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JavaScript Programming Books Reviewed

Today there are over half a million unfilled jobs in information technology across all sectors of the economy. These IT jobs make up ~12% of the approximately 5 million job openings making IT the largest occupational category for open jobs right now. One of the largest demands in these unfilled jobs is front-end developers.

Front-end developers do the overwhelming majority of their work using the JavaScript programming language. If you want to learn a new skill that is in high demand then you need to learn JavaScript Programming.

Where do you start? If you go to Amazon and just search for Javascript books, there are over 7,000 search results. How do you pick the best book to start learning JavaScript?

Learning Styles

There are only 3 learning styles - visual, audio and kinesthetic. Almost 80% of the population are visual learners. That is why you see so many PowerPoint presentations in meetings because people resonate when they see the material.

On the other hand a kinesthetic learner needs to get their hands dirty with the product in order to successfully learn the material. Almost 12% of the population are kinesthetic learners. The best books for kinesthetic learners are the ones that come with a CD with code or have an online site that you can interface with to learn the language.

The remaining 8% percent of the population are audio learners. The bad news is that there are very few JavaScript programming books that are available in audio format. If you are an audio learner then you are going to have to probably get by with a visual book.

Here is my review of the top JavaScript programming books that I used to learn JavaScript. I used these books to learn enough to get accepted into Hack Reactor - the world's best coding bootcamp. You can read more about my Hack Reactor application process here and see to what extent they expect you to know JavaScript.

A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript

This book is written by Mark Myers. If you are a kinesthetic learner (like me) then this is hands down the very best JavaScript programming book. It is available in both print and kindle formats.

The book is broken down into bite size chunks of data. In most cases a chapter is no more than 3-5 pages long.

Mark Myers has created a website for this book. You can visit this website and find a quiz to test your knowledge of the material learned in each chapter.

Every chapter has a quiz that has exactly 20 questions on the material. You will find that these questions tend to repeat the same question. But like I said if you are a kinesthetic learner then you will love the repeated learning of the concepts covered in the chapter.

Also if you are new to programming then you will enjoy the opportunity to actually get hands-on experience with JavaScript while you are learning.

JavaScript and jQuery

THis book is written by Jon Duckett. This is hands down the best book for visual learners.

The pages in the book are slick material and not the standard paper you find in the majority of books. Almost every other page has a color image or diagram.

If you are an absolute beginner to computer programming - meaning you have zero experience with programming - I would recommend that you start with A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript first. The reason is that this books method of teaching material makes the assumption you have some basic knowledge before reading this book.

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide

This book is written by David Flanagan. The book is published by O'Reilly press which makes a book on just about any technical subject you can imagine. With such a huge repertoire of books, you can rest assured that books published by O'Reilly press are high quality.

This book does provide a clear introduction to the JavaScript programming language. It provides more detail on learning the language than does the JavaScript and jQuery book. The introduction is very straight forward and provides some good detail which helps to reinforce what you are learning.

The trade off is this book does not have an online site where you can get hands on experience with JavaScript.


JavaScript is a pretty detailed programming language to learn. My recommendation is that you purchase at least 2 books on the subject. Even though there will be an overlap in material that is covered, you will find that different books cover the topics in different manners and in different levels of detail. By reading through multiple books you are able to learn from both and greatly improve you knowledge of the JavaScript programming language.

by Jennifer Bland

I am a Google Developers Expert. Entrepreneur. Mountain Climber. Neil Diamond fanatic. World traveler. MBA grad. Software Engineer. Interested in hiring me? Contact me at

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