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This will be the third book I have read out of several of Michael's books on Oracle.
I get the same feeling from reviewing this book that I get when writing a procedure or package to fill a Technical Requirement and, after spending some time on it, the procedure or package all comes together as neat, clean, efficient and complete.
The striking thing about this book, for me, is its precise focus on subject matter. By that I mean that if a section is entitled, "Lexical Units", that's exactly what it's about, with no superfluous information or digressions found there. I, personally and in various technical documents I have written for work, have found that this precise focus is an easy thing to conceive of and aspire to, and a difficult thing to accomplish in a project of any scale. The difficulty comes in trying to strike that balance between being thorough and being focused and concise.
The way Michael accomplished this in this book is by "back-loading" the book with massive and great appendixes on the following subjects: 1) Oracle Database Primer, 2) SQL Primer, 3) SQL Built-in Functions, 4) PL/SQL Built-in Packages and Types, 5) Regular Expression Primer, 6) Wrapping PL/SQL Code Primer, 7) PL/SQL Hierarchical Profiler Primer and 8) PL/SQL Reserved Words and Keywords.
Putting all of this deep technical knowledge at your fingertips, without having to cloud a given chapter or section with it, when the chapter or section describes a more specific but related topic, gives this book its crisp and clean quality of reading or reference.
This book is worth the purchase price for either the "SQL Primer" appendix (almost 200 pages) or the "PL/SQL Built-in Packages and Types" appendix alone. Obviously, all of the appendixes are valuable depending upon your needs at any given point in time, but in my career, my intense focus on PL/SQL combined with the inherent differences in concept and syntax paradigms between PL/SQL and SQL, have caused me to overlook a lot of the inherent power available in SQL, and my intense focus on "build, build, build", I think, has caused me to overlook much of the out-of-the-box power available in the Built-in Packages and Types.
In particular, the SQL appendix is particularly thorough, crisp and clear covering many sub-subject areas, among which the following are found: 1) History of SQL, 2) SQL Data Types, 3) DDL, DML, Transaction Management, 4) ACID compliance and how the Oracle database achieves it, 5) Managing Nested Tables and VArrays, 6) Advanced DML such as multiple-table Insert statements, Updates and Deletes using correlated subqueries and the Merge statement, 7) Managing large objects (Clob, Blob, etc.), 8) Overloading, 9) Object Types.
Regardless of your place on the Oracle SQL or PL/SQL expertise scale, I am confident you will find this book an invaluable reference to help you accomplish your programming goals due to its crisp, clean, organized and thorough coverage of the Oracle PL/SQL subject matter, along with other related information contained in its voluminous appendixes.