOW.



Anonymous sokrates said....

just wanted to the first

Mon Sep 19, 10:43:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous kurtvm said....

Apart from books mentioned above, I think one of the most underestimated books is 'the art and science of Oracle performance tuning' by Christopher Lawson. It's fun to read (like Mogens' book, it contains a lot of dba war stories) - and contains very useful methods for sql tuning.

ps - I'm not Christopher Lawson ;-)

Mon Sep 19, 10:56:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Is there a book you would recommend on Backup and Recovery?

Mon Sep 19, 11:33:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Robert Freeman did a good RMAN book with Oracle Press.

Mon Sep 19, 11:38:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Kashif said....

Building Oracle XML applications by Steve Muench - oldie but a goodie, especially for Oracle XML programmers.

Oracle 9i Java Programming - definitely a worthwile buy for Oracle Java programmers...

Korn Shell Programming (O'Reilly) - good buy for those new to KSH, like I was when I bought it.

But I can't leave this post without saying that buying technical books is a risky endeavor, especially if you consider that a lot of books are heavily product-version dependent and get outdated fairly quickly. Also, not knowing the author may come back to bite you since info presented in the book may not be accurate, so, always start with the documentation, as I keep reminding myself.


Mon Sep 19, 12:23:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Robert Vollman said....

I agree 100%: my main books are the electronic manuals.

Books on my shelf:
- PL/SQL Programming 10g (Urman)
- Expert One-on-One Oracle
- Oracle 9i Performance Tuning Tips & Techniques
- Oracle 8i Complete Reference
- Optimizing Oracle Performance

At Home:
- Oracle Insights
- Oracle Wait Interface
- Date's RDBMS book (forget which one).

Mon Sep 19, 12:27:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Scot said....

The relatively new oracle jdbc programming book by R M Menon is pretty good. I've only gone through a couple chapters so far, but it covers everything well and I am understanding and learning the material. Look forward to finishing.

Agreed with the comment that many books in our profession get outdated. I have many on a shelf at home that I don't know that I'll ever open again.

Orson Scott Card is a great science fiction author that you may want to check out if you haven't already.

Mon Sep 19, 01:00:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Bill S. said....

Work bookshelf (it's kind of a community one) has SQL*Loader (O'Reilly), 9i Web Development, DBA Handbook from Osborne, Oracle Performance Tuning from Oracle Press, and Oracle Enterprise Manager 101 from Osborne. Oh yeah, and some book called Expert One-on-One from some guy named Kyte :-D.
If you like Atlas Shrugged, I think you'll like The Fountainhead as well. I'm not usually into books that deal with architecture, but I though it was exceptional enough to read several times. I definitely liked Atlas Shrugged (which lead me to The Fountainhead).

Mon Sep 19, 01:14:00 PM EDT  

Blogger ronald said....

Ayn Rand's the Fountainhead is one I would like to recommend.

Mon Sep 19, 02:45:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Mark said....

A couple of recommendations

- Proudly Serving My Corporate Masters (Adam Barr). Very well written perspectives on working for Microsoft during the '90s. Lots of reflection on Open Source, Middleware, MS as an organisation. Reads well even if you're within the Oracle world. Check out Adam's blog at as well

- In Search Of Stupidity (Merrill R. Chapman); lots of stories about software that's no longer with us, how most of them are no longer here because of marketing mistakes rather than technical issues. The story around Ashton Tate and DBase is particularly good.

- Oracle Insights : Tales of the Oaktable (Mogens Norgard et al). Second your recommendation Tom, a very entertaining book. I finished this one off on two long train journeys, not often you read an Oracle book cover to cover in a couple of sessions (except yours of course ;-))

And as for non-Oracle books - any of the Culture novels by Iain Banks (are these popular over in the USA?)

Mon Sep 19, 03:03:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Oliver said....

for the ones of us with project deadlines: "the mythical man month" from F. Brooks. 30 years old now, but a must read for every project manager and of course the vi reference ;-)
The new Kyte, as soon as it ships in Germany

Mon Sep 19, 04:36:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Doug said....

Since you pointed out that you find the full Oracle documentation set handy to have loaded onto your laptop, what are your thoughts, as an author, about e-books?

Are there any plans to issue electronic versions of your books?

Mon Sep 19, 05:43:00 PM EDT  

Blogger JamieF said....

I have a bit of a mixed bag.

Obviously I have Expert one on one Oracle.

Others in my inventory are:

Mastering Oracle 8i (Freeman)
Oracle9i DBA Handbook (oracle press)
Oracle 9i OCA exam guide (oracle press)
Oracle 9i OCP preformance & tuning exam guide (oracle press)

Seeing as we mainly use Oracle 8.1.6 I have bought the top two fairly recently and they are what I am using most frequently at the moment.

Maybe I should have waited a month or two for your new book Tom. Doh!

Mon Sep 19, 08:06:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Robert said....

Just curious..any Oracle books written by the engineer(s) that actually built the server ?
How come those big-name guys, Ken Jacobs, Bamford, Mendelson never published a book ?

Mon Sep 19, 08:43:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Rachel said....

When you finish Atlas Shrugged, I'd love to discuss it with you. I read it first in college, and have re-read it every couple of years since.

Mystery authors: been reading that genre since I was 16. What school of mystery do you like? I could give you enough suggestions to make you one of Amazon's most favorite customers :)

Mon Sep 19, 08:49:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Joel Garry said....

Read Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead years ago, generally had the impression that Objectivism is, um, "quaint." But then again, Greenspan is an Objectivist, and he does a darn good job.

In small world trivia, I worked with George Tate's ex-wife (she was an operations manager).

Mon Sep 19, 08:56:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Anyone read Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson? I'd recommend it to anyone not just people in the IT business.


Mon Sep 19, 09:21:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Are there any plans to issue electronic versions of your books?

expert one on one Oracle has been available electronically via for a while and I'm sure they'll do the same for this revision.

How come those big-name guys, Ken Jacobs, Bamford, Mendelson never published a book ?

I cannot speak for them - but it does take a bit of "time".

When you finish Atlas Shrugged, I'd love to discuss it with you.

Sure, next time I can get you to come to an Oracle conference :)

Mystery - Ludlum was one of my favorites as a kid. Dan Brown (sort of mystery) is cool as well.

I really enjoyed the books by Dennis Lehane.

Mon Sep 19, 10:19:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous mr obvious said....

"What books are on your bookshelf"

I thought you had to have talent to write a book. Never the less can't wait to get it. The paper in my bird cage is in need of something to line it with. I just hope they don't die from boredom.

Mon Sep 19, 11:27:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

mr obvious said

Hi notdon, you crack us up. Nice

I thought you had to have talent to write a book.

unfortunately, no, that is not a prerequisite, there are many examples out there showing that.

Oh, to be five years old again, sigh, it would be so much fun.

But, this is amusing to watch you spend sooooo much time.

signed - a diehard woody allen fan.

Mon Sep 19, 11:41:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Richard said....

Re: Mr. Obvious

As Bernoulli said of Newton, who published his calculus of variations (after an evening's work), "I recognize the lion by his claw."; the same could be said of DKB's posting, because, as ever, it's spiteful and badly formed (i.e. "Never the less", rather than "nevertheless").

If anyone has read "The old Curiosity Shop" by Dickens, then DKB's nasty creepings and slyness can only remind one of Quilp!

Tue Sep 20, 03:37:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Rob Baillie said....

By FAR the most important book I ever bought, and the most thumbed by a long way is The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master. It's taught me more about Oracle development than any book with Oracle in the title.

Tue Sep 20, 04:11:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Fahd Mirza said....

My all time favourite and precious book is a real job saver atleast for me. Its SQL Tuning by Dan Tow.

SQL Tuning
By Dan Tow
First Edition November 2003
ISBN: 0-596-00573-3
336 pages, $39.95 US, $61.95 CA, £28.50 UK

Tue Sep 20, 05:59:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous OracleDoc said....

I'd like to know what happened to Rich Niemiec. He put out a couple of good books and then that was that. I guess TUSC is keeping him busy.

Tue Sep 20, 06:02:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Is there a book you would recommend on Backup and Recovery?

I've lost mine and can't remember its

Tue Sep 20, 06:30:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Alberto Dell'Era said....

I agree that Menon's book about JDBC is very good - in fact I've lent it to a junior Java programmer that works with me, my secret plan being to have him understand what's behind the JDBC API, and so be able to be an effective JDBC programmer ...

Tue Sep 20, 07:25:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Hans said....

The very proof that you don't need to have talent to write a book is provided by Mr. Obvious himself (a silver bullet from NC if I'm not mistaken).
Grow up man...

Tue Sep 20, 07:44:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

what happened to Rich Niemiec

I was just with Rich yesterday - he is very much active still. He had just completed his "database block" presentation.

Writing a good book takes a lot of time, energy and effort. Rich is active in lots of stuff - that could be part of the reason.

Is there a book you would recommend on Backup and Recovery?

see above, ctl-f for Freeman

Tue Sep 20, 08:58:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I'm confused, I don't understand what kind of person would write something as Mr obvious did.....

Probably the same type of person would write a book: You're Fired! Firing Computer Professionals : The IT Manager Guide for Terminating "With Cause" (911 Series)

Pretentious much? Talk about toliet paper...

ps. my copy of the new book is on it's way :)


Tue Sep 20, 09:11:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Atlas Shrugged was good but I remember slogging through one sentence/paragraph which was (in paperback) a page and a half. Still glad I read it. Glad I didn't have to diagram that sentence though.

Yourdon's Decline and Fall of the American Programmer was a great read for me when I discovered it about '94. I suspect much of it still applies.

Mr. Obvious needs a new gig.

Charlie B.

Tue Sep 20, 10:46:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

MC said: "if you want to quickly learn how not to continue"

to boldy go

I don't want to be the pedantic one, but stop proudly doing it. Please.

Tue Sep 20, 11:32:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Scott Swank said....

Ayn Rand strikes me as the sort of novelist that really is best read as an adolescent when one is more capable of falling for her "righteous capitalist" line. Wasn't it 8-25 years that those Tyco executives were sentenced to yesterday? And then there's Enron, and Worldcom, and Harken Energy, and Arthur Anderson, Global Crossing, Adelphia, Halliburton, oh my!

Tue Sep 20, 11:40:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Scott Swank said....

Genre novel favs...

Fantasy: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Suzanna Clarke

Mystery: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster -- though Leviathan is Auster's masterwork it's not entirely a mystery novel

Tue Sep 20, 11:47:00 AM EDT  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

>> to boldy go

>> I don't want to be the pedantic one, but stop proudly doing it.
>> Please.

Then allow me ... "boldy"?


Tue Sep 20, 12:00:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Gary S said....

I don't want to poke my nose into any "Atlas Shrugged" controversy that may be brewing -- but I thought I'd point out that there is a clever reference to "Atlas Shrugged" in Mel Brooks's "Blazing Saddles". In the opening of the movie, there are some people building a railroad. The boss (played by Slim Pickens) is referred to as "Mr. Taggart."

Perhaps you had to be there.

Tue Sep 20, 12:25:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Mark said....

As a kind of counterpart to Pragmatic Programmer and The Mythical Man Month : "Death March" by Edward Yourdon - about those projects that are doomed to failure yet grind all of the team into the ground. Very readable (albeit a one-idea book) if only for the Gartner-style matrix, with "chance of project success" down one side, and "fun to work on" down another. Worth reading if only to give you the ability to spot such a project before it unfolds.

Tue Sep 20, 12:28:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Ram said....

"signed - a diehard woody allen fan."

Finally, there is something I have found that I can disagree with Tom. :) I hope Woody is not reading this.

Tue Sep 20, 01:56:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Ram said....


What Unix/OS books are must for DBAs, since they say DBAs are required to have some OS level knowledge also.


Tue Sep 20, 03:12:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Niall said....

Ram asked

What Unix/OS books are must for DBAs, since they say DBAs are required to have some OS level knowledge also

Unix for dummies saved my life once. Clear explanations of simple things in stressful environments help.

Actually thinking about it it was Unix for dummies in combination with altavista - anyone use them anymore? seems a century ago.

Tue Sep 20, 04:55:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Altavista --> thanks for helping me recall the good old search engine.

Back in 1997 while I was in school doing my M.S, this website is the most browsed by me and altavista provided me a great reference tool for my presentations. Right from UML to Knowledge Base Database Systems, I could lookup for anything I wanted.

Google, to me was just a switch of search engine and was in no way different than that of Altavista. For regular altavista users like me, google is just a hype.

What say y'all?

Tue Sep 20, 08:50:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

David A Said "Then allow me ... "boldy"?"

Yes?, surely you're familiar with this South London Taxi Driver colloquialism meaning "one who suffers from Alopecia Areata" ?

Interestingly it is also part of the dialect of those who have bought cheap wireless keyboards when they were on sale.

Wed Sep 21, 07:48:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Is criticism any more, or less valid because of the anonymity of the author?

Would you accept the same criticism from someone you respected, but not from someone you didn't, or whose identity was unknown.

I hope not.

Wed Sep 21, 10:16:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

If you'd like to defend your sentence on some grounds then be my guest.

You'll be able to recognise me by my "cowardly" lack of any identity.

Wed Sep 21, 11:47:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Is criticism any more, or less valid because of the anonymity of the author?

Criticism, absolutely, if you ever have visited asktom - you would know it happens all of the time.

But if someone says "this is junk, just cause I say so", that isn't criticism.

Now, if they say

"this is junk and here are 8 provable wrong technical faults just in the very first few paragraphs of a short paper rife with more errors" and they list those faults, show why they are faults - well, that is criticism and I say "sure, bring it on"

Wed Sep 21, 12:00:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

"Though if you want to quickly learn how not to continue being a ... fan"

I thought it was worth a quick ( anonymous, yes ) post to highlight the irony that this criticism employed obviously flawed grammar.

That was all.

Now it this had been criticism of a painter, say I probably would've remained silent, ( and anonymous. )

Wed Sep 21, 12:10:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Rob H said....

"Now it this had been criticism of a painter, "

i think you meant if

The better question is:

"Why are you hiding?"

Wed Sep 21, 12:40:00 PM EDT  

Blogger DaPi said....

Anonymous said: " . . . obviously flawed grammar"

I was taught that the rule about not splitting infinitives was invented by a bunch of mis-guided purists in the late 18th century, who wished to base English grammar on Latin (where the infinitive, being a single word, can not be split).
Read more here:

Anonymous, it's time to join us in the 21st century.

Back on subject:
"Peopleware" by DeMarco & Lister for anyone who doesn't work in isolation.

Wed Sep 21, 03:48:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....


How unusual to see you make such an odd argument. Normally you come out with rational, reasonable, considered input.

This is craziness.

You are trying to defend an incorrect grammar based on the argument "grammar is for misguided puritans"

When that argument is applied to an Oracle project it sounds like this..."We decided integrity constraints were for misguided puritans, so we implemented everything as unstructured data in blobs and go ahead and let the application validate it, you don't like that? join us in the 21st century."

As for using Wikipedia as your factual reference to back your argument...Sigh.

As for hiding. Is the person on the other end of a phone hiding when they say "Hello?" and not "X Speaking?"

Thu Sep 22, 06:14:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous DaPi said....

Anonymous said . . . You are trying to defend an incorrect grammar based on the argument "grammar is for misguided puritans"

For sweeping generalisations, that takes the biscuit (or should it be the brush?).

If you're too lazy to search yourself - try the opinion from the guys on the OED or Fowler himself ("supertitions"!):

(I thonk I've had my blog account hacked . . . . )

Thu Sep 22, 08:41:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

MC Said "Irony is only irony when the words used convey the opposite of their "literal" meaning.

Nope, that's not the definition of irony.

Which movie did you get that from?

Thu Sep 22, 09:34:00 AM EDT  

Blogger DaPi said....

Anonymous said: "Normally you come out with rational, reasonable, considered input"

I'm glad I re-read the post; I enjoyed that! There must be a smart technical term for such a construction. (HJR can you tell us?)

Thu Sep 22, 10:21:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I don't want to mess up Toms fine blog any longer with this petty fight which is totally off subject, so I'm going to go.

If you want to continue arguing about whether there was any unintended ironic content in your post, and whether posting anonymously necessarily invalidates the content of your argument, then I'd be happy to do that elsewhere.

You are clearly outraged by the whole situation and spent considerable time researching your last post ( or is it novellette? ) so if you prefer I'll just appologise for offending you, which wasn't my intention.

Fri Sep 23, 07:27:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Joel Garry said....

I take back what I said about Greenspan. He was an idiot! (I know it's 7 years later, but I wouldn't want to leave something wrong on the internet)

decadyp 29 (third try to prove I'm not a robot)

Wed Sep 05, 08:09:00 PM EDT  


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