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Eloquent JavaScript: A Modern Introduction to Programming

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,311 ratings  ·  205 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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Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Evan Hill
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
This might be a great book. I'll return to it when I have well beyond an "Introductory" understanding of JS programming. Though with such a misleading title and chapter structure, I don't have much faith the concepts I couldn't understand will turn out to be communicated well upon a second reading after I have learned JavaScript.

I'm annoyed enough to leave a bad review because it really does start out as if Haverbeke intends to help introduce us gently into this world.

Here's how it goes: Chapt
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: coding-more
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
Oct 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
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,
Stacey Mason
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programming-tech
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
Tamara Temple
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technical

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
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: programming
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
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author is a good writer but not a good teacher.

The content is presented well but not organized well enough for a technical book. The initial chapters were fine but as the book went on, I felt lost.

I think the lack of numbering (of sections) and a flat sectioning (no sub-sections) also adds to the this feeling of getting lost. The examples presented are overtly complex at times and core language features are not covered rigorously (as advertised). There is a lot of space wasted by chit-chat
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I agree with other reviewers that this is probably not the optimal book for a real beginner. It is, however, great if you’ve been fiddling around with bits and pieces of Javascript here and there and want to solidify your conceptual understanding of the language. The author is very good at explaining not only the “how” of using JS, but also the “why” behind its many quirks. If you don’t care for that look elsewhere, but for me it was very informative.
Nithin Krishna
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is no ordinary javascript book. This book if read right (Do all the exercises) will give you great insight into functional thinking, which will help you with any functional programming language. A must read for every computer scientist.
Veselin Nikolov
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very good book for beginners. Needs updating with the most recent syntax.
Jan 18, 2017 marked it as to-read
My my my....this has to be up there in my favorite programming books shelf. A great book that not only teaches JavaScript, but also teaches programming concepts.
Aug 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, science
There is a lot of light and shadow in Marijn Haverbeke's book JavaScript Eloquent (3rd ed.). It is an interesting and original book whose high ambitions are thwarted by a flawed pedagogical exposition. (One should note that many of the raving reviews for this book are for the first edition, which is a completely different book, and others are by already experienced programmers who are not the target audience of this book and are clearly less affected by the poor pedagogy.)

So let me explain. The
Neeraj Adhikari
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
My review of the book is probably heavily biased, because I'm not really part of the target audience of this book.

It is intended to be a first course in programming, and in my opinion, it serves that purpose well. If you are totally unfamiliar or just barely familiar with programming, this book will be a good introduction to the topic. It focuses on good programming practices and actually building things, without troubling the reader with dry theory.

But if you are someone who has been writing p
Brendan Sudol
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The landscape of programming techniques is enormous, fascinating in its diversity, and still largely unexplored. It is certainly dangerous going, luring the inexperienced programmer into all kinds of confusion, but that only means you should proceed with caution and keep your wits about you. There will always be new challenges and new territory to explore. Programmers who refuse to keep exploring will stagnate, forget their joy, and get bored with their craft.”
Kazi Shoaib
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apart from the newly added chapter on "Asynchronous js" I liked the whole book. I particularly enjoyed the exercise problems and the projects. This book is definitely not for a beginner in programming. But anyone with some previous experience in another language can get a lot out from this book.
Roberto Ocampo
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's an awesome book for learning JavaScript being a beginner. I learned a lot about the most important topics in js
Damjan Pavlica
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this book very useful both for seniors and absolute beginners. I return to it in regular intervals. Truly fantastic book!!
Janice Nawal
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Paweł Rusin
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
That was very good beginner-level programming book. Teaches not only about JavaScript but also about programming best practices, architecting your codebase and other important stuff.
Sannidhi Shukla
May 23, 2020 rated it liked it
this was fine. i don't really care how computers work that much. i don't know what people look for in these books either but from what i can tell it's pretty informative.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best programming books I have read. It is great for people who know programming and a bit of JavaScript, to deepen their knowledge.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading this book in chunks after programming at work for about two years now and have found it useful and more importantly, inspiring. The introduction really spoke to me as he talks about how computers are stupid which makes programming inherently frustrating. He continues to remind the reader that struggling is not a reflection of your own capabilities and wow I thought the pages were jumping right out to speak it me. I was easy to frustrate and easily discouraged starting out progr ...more
May 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: never-finished
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
Toni Tassani
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook
As a technical book you get the right amount of theory and you get hands on exercises since the very beginning. With the variety of tools and frameworks available for the language, the author keeps the things simple and practical. You need to invest time in the exercises to get the full value from the book.
Eventos though ES6 is not covered, the latest version of the language, you get many other valuable insights in a approachable way. And you could read the book for free in the Web site.
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: engineering
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.
Anton Antonov
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technical
A lovely JS book for novice-experienced programmers who want to start writing JS in a weekend.

The book covers the most important aspects of JS and gives enough exercises and projects to build an interesting JS portfolio. For the NodeJS enthusiasts, the last chapter serves as an introduction to NodeJS and is accompanied by a final project.
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Eloquent Javascript 1 20 Feb 22, 2016 03:28AM  

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