This is like a dream book. The best, most knowledgeable, and helpful, SQL Server experts each get to pick a topic of their own and write about it. Things gets better. The book then gets edited by some of the great names in SQL Server over the last 10 years (and more). But, do these fantastic people stop there? No. They go on and write the whole book for charity. All the author royalties are going to support War Child International. Over the years, I've read books and articles by many of these people. I've also attended classes or conference sessions presented by them. I've even had the opportunity and privilege of talking to quite a few them both online and in person. These people are not only well versed in SQL Server technology, but they're nice, funny, and friendly people.
Enough about them, let's talk about the book. There are 59 different chapters, written by one or more of the MVP's involved with the book. The chapters are broken down into five different sections; Database Design and Architecture, Database Development, Database Administration, Performance Tuning and Optimization, and Business Intelligence. In other words, something for everyone.
You probably should sit and read this book cover to cover, straight through, but I've found myself jumping from one topic to another. For example, Joe Webb's chapter on indexes and column order was immediately useful. Like all the chapters, it's direct and clear, with some good sample code, a few screen captures and a great explanation of the concepts that it's going after. Lots of people will benefit from Gail Shaw's description of how to trace deadlocks. But then I had to jump right back to Chapter 1 and read Louis Davidson & Paul Nielsen's chapter on relational design ideas. It's hard to settle on a single topic. Michael Coles has two chapters on XML, both are worth a read, especially if you're moving from SQL Server 2000 into 2005/2008 where you can begin to put XQuery to work instead of using OPENXML. It just goes on and on, your favorite MVP's from all around the world writing on hand-picked topics, edited by experts in the field.
The printing itself is very well done. The seperation between the text, code and notes is very clear. The graphics are also clearly printed and very readable. The binding seems very well done. It's held up well to my initial, constant, thumbing from one article to another.
Taken as a whole, tons of experts covering a huge swath of information in a very well put together book that benefits an imminently worthy charity... Why are you still reading this? Get a copy and see how it can improve your own system, your own designs, your own code, and feel good knowing purchasing the book helps not just you and your organization, but other people all over the world, kids.