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Updated by Jerry Zhao on Dec 31, 2020
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Jerry Zhao Jerry Zhao
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The 22 best JavaScript books

There are countless lists on the internet claiming to be the list of must-read JavaScript books and it seemed that all those lists always recommended that same books minus two or three odd choices. However I though it would be interesting to trust the wisdom of the crown and to find the books that appeared the most in those “Best JavaScript Book” lists.

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide

JavaScript is the programming language of the web and is used by more software developers today than any other programming language. For nearly 25 years this best seller has been the go-to guide for JavaScript programmers. The seventh edition is fully updated to cover the 2020 version of JavaScript, and new chapters cover classes, modules, iterators, generators, Promises, async/await, and metaprogramming. You’ll find illuminating and engaging example code throughout.

This book is for programmers who want to learn JavaScript and for web developers who want to take their understanding and mastery to the next level. It begins by explaining the JavaScript language itself, in detail, from the bottom up. It then builds on that foundation to cover the web platform and Node.js.

Before buying this book I had a general idea of what I was looking for. I needed something for the Beginner to Intermediate level, and I needed it to be a complete guide to the language. This book is both of those things and more. Even Advanced programmers should find something useful in this guide.

— alex hall, a reader

You Don’t Know JS Book Series

It seems like there’s never been as much widespread desire before for a better way to deeply learn the fundamentals of JavaScript. But with a million blogs, books, and videos out there, just where do you START? Look no further!The worldwide best selling “You Don’t Know JS” book series is back for a 2nd edition: “You Don’t Know JS Yet”. All 6 books are brand new, rewritten to cover all sides of JS for 2020 and beyond.”Get Started” prepares you for the journey ahead, first surveying the language then detailing how the rest of the You Don’t Know JS Yet book series guides you to knowing JS more deeply.

I have the original series of YDKJS and I am will be buying every book of the second series. I truly appreciate Kyle’s style of wring for his user. I have been working with JavaScript for over a decade and even reading this intro it brought me to deeply think about ‘use strict’ that I had never thought about before. I credit these series to my increase of excitement in wanting to learn JavaScript at a deeper level.

— OhhDenny Services, LLC

Website at https://amzn.to/34tOo0M

JavaScript lies at the heart of almost every modern web application, from social apps like Twitter to browser-based game frameworks like Phaser and Babylon. Though simple for beginners to pick up and play with, JavaScript is a flexible, complex language that you can use to build full-scale applications.

This much anticipated and thoroughly revised third edition of Eloquent JavaScript dives deep into the JavaScript language to show you how to write beautiful, effective code. It has been updated to reflect the current state of Java¬Script and web browsers and includes brand-new material on features like class notation, arrow functions, iterators, async functions, template strings, and block scope. A host of new exercises have also been added to test your skills and keep you on track.

I have so many books and many books on JavaScript. This so far seems to be my favourite of the bunch. I have the paperback book (Which the binding came unglued almost immediately – only con on this book I have against it) and I have the eBook. I use the eBook the most sitting on my desktop next to my laptop and external keyboard/mouse and find I can learn from it easily.

— Gothic, a reader

Effective JavaScript

In order to truly master JavaScript, you need to learn how to work effectively with the language’s flexible, expressive features and how to avoid its pitfalls. No matter how long you’ve been writing JavaScript code, Effective JavaScript will help deepen your understanding of this powerful language, so you can build more predictable, reliable, and maintainable programs.

“It’s uncommon to have a programming language wonk who can speak in such comfortable and friendly language as David does. His walk through the syntax and semantics of JavaScript is both charming and hugely insightful; reminders of gotchas complement realistic use cases, paced at a comfortable curve. You’ll find when you finish the book that you’ve gained a strong and comprehensive sense of mastery.”

— Paul Irish, developer advocate, Google Chrome

Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja

More than ever, the web is a universal platform for all types of applications, and JavaScript is the language of the web. If you’re serious about web development, it’s not enough to be a decent JavaScript coder. You need to be ninja-stealthy, efficient, and ready for anything. This book shows you how.

I almost didn’t read this book because of the name, as my assumption was that it was a beginner level JS book. I’m so glad that I decided to read it. This book is most definitely NOT a beginner book. However, it is written in easy to understand language. It covers all the major topics a good JS developer should understand. Closures, the context of ‘this’ depending on how a function is invoked, the use of apply(), call(), and bind() to set context, arrow functions and how they affect context, using apply() to supply a variable list of arguments, maps, memoizing functions, object orientation with prototypes, regular expressions, timers and threads, generators and promises, writing modular code, and much more.

— David lvey, a reader

JavaScript and JQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development

This book was written for anyone who wants to use JavaScript to make their websites a little more interesting, engaging, interactive, or usable. In particular, it is aimed at people who do not have a degree in computer science (well, not yet anyway).Programming books can be intimidating, so we wanted to create a book that taught readers how to use JavaScript in a gentler, more visual way. And importantly, we did not want to assume that the reader had any experience of programming beyond the ability to create a web page in HTML and CSS. (After all, many kinds of people are creating websites these days, and not all of us come from a programming background.)

So, if you have ever struggled to get a script working on your web pages, want a better idea of how to customize scripts, or want to write your own scripts from scratch, this book was written for you.We can’t promise to remove the unfamiliar terms that programmers use, but we do tell you what they mean (with the aid of visual examples and diagrams) so that JavaScript won’t seem like a foreign language any more.

Absolutely brilliant book. There’s so much out there on the internet these days that there’s little room for books, especially with front-end development.

— Sconner, a reader

JavaScript Patterns: Build Better Applications with Coding and Design Patterns

What’s the best approach for developing an application with JavaScript? This book helps you answer that question with numerous JavaScript coding patterns and best practices. If you’re an experienced developer looking to solve problems related to objects, functions, inheritance, and other language-specific categories, the abstractions and code templates in this guide are ideal—whether you’re using JavaScript to write a client-side, server-side, or desktop application.

If you are a person trying to take Javascript seriously, this plus other books will help you to get to pro status. It’s good to be abreast of what is acceptable in the higher Javascript echelons.

— Gregory Oladipo

The Principles of Object-Oriented JavaScript

In The Principles of Object-Oriented JavaScript, Nicholas C. Zakas thoroughly explores JavaScript’s object-oriented nature, revealing the language’s unique implementation of inheritance and other key characteristics.

“Completely changes my understanding of JavaScript…The best part of the book is its concise nature and the way it explains concepts.”

— Javin Paul, Java Revisited

Beginning JavaScript

JavaScript has shaped the Web from a passive medium into one that is rich, dynamic, and interactive. No matter the technology on the server side, it’s JavaScript that makes it come alive in the browser. To learn JavaScript the way it’s used today, Beginning JavaScript, 5th Edition is your concise guide.

This book is well written and easy to understand. There are tons of example problems in this book and to my surprise, they are all very clearly solved, explained and presented.

— Lem Kuda, a reader

Speaking JavaScript: An In-Depth Guide for Programmers

Speaking JavaScript helps you approach the language with four standalone sections. First, a quick-start guide teaches you just enough of the language to help you be productive right away. More experienced JavaScript programmers will find a complete and easy-to-read reference that covers each language feature in depth.

This is an excellent reference for the key points of JavaScript. The author doesn’t go into long explanations with respect to any given point. Explanations and examples are held to a bare minimum to make the point clear.

— Ephraim, a speaker

Programming JavaScript Applications: Robust Web Architecture with Node, HTML5, and Modern JS Libraries

JavaScript may be the most essential web programming language, but in the real world, JavaScript applications often break when you make changes. With this book, author Eric Elliott shows you how to add client- and server-side features to a large JavaScript application without negatively affecting the rest of your code.

Eric Elliot will take you on a whirlwind tour of JS here – got issues? Just ask him and he’ll get back to you! What an amazing person and what a great coach.

— A. Gray, a reader

Professional JavaScript for Web Developers

Professional JavaScript for Web Developers is the essential guide to next-level JavaScript development. At 1,200 pages, this book is the most comprehensive JavaScript reference available anywhere. Written for intermediate-to-advanced programmers, this book jumps right into the technical details to help you clean up your code and become a more sophisticated JavaScript developer.

There is nothing to say here to be honest. This is a very good reference book and if you are serious about any topic you should have some sort of reference on your desk and JS is not an exception.

— Ehsan Dowlatshah, a speaker

JavaScript for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming

JavaScript for Kids is a lighthearted introduction that teaches programming essentials through patient, step-by-step examples paired with funny illustrations. You’ll begin with the basics, like working with strings, arrays, and loops, and then move on to more advanced topics, like building interactivity with jQuery and drawing graphics with Canvas.

I saw some negative reviews from folks who bought this book for their kids who then struggled with the exercises. I can’t speak to that specifically since I bought this book for my own Javascript education, but I will say this: as an adult who struggled to learn JavaScript, this book really opened things up for me. And as someone who has been trying to grasp JavaScript for a while, I think I can offer some insight as to why it can be a difficult language to learn.

— a reader

JavaScript Enlightenment: From Library User to JavaScript Developer

If you’re an advanced beginner or intermediate JavaScript developer, JavaScript Enlightenment will solidify your understanding of the language—especially if you use a JavaScript library. In this concise book, JavaScript expert Cody Lindley (jQuery Cookbook) provides an accurate view of the language by examining its objects and supporting nuances.

Libraries and frameworks help you build web applications quickly and efficiently, but when things go wrong or performance becomes an issue, knowing how and why they work is critical. If you’re ready to go under the hood and get your hands dirty with JavaScript internals, this is your book.

JavaScript Enlightenment does a masterful job of filling in the groundwork for a JavaScript programmer who doesn’t already have a good handle on Obects in JS. Lindley’s book takes a much more gradual pace and he spends time belaboring some points that can be sticky to wrap your head around.

— S. Wachtmann, a speaker, a reader

Javascript Allongé

There are plenty of good directions for how to write JavaScript programs. If you follow them without alteration or deviation, you will be satisfied. Unfortunately, software is a complex thing, full of interactions and side-effects. Two perfectly reasonable pieces of advice when taken separately may conflict with each other when taken together. An approach may seem sound at the outset of a project, but need to be revised when new requirements are discovered.

A great book that has given me some new ways to look at JS and is well worth the read. Keep in mind that some of the code takes some time to understand and you may not fly through the book like you would with many other JS books. It’s worth taking the extra time to understand it though.

— Jake Moening, a speaker

Head First JavaScript Programming: A Brain-Friendly Guide

This brain friendly guide teaches you everything from JavaScript language fundamentals to advanced topics, including objects, functions, and the browser’s document object model. You won’t just be reading—you’ll be playing games, solving puzzles, pondering mysteries, and interacting with JavaScript in ways you never imagined. And you’ll write real code, lots of it, so you can start building your own web applications.

“This book is magical in a way that can only be experienced, not described; it immerses you in a world you don’t want to leave.”

— John Weinshel, JavaScript student

A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript. The new tech-assisted approach that requires half the effort

Learning JavaScript is hell because of two problems. I remove the problems, and you start having fun.

The first problem is retention. You remember only ten or twenty percent of what you read. That spells failure. To become fluent in a computer language, you have to retain pretty much everything.

How can you retain everything? Only by constantly being asked to play everything back. That’s why people use flashcards. But my system does flashcards one better. After reading a short chapter, you go to my website and complete twenty interactive exercises. Algorithms check your work to make sure you know what you think you know. When you stumble, you do the exercise again. You keep trying until you know the chapter cold. The exercises are free.

The second problem is comprehension. Many learners hit a wall when they try to understand advanced concepts like variable scope and prototypes. Unfortunately, they blame themselves. That’s why the Dummies books sell so well. But the fault lies with the authors, coding virtuosos who lack teaching talent. I’m the opposite of the typical software book author. I’ll never code fast enough to land a job at Google. But I can teach.

Anyway, most comprehension problems are just retention problems in disguise. If you get lost trying to understand variable scope, it’s because you don’t remember how functions work. Thanks to the interactive exercises on my website, you’ll always understand and remember everything necessary to confidently tackle the next concept.

I have tried out Codecademy.com, freecodecamp.com, and snooped around on MDN.com (Mozilla Developer Network), they are all excellent resources but I think this is the most efficient way to learn a language. This book gives you exercises with instructions that are more similar to how you would approach a problem and subconsciously talk yourself through solving it. I also really enjoy that after each short chapter there is alot of exercises that require very specific answers as this helps me notice mistakes that would cause a problem when my code is executed.

— a reader

Learning JavaScript: JavaScript Essentials for Modern Application Development

This is an exciting time to learn JavaScript. Now that the latest JavaScript specification—ECMAScript 6.0 (ES6)—has been finalized, learning how to develop high-quality applications with this language is easier and more satisfying than ever. This practical book takes programmers (amateurs and pros alike) on a no-nonsense tour of ES6, along with some related tools and techniques.

Author Ethan Brown (Web Development with Node and Express) not only guides you through simple and straightforward topics (variables, control flow, arrays), but also covers complex concepts such as functional and asynchronous programming. You’ll learn how to create powerful and responsive web applications on the client, or with Node.js on the server.

If you want a book that doesn’t fluff you with opinions and is more like a textbook (a good one!) you read in school, this is your book. This book is about JavaScript the language in 2016 – not a zillion design patterns or toolsets (though a few hot toolsets are explained, which I found helpful). I definitely recommend this book if you want straightforwardness and a good balance of knowledge. He also has nice notes about some of the history/thought processes behind the language.

— Arman, a reader

Beginning JavaScript and CSS Development with jQuery

This book covers the jQuery JavaScript framework and the jQuery UI JavaScript framework to get more results more quickly out of JavaScript programming. I cover each method exposed by jQuery’s API, which contains methods to make common, redundant tasks go much more quickly in less code. I also cover how jQuery eliminates certain cross-browser, cross-platform development headaches like the event model; not only does it eliminate these headaches, but it also makes it easier to work with events by reducing the amount of code that you need to write to attach events. It even gives you the ability to simulate events.

I have always been fan of Beginners books from Wrox publication. Specially as they are written by programmers for programmers, and they do contain lot of code examples. Keeping this formula in mind, this is wonderfully written book for beginners.

— CSuk, a reader

Learning JavaScript Design Patterns: A JavaScript and jQuery Developer's Guide

With Learning JavaScript Design Patterns, you’ll learn how to write beautiful, structured, and maintainable JavaScript by applying classical and modern design patterns to the language. If you want to keep your code efficient, more manageable, and up-to-date with the latest best practices, this book is for you.

Addy does a great job of introducing a variety of design patterns and provides nice examples for each. I’m a pretty new developer so some of the concepts were a bit over my head, but I still got a lot out of this book. I definitely recommend it to any developer regardless of experience level.

— JRamer, a reader

Learn JavaScript VISUALLY

Visual Learners retain information very differently than their left-brained counter-parts and thus benefit from different approaches. Full color illustrations help memory triggers as your brain never forgets an image, metaphor or schema. One page of this visual JavaScript guide can equal one chapter of a conventional book as illustrations can make a world of difference over strictly words on a page!

This is a great books for beginner. There a lot of pictures to help the reader visual the problem and solution. This books covers the history of Javascript and teaches you how to operate with the system. It simplifies all the tech savvy dialects into a language we can all understand and comprehend with ease. It also, introduces colorful images to the reader for a better understanding when describing and discussing the coding, diagrams and syntax highlighting. Making it easier for you mind to capture the data and info better. Contrary to it being plain white and black.

— Hello World!, a reader

JavaScript & jQuery: The Missing Manual

JavaScript lets you supercharge your HTML with animation, interactivity, and visual effects—but many web designers find the language hard to learn. This easy-to-read guide not only covers JavaScript basics, but also shows you how to save time and effort with the jQuery and jQuery UI libraries of prewritten JavaScript code. You’ll build web pages that feel and act like desktop programs—with little or no programming.

This is one of the best reference book I have ever read and have used since I purchased it. I bought the book for a night class I was taking to improve my knowledge of web development and JavaScript and I learned so much from this book The examples and companion scripts are easy to follow and can be used for creativity. I love this book because it doesn’t contain tons of filler. The book just gets straight to the point of learning JavaScript and JQuery.

— Johan, a reader