Eloquent JavaScript is one of the Best JavaScript Books I’ve Read

The kind folks at No Starch sent me over a copy of the newly released book, Eloquent JavaScript by Marjin Haverbeke. I had already been recommending the namesake site as a must-read resource on my list of What to Read to Get Up to Speed in JavaScript so actually having the book was a welcome change. I know some people love to read stuff on the web but call me old fashioned in that I really like the feel of a book in my hands.

What I loved about this book is that it’s not your typical reference tomb. The basic premise is that it’s going to teach you proper constructs for writing solid JavaScript code as opposed to listing every method, attribute, data type or property ever included in the JavaScript language. It gets straight to the meat of JavaScript development, introducing you to the basic constructs of the language and then quickly diving into more complex topics such as partials and currying. This is all done in a step-by-step approach to give the reader an opportunity to not only digest the material but also see actual results in real-time. Definitely a great approach.

Differences Between the Site and the Book

As I mentioned the book is based on the great work that Marjin did on the namesake site. I’ve seen the site and absolutely love it but to me, I feel the book is a MUCH more organized version of his thoughts. The content is broken down into logical sections with better headers which makes conceptualizing specific areas much easier.

And again, I truly am partial to reading books instead of websites so for me, having the book was a real blessing.

What about JavaScript Libraries?

This book is really focused on the JavaScript language itself and not libraries. If you’re interested in really becoming a better JavaScript developer so you can take full advantage of your favorite library, then this book is a great choice. It’s a complementary selection.

Rey Bango


  1. I’ve heard nothing but praise for this book – it’s definitely going to be the next one I buy. I’m really glad that more and more books are coming out that really teach what’s unique to JS.

    I’m reading Test-driven JavaScript Development at the moment which is great. It’s a great introduction to TDD in JS, but it also has some really useful general JavaScript sections, again teaching what’s unique to JS.

      • I saw them but haven’t read them yet – I was already reading the TDDJS book by then so thought it would mostly be going over stuff in the book. Great to get Christian on Script Junkie though!

  2. Looks like a fantastic suggestion, I’m definitely gonna check this out now. I’m loving this free ebook / paid print movement that’s around now.

  3. This one is going on my list. First I have to hack my Nook Color since the ebook appears to be kindle only at this point.

  4. Don’t know why you think it’s so good. I was very disappointed. It was beautifully written, but ultimately of little use to people wanting to learn how to do client-side web programming.

    There are many far better books around than this. Don’t waste your money on it.

    • Well, I personally found it a great book with plenty of useful information. Of course there are other great books. I list a number of them in other blog posts. I found this one to be excellent and certainly not a waste of money.

    • I actually like it for the opposite reason. JS has been predominantly used for the client-side, but that is quickly changing with the popularity of Node. It’s great to have an introductory text that talks about the language in general, including less common uses for it such as closures and the functional programming. There’s too many JS books focusing on client-side web programming.

  5. This is indeed a good book. I would also recommend JavaScript & jQuery: The Missing Manual

  6. Question about the title on this book. My understanding is that Javascript is a scripting language NOT a programming language.

    In any case, I need a beginner’s book. Anything by O’Reilly is NOT going to work. I need something beginning, coming to JS from CSS and HTML. Baby steps, thank you.

    • Francella,

      A scripting language is a type of programming language. Scripting languages don’t compile their source code (what you write) into machine code (all those ones and zeroes that the computer understands) in advance, it interprets the source as it tries to run it. Therefore, any incorrect code won’t be caught until it tries to run.

      By contrast, a compiled language is one where the source code is converted into machine code in advance, catching any syntax errors before you get anywhere near running the code.

      Both are programming languages, the only difference is in the way the computer treats them.

      Hope this clarifies things a little.

  7. Yossu, thank you for such a great explanation!

    Rey-appreciate the book recommendations:)

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