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Eloquent JavaScript: A Modern Introduction to Programming

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  652 ratings  ·  62 reviews
"A concise and balanced mix of principles and pragmatics. I loved the tutorial-style game-like program development. This book rekindled my earliest joys of programming. Plus, JavaScript!" —Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript

JavaScript is the language of the Web, and it's at the heart of every modern website from the lowliest personal blog to the mighty Google Apps. Though
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 3rd 2011 by No Starch Press (first published November 15th 2010)
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JavaScript by Douglas CrockfordEloquent JavaScript by Marijn HaverbekeHigh Performance JavaScript by Nicholas C. ZakasJavaScript by David FlanaganJavaScript Patterns by Stoyan Stefanov
Best JavaScript Books
2nd out of 39 books — 60 voters
The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew HuntThe C Programming Language by Brian W. KernighanDesign Patterns by Erich GammaStructure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Harold AbelsonCode Complete by Steve McConnell
Essential Programming Books
86th out of 113 books — 275 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,038)
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I'm sure those fancy JS wranglers out there will get a lot out of this book, but if you're a coding newbie, look elsewhere for your intro, far far elsewhere. I made the mistake of thinking I'd use this book to help supplement my learning of JS. And what a mistake. It gave no practical help whatsoever.

The dude's a fine writer, I'll give him that, and obviously a gifted coder, but his book wasn't written for the novice. This is not his intention with this book and if you're approaching it that wa
I have mixed feelings on this book. While it's obvious that Marijn is an accomplished programmer and he does have a very accessible writing style ( I never felt like he talked over my head ), I think he made a mistake by calling it an 'introduction' to programming.

I am not a programmer by trade, but I have several years of solid experience coding in PHP, actionscript, and javascript (well, some javascript - but mostly jquery). Tired of throwing jQuery at everything I wanted to use javascript fo
First things first, I did not read the print version of this book - which is due in January 2011 - but the freely available online version ( From what I can tell the print version will miss the chapter on searching, which is quite a shame, because it's rather interesting. On the upside I'd assume that the last few chapters (web programming, DOM, AJAX etc.) have seen quit a bit of an overhaul, they are slightly dated in the online version.

Regarding the actual text,
Tamara Temple

I re-read this book after a while, after digging in with more Javascript, and I have to change my opinion on Eloquent JavaScript: A Modern Introduction to Programming: This book is essential to understanding how to write Javascript applications. Not just the sort of everyday JS you might write in small snippets to support a site that is mostly driven from the backend, but the sort of modern, single-page application that today's JS libraries support. Even further, when you carry JS itself i
Khuram Malik
I have read very few programming books, so i guess this isnt saying much but of all of them, i've loved the style of this the best so far.

No matrix like "I know kung-fu" moments, but i think thats more because i havent put enough effort in to understanding, but its well thought out book thats well involved and definitely arms you appropriately.

Definitely gets my recommendation
This book is definitely not for beginners in JavaScript. The author does not provide a beginner's working knowledge of the subject matter and does not provide enough exercises at the end of each chapter in order for the reader to solidify his or her understanding of the material. The few problems that are provided are presented with large gaps between the content in the reading and the problems. By this I mean, that by the time you finish chapter two, you're ready to throw the book out the windo ...more
A great introduction to JavaScript as a language, and a good introduction to computer science/software engineering more generally. Haverbeke makes no assumptions about what you know coming into the book, which is helpful inasmuch as it makes it accessible; but he also isn't patronizing like some "intro" books can be, meaning that if you are already familiar with some of this stuff, you're likely to learn something new. (Or at least find some pleasant challenges in some of the though exercises th ...more
Stacey Mason
God is in the details, and the details of how the user experiences this text bring this book from a great beginner's guide to the formally best ebook I've read. With mouse-over definitions, interactive code examples, and relatable prose, Eloquent JavaScript isn't just a model for what all programming books should be; it's (formally) a model for what all ebooks should be.

That said, though the book is designed for beginners, I can't speak to how well it imparts the basic principles of programming
Veselin Nikolov
Very good book for beginners. Needs updating with the most recent syntax.
First: I’m a complete JavaScript beginner. Truth to be told, I’m kind of beginner in programming generally. I fiddled around with PHP and SQL (and a tiny little bit Ruby) and I’m able to create (modest but) functioning programs, but it’s more like fishing in muddy waters via try-and-error than a real understanding about programming ;) I’m now trying - by and by - to gain a real understanding in programming and chose JavaScript… actually, for no particular reason.

The Book
I love it!! It’s an easy
Variables are tentacles, not boxes, they do not contain values, they grasp them. The best explanation of variables ever!! There are also a couple of strange things in the book. Like advice to use exceptions for flow control. But all in all a very nice intro into JavaScript and basic programming principles.
If you don't know JavaScript, but want to learn, this is the book for you. If you already know JavaScript but haven't read this book, then this is still the book for you, because a well-written book is worth it for its own sake.

There's nothing else to say about the book. I loved the 1st edition, and the 2nd edition is better in every way.

There's one small thing to say about the publisher: lately when I pick up an O'Reilly book, I'm dismayed by the sheer number of typos or how often I have to che
Great for review but not terribly great if it's your first pass at certain concepts. For the ideas I already feel comfortable with my thoughts were "hmm, yes technically that's right but it's a very confusing way to put it" and for the new ones the author seemed to be asking for logical leaps equivalent to "okay so you know about roller blades? Now we're going to build a bike" And *sure* that might seem like a good logical leap if you've been making both for years but for the new people like me ...more
Nguyen Huu Anh Vu
Online version at, with on-screen console. Great introduction to javascript with little background on other languages
Trevan Hetzel
Eloquent JavaScript is definitely staying in my bookmarks bar. I've read a few JS books in the past and, whether it was my utter lack of comprehension of JS or the poor presentation of the content, I didn't get much out of them. But Haverbeke's book really struck a chord with my growing interest in client-side programming. It's presented in such a way that beginners can get an understanding of JavaScript and learn by example (there are hundreds of code examples; in fact the whole book is based o ...more
Chad Perrin
While the book describes itself as "A Modern Introduction to Programming", I think most people who need to be introduced to programming would have a very difficult time with this book. Some few, however, could probably pick up this book and run with it, all the way to . . . the next book (whichever book that may be).

Eloquent JavaScript should give the reader a firm grounding in JavaScript per se and some interesting, very useful programming techniques -- which is a very important thing to get. U
Tudor Ștefănescu
Good introduction into JavaScript, Document model, etc. but: in the Kindle edition there are no exercises and the book can be found for free on On the same website you can find also the (as yet) electronic format only second edition for free. The second edition is more up to date (especially the html, document format chapters), has more chapters and what I found most important: has exercises after each chapter. So: skip this one and go to the website and use the second ed ...more
I was first introduced to JavaScript while building one of my websites. Knowing absolutely nothing, I essentially learned through trial by fire. I did a lot of copying and pasting of bits of code that I found on the Internet. Then, when something didn’t work properly I would just experiment until I solved the problem. Still, there always seemed to be some sort of unexpected results, mostly because I didn’t understand the complexities of the code.

I really could have used a good basic introductio
Derek Sivers, creator of CD Baby, documented his quest to learn JavaScript. This book, his recommended first step, is helpfully available online for free. Either way you read, online or dead tree, you can use the handy online editor to test your code. Yes, most books come w/ downloadable source code, but rarely is it this smooth or easy to use.

Haverbeke teaches that JavaScript doesn't have to be a mystery or a shitshow as is the ingrained assumption for too many programmers. In fact, this book w
Shiloh J Madsen
For those who have learned the basics of Javascript and are now looking for a "how do I develop good habits?" approach to coding, this book can't be beat. It does a great job of taking the nuts and bolts of the language and putting them together in a way that is elegant and makes you rethink how you approach programming. A very good read, of not exactly easy for a beginner.
Прекрасное введение в JavaSript. Легко, весело и очень интересно. Теория и практика, всего в достатке.
Читал в переводе хабра.
Отдельное спасибо Вячеславу Голованову за перевод.
Rick Strong
Jan 29, 2013 Rick Strong rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who would like an entertaining intro to JavaScript
Informative and entertaining. This is a fairly comprehensive intro/overview of JavaScript. It's well-written, touches on a good deal of material considering its limited size/scope, gives quite a few examples to work with if you are at all ambitious, and the author has an excellent sense of humor. I'm not sure how easy a read this would have been were I not already a Java developer, but then JavaScript is actually quite a bit different from Java once you get beyond basic syntax, so I'd recommend ...more
Fanfán Kormorán
Awesome book for everybody wanting to learn to program (not only in javascript). Highly recommended.
Ashraf Hefny
This book is the best javascript fundamentals book I have ever read, It's for beginner/intermediate level
Illia Olenchenko
Ok. heres my opinion:
its a good book for these who make their own first steps into javascript and relative things. Examples and their deeps are good and gives The reader nice thoughts. Book Introducing us into relative sides of JS as Node.js leads us to use more of existing packages and more and more. So its a good "Firststepper book" in JS.
After reading various comments with claims a la "fast paced", "not for beginners" I had high hopes. To my disappointment this book revealed to be boring and sparse (for 224 pages), hence 1 star.

Tutorial on MDN (mozilla developer's network) is a much better choice for learning javascript - it's shorter, clearer and denser.
This book brought me back to JavaScript before there were any frameworks like jQuery. It made me realize that I had fallen victim to treating the language as a sub-species joining others who complained it was a bastard child language as they bastardized it. Technically I am still reading this because I will always be reading this. The explanations and examples about function based scope and how to use it still blow my mind. The author shows us how powerful JavaScript truly is and I use ideas and ...more
Superb explaination.
Dec 30, 2014 Enki added it
This the best book about JS that I've read! I will buy the physical version of this.
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