I have finished reading Effective Oracle by Design. I consider this as one of the must reads after Oracle documentation for both dbas and developers (Oracle documentation comes before any other book of course). It is not a beginner's book, fundamentals of sql, plsql and database administration are not the topics of the book. Tom Kyte explains how to design and build high performance applications on the Oracle database.
Designing before building an application is the most important and critical item in developing successful applications. Unfortunately it is also generally the most overlooked part. Datatypes, table types, tools to use, database features to use are critical for the application's performance and success. The application developed without performance in mind will end as a failure most probably. In this book Tom Kyte explains what the right approach he thinks is to design successful applications. What are the different types of tables available? What are the tools available? How is a sql statement processed in the database? How can one use plsql effectively? When should we use a specific database feature and when should not we use that feature? All chapters presented with lots of examples and you can test the examples provided yourself to gain more understanding of the subject.
If you are a regular reader of the asktom site as I am, you will find examples and subjects scattered around many questions and answers similar to those in the book. The examples in the book were familiar to me. But he collects all those subjects and examples in this book in a systematic way. Each chapter can be read on its own but I strongly suggest reading it line by line from the beginning to the end. It is well worth the effort and the time.
The first print year of the book is 2003. The examples are on 9.2 and 8.1.7. But do not think that this is an outdated book for 10g. Because of the above mentioned reasons the contents are also applicable to applications being developed on 10g. Tom gives his thoughts, experience, hints, tips about the right approach to developing applications. These are independent of the database version.
According to me the most important chapters are 7th (Effective Schema Design), 8th (Effective SQL) and 9th (Effective PL/SQL Programming).
Having every dba and developer in your team read this book will immediately make a significant positive effect on the applications you develop.