Irene I think you can understand the story, but there is a lot of previous information that is needed to enjoy it 100%
José Estevan Reading #1 and #2 (as tagged by goodreads) will provide you with the details you need to really enjoy this one. Really recommended, although the history is self-contained so you can read only one.
Marekbtt I'd say that you need to read #2 (Naked Sun), but #1 is not that necessary. Without #2 you might actually have problems understanding some motivations and actions.
Eugene You should. While each book is its own self-contained story, each book builds on recurring characters and past events.
Dmitriy Odesskiy The thing to understand about Azimov. Many of his books are connected, including this trilogy. Even the ones he wrote way later are connected to his earlier ones. what you will do is up to you. I loved his last novel where you meet 1 character from this trilogy, and he remembers his old friend from it. He really tied it all up, and it has to do with tons from the second book of this trilogy too. If you are into these things, you'll swallow the first 2 books in a day each. I just did rereading.
Prasoon Jha Yes, you need to read novels "The Caves of Steel" & "The Naked Sun", the only thing I would say you can skip is the short story "Mirror Image". Why I am saying you should read the above to novels is because many characters from the novels return in this novel and one purpose of this novel is to make more sense out of the previous two novels. Frankly speaking you won't enjoy it much if you haven't read the above novels.
Brian Hutzell Frankly, I would read the first two (“Caves of Steel” and “The Naked Sun”) and skip this one. I gave it three stars on my first read, and just finished rereading it, largely to see if I’d changed my mind. I haven’t. If anything, I enjoyed it less the second time around. Although in “The Robots of Dawn” Asimov comes as close to giving us a truly touching romantic relationship as he has ever done, I still find most of the dialogue ponderous. If a good editor had insisted that Asimov tighten up the conversations a bit, this book could be brought down from 435 pages to around 300. (Both of the first two Baley novels came in under 300.) The result would have been a book with much better pacing. (And I’m a guy who loves long books!)
KD Mann No, in fact it is a great place to start because it is clearly the best of the first three. If you are like me, you'll read this and then go back and read the first two and the ones that came later, and then come back and re-read this one. It's one of a very few books I've read three or more times.