Top 10 Algorithms books Every Programmer Should Read

Algorithms are language agnostic, and any programmer worth their salt should be able to convert them to code in their programming language of choice. Unfortunately, I have come across several programmers who are REALLY good at programming languages like Java or Python, like know minor details of API and language intricacies but have very poor knowledge of the fundamentals of Algorithms and Data Structures. Just ask them to implement any popular sorting algorithms like quicksort or merge sort, and they will fall apart. If you expect them to know more advanced and sophisticated algorithms like String processing algorithms, graph algorithms, tree traversal, or greedy algorithms, be ready to check on Interviews; otherwise, you might end up with some surprises.

Once, I come across a perfect candidate for a core Java senior developer role, He was excellent in Java, multi-threading but his data structure and algorithm skill were penniless to his experience and caliber.

When I asked him why he didn't spend time brushing his algorithm and problem-solving skill before coming to the interview?

His excuse was, "those algorithms are just for meetings and never really used in practical coding. I have never used them in my 6 years of Java development career. "

He was somewhat right; you don't need to implement a hash table in Java; you can always use the HashMap class or Dictionary in Python for that sense, but he failed to recognize the more long-term improvement algorithm and data structure do in improving programming skill.

Algorithms are tools for developing programming solving skills and coding sense, which is required to convert a user requirement into a line of code, also known as a computer program.

They are also all around, if you use Facebook, have you ever thought about how they find your friends so quickly? Or how does Netflix recommends the movie you want to watch?   Those are just a couple of examples of Machine Learning Algorithms, which are taking Algorithms to another level.

10 Algorithm Books - Must Read for Developers

Another gold tip to those who think that Algorithms are Data Structures is for those who want to work in Amazon, Google, Facebook, Intel, or Microsoft; remember it is the only skill that is timeless, of course, apart from UNIX, SQL, and C.

Programming languages come and go, but the core of programming, which is algorithm and data structure remains the same.

If you know how a hash table works, then you can use their implementation in any programming language like HashMap from JDK, Dictionary in Python, or HashMap from the C++ boost library.

So, if you are serious about programming and realizing now that algorithms and data structure is not optional, here are some of the great books to learn algorithms.

Some of you might have already read them before, but they are worth reading again.

1. Introduction to Algorithms 4th Edition by Thomas H. Corman

This is one of the most popular algorithm books, but be aware that it contains a heavy dose of theory. The current edition of this book is 4th Edition, and I strongly suggest that every programmer should have this on their bookshelf, but only for short reading and references.

This book is also commonly referred to as CLRS (named after its authors Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, and Stein), is a seminal textbook in the field of computer science. Now in its fourth edition, this comprehensive and authoritative resource provides an in-depth exploration of fundamental algorithms and data structures. 

This book is also the gold standard in data structure and algorithms but It's not possible to finish this book in one sitting, and some of you may find it difficult to read as well, but don't worry, you can combine your learning with an online course like Data Structures and Algorithms: Deep Dive Using Java along with this book.

This is like the best of both worlds, you learn basic Algorithms quickly in an online course, and then you further cement that knowledge by going through the book, which would make more sense to you now that you have gone through a class already.

best book to learn Algorithms in depth

Widely used in academic settings, the book covers a wide range of topics, including sorting, searching, graph algorithms, dynamic programming, and more. The fourth edition incorporates updates and new content to reflect the evolving landscape of computer science. 

I have also write a detailed review of Introduction of Algorithm book here, in case you want to read. Another reason I recommend this book as one of the first books on algorithms is because of its language agnostic and accompanied by lectures here 

2. Algorithms by Robert Sedgewick & Kevin Wayne

This was my preferred resource on algorithms for a long time, it still is, but now I see it less often than before. You will learn lots of background on the algorithm, and nowadays, even specific versions of this book are available for different programming languages like Java and C++.

There's also a couple of free Coursera online courses for this book, Algorithms Part 1 and Algorithms Part 2, which nicely complement this book. It's excellent. It's also my top recommendation to Java programmers for learning algorithms.

Believe it or not, but if you already know a programming language, then seeing an example of an algorithm on that programming language than others also reduces the learning curve. You can also read the 4th Edition of this book online for free here.

best Algorithm book for Java Programmers

3. The Algorithm Design Manual by Steve S. Skiena

This is another excellent book on computer algorithms that go over a ton of algorithms with a lot of code as well. What I especially like about the book is where he actually gives examples of where he used the algorithms (or variations thereof) in practice; it really helps you see the class(es) of problems that a particular algorithm (or family of algorithms) can be used for.

The code is in C, but it's not very esoteric, and it's easy to follow. I had also been out of school for a while, and this helped me get up to speed quite quickly on several graph algorithms

I've had this for almost 10 years now and still look at it from time to time.

One notable feature of this book is the inclusion of "war stories" that provide real-world insights into algorithm design and problem-solving. The book is often praised for its practicality, emphasizing the importance of intuition and problem-solving skills in addition to formal algorithmic analysis. 

It is also widely used in academic settings and serves as a valuable resource for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of algorithmic principles and their practical applications.

advanced algorithm book for programmers

4. Algorithm for Interviews

Algorithm for Interview by Adnan Aziz is a must-read book on algorithms, written in terms of keeping programming interviews in mind.

The cover itself shows how unusual the book could be if you look at the image carefully on the cover is drawn with thumbnails of famous people, and the book explains how you can develop such algorithms. Interesting, isn't it?

Well, I like this book because of its approach and objective, sometimes learning the same thing with different objects helps to understand it better. 

You can also combine this book with the Grokking the Coding Interview: Patterns for Coding Questions, an excellent interactive course from to learn essential coding patterns like sliding window, merge interval, fast and slow pointers, etc that can be used to solve 100+ Leetcode problems. 

And, if you like these Grokking interview courses from DesignGuru, you can get all of them for a big discount by purchasing their All course bundle. This bundle include their most popular Grokking courses like Grokking System Design Interview, OOP Design, Coding Patterns, as well Grokking Dynamic programming interview.  

You can also use discount code GURU to get 30% discount. 

best algorithm book for interviews

5. Algorithm in Nutshell

O'Reilly's Algorithms, in a Nutshell, is an excellent book to learn programming algorithms, especially for Java programmers. It describes the algorithms with a focus on implementing them and without heavy mathematics used in classic books on algorithms.

All algorithms are presented in pattern form, with a motivation to use them, pictures and pseudo-code giving a high-level overview, and working code (in C, C++, Java, and Ruby).

They also have benchmarks to provide proof of the theoretical performance of the algorithms. In short, one of the best books to learn algorithms for programmers.

Practical book to learn Algorithm

6. Algorithm Design by Kleinberg & Tardos

This is actually the second-best book in Algorithms after Thomas Cormon's Introduction to Algorithms. It's not really an introduction to algorithms and is more suited to experienced programmers.

It's more about algorithm design for developers familiar with the basic algorithms. You should start with the Introduction of Algorithm book or Algorithms by Robert Sedgewick and then continue with this book.

Btw, if you like, you can also combine your learning with an online course like Algorithms and Data Structures - Part 1 and 2 on Pluralsight. It's an excellent course to get familiar with essential Algorithms and Data Structure before you move on to the Algorithm Design topic.

Algorithm design book for programmers

7. Introduction to Algorithms: A Creative Approach

Introduction to Algorithms: A Creative Approach By Udi Manber is another excellent book for self-study as it is full of hundreds of problems and examples.

This book is designed to enhance the reader's problem-solving abilities and understanding of the principles behind algorithm design, which will help you to develop your Problem solving and Coding skills.

Good book to learn Algorithms

8. The Design and Analysis of Algorithms

This is another great cook on computer algorithms and deserves a place on a programmer's shelf. Once you've gone through the Coursera class on Algorithms and one of the intro books, you can read this book for studying advanced topics in algorithms.

Advanced algorithm design books

9. Data Structures and Algorithms. Aho, Ullman & Hopcroft

Another good intro book on algorithms and data structures. A lovely and bright book and any programmer who doesn't like the heavy use of Mathematics on the algorithm will appreciate this book.

Btw, if you find this book challenging to read, which is what some of my readers complain about, then you can also take a look at the Grokking Algorithms by Aditya Bhargava, one of the easiest and exciting books on Algorithms for beginners.

best Data structure and algorithm books

10. Python Algorithms: Mastering Basic Algorithms in the Python Language

This book is designed for Python programmers. Magnus Lie Hetland is also the author of one of the popular introductory Python books, Beginning Python.

As I have told that algorithms are language-independent; learning python algorithms doesn't mean you cannot implement them in Java or C++, but if you already know Python, then this is an excellent book to learn computer algorithms.

This book also gives a lot of focus on Graph Algorithms, which are very useful in solving real-world problems.

best books to learn Algorithms in Python

11. Grokking Algorithms by Aditya Bhargava (Bonus)

This is another great book to learn about Algorithms in Python. When I got bored by reading Algorithms and Introduction to Algorithms book, I started reading this book and it was quite refreshing. 

Starting with the size of the book, this one is quite lean and clean compared to other algorithms book which encouraged me to reading. Then I hooked into Aditya's diagram and explanation and real world examples which I can related to, like how does Facebook will find my profile when I login.  

Their chapter on Dynamic Programming and Knapsack problem is another gem as before that I never really understood the dynamic programming but this book makes using Dynamic programming really easy, just like an extension of recursion and divide and conquer approach. 

By the way, If you also struggle with Dynamic programming like me, you can also check the Grokking Dynamic Programming Patterns for Coding Interview course on DesignGuru, this was another resource I used a lot while preparing for Dynamic programming question for coding interviews. It's also part of their all course bundle which I mentioned before. 

best algorithms book for Python developers

All these things makes this book an essential book on Algorithms particularly for Python developers. In fact, one of the best Algorithms book on Python. But if you ask this is one of the most readable book a complex topic like data structure, algorithms and dynamic programming.  I highly recommend it and other books from Aditya Bhargava. 

I have also wrote a detailed review of Grokking Algorithms here, in case you want to read and I also have a great news to share that the 2nd edition of the book is also coming in 2024. 

That's all about 10 Algorithm books every programmer should read. I agree that algorithms are a complex topic, and it's not easy to understand them in one reading; in that case, I suggest reading the same book twice.

Also, just reading is not enough, try to implement them in a programming language you love. It doesn't hurt writing your own ArrayList, HashMap, or a tree-based Map implementation. The effect of learning Algorithms is not immediately visible, but you will notice a subtle improvement in your thinking, solution building, and code quality over time.

Btw, if you are interested in an online course on algorithms, I suggest you check out Data Structures and Algorithms: Deep Dive Using Java on Udemy. It's not a free course, but you can buy in just under $10 on several of Udemy flash sales, which happens every few days. 

At last, there are two types of programmers, one who understands the algorithm and one who doesn't.

Other Data Structure and Algorithms Articles you may like

Thanks for reading this article, If you like this list of books then you would also enjoy my collection of 10 books every programmer should read, which is the list of books on programming, coding, software development techniques, and best practices, computers, programming as profession and experience of some of the great programmers/coders/developers of last 50 years.

P. S. - If you are looking for some free courses to learn Data Structure and Algorithms then you can also check this list of free Data Structure and Algorithms courses for Java and Python developers. You will find examples in both programming languages.


  1. A List of algorithm books but without data structure? I think data structure is equally important as algorithms and you should include some books on data structure as well.

    1. I think u are confused . Those books make mention of that topic. Just looking up on those books. Regards

  2. Art of computer programming by Donald Knuth

    1. Certainly YES... Its Missing in the list.

    2. Javin Paul where is the greatest and most awarded toughest book of all time. The book is the art of programming which is missing in the list which is written by famous computer scientist Donald knuth.why you didnot mention the name of this book in your list as it is the toughest book

    3. Best book of algorithm it is hard and toughest of all algorithm book .thats why many bloggeries deos not like it . Donald knuth the famous scientist has written the book

    4. Kunuth's books are great, but it requires a lot of understanding of mathematics, and it's not some highschool math, many time he uses very high level mathematics, that only math graduates can understand.

  3. Algorithm Design by Jon Kleinberg and Éva Tardos is probably the best algorithm ever to start with.

    1. Hello Hernan, Thanks for suggesting Algorithm Design by Jon Kleinberg and Éva Tardos. I haven't got a chance to read that book yet, but sure take a look in future. Do you recommend this to Java Developers as well? I mean thus examples given in Java?

  4. No one reads these books; you are just selling stuff. Seriously, you have read "Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas H. Corman" front to back? No ... you haven't.

    1. Hello @Scott, you don't need to read a book front to back always. Sometime you refer them, sometime you keep them referring again and again. There are very few book, which I would say anyone read, front to back twice or thrice e.g. Effective Java, Clean Code etc.

    2. Even the nerdest guy couldnt read 10 algorithm books and I guess almost non of the enginners in the google,etc read any algortihm book front to back even read any any page of them. Books are mostly for selling! Good advertising!

    3. @anonymus jun 23
      Don't project your own habits onto what you expect from others.
      I spelled sedgewick forward and backward.

  5. Another good book is Algorithms by Sanjoy Dasgupta , Christos H. Papadimitriou , Umesh Vazirani.Check it out. It is easier to read than the Introduction to Algorithms, which will atleast take 2 to 3 weeks to complete.

    1. Hello @Anonymous, thanks for suggesting Algorithms by Sanjoy Dasgupta, I haven't read this book yet, but surely look into future. Though, I really like a easier to read book on Algorithms because the topic itself is very complex and hard to understand.

  6. One more good book to learn programming algorithms is "Algorithmics: The Spirit of Computing" by David Harel and Yishai Feldman. This is one of the easiest to read books on Algorithms that I have found and it is written by a genius in the field of algorithms.

    1. Hello @Annoymous, "Algorithmics: The Spirit of Computing" is indeed a great addition into this list. The best part, as you mentioned is that its easy to read, which is just what you want to understand a complex topic like Data Structure and Algorithms. I will add this into main list sometime.

  7. I see it's helpful post from various aspects.

  8. Replies
    1. Thank you Michy, glad that you like these algorithm books for programmers.

  9. Where is the art of programming did greatest algorithm book which is written by Donald I knuth

  10. Where is the greatest book of all time naned the art of programming written by famous scientist Donald k's missing in the list paul

  11. Where is the greatest book of all time naned the art of programming written by famous scientist Donald k's missing in the list paul

    1. Hello @Anonymous, indeed, that's a great book, but honestly speaking its too difficult to read. I have tried it a couple of times and only then I started to understanding it little better.

  12. Replies
    1. Thank you Robert, glad you find this book recommendation useful.

  13. "Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas H. Corman" this book was really awesome currently I am reading this book nowadays I feel the content and concept given in this book is excellent

    Thank you mr. Robert for this recommendation

  14. Not finding Knuth was heartbreaking

    1. @Lion, no doubt Knuth is one of the great book on computer programming, but its also very hard to read. I would rather suggest "Grokking Algorithm by Aditya Bhargava" than Knuth, unless and until you really know what you do and understand complex wording. Though, its a good reference book, where you can refer and keep learning some concept in detail.

  15. Thanks for this great list! going to order a few from it.

  16. Hello Please let me know the good book for counting patterns,number of restricted permutations,counting,etc

  17. I of course haven't read any or all of these books in their entirety, but I have spent a decent amount of time on 1/2 these books so here is my take. If you would like to learn algorithms through java code and not pseudo code then "Algorithms" by Sedgewick is great. It is written entirely in Java code for all examples with accompanying visual aids. The problem is sometimes reading code isn't the best way to fully understand an algorithm. Skiena's book takes a different approach, there is significantly less code in the book (C language) but there are still computer language examples. Kleinberg & Tardos' book is entirely pseudo code which some people might not be as excited about but I personally think for what material it covers is by far the best book in the list. Sure, it doesn't cover the depth that Cormen's book covers, but it is beautiful to read. It is almost as if someone is telling their friend in passing all about certain (mostly graph) algorithms, but they also justify all their claims with proofs for those who enjoy a deeper level of understanding. In conclusion, Sedgewick's book is practical for people who want to see java code example of popular algorithms, Skiena uses some code but mostly pseudo code and covers a wide range of topics, Kleinberg and Tardos is an absolute joy to read for the material it covers (Less than Skiena but best of all I've read). Finally Cormen's has its place, but it is more of a dictionary that should be used to look up things for further understanding.

  18. And the fun fact is that none of this is needed for many if most of the real wold jobs, which are and endless grind with requirements, bugs, spaghetti, documents, bad tools, bad managmeman, bad colleagues, etc.

  19. Can you recommend good data structures and algorithm books for JavaScript?

    1. I don't know a book as of now but will let you know once I found a good one. Btw, if you like online courses then Colt Steele's Data Structure and Algorithms on JavaScript is a good course to start with.

  20. thanks bro, good blog with many good resource

  21. Hi there
    I'm programming for almost 10 years but i just developing application not programming. I want to learn algorithm. I am very poor at math. Which one do you prefer for me ? is it good to start with "Algorithms by Robert Sedgewick & Kevin Wayne 4th edition " ? my main programming language is java
    I bought Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas H. Corman . It was the scariest book I've ever seen !!! I can't even read the symbols let alone understand them

    1. Hello @Anonymous, if you have trouble understating algorithms then I suggest you to start with "Grokking Algorithms" book, examples are in python but explanation is very easy and that's the most important part. Once you know how an algorithm work, you can code in any programming language like Java or C++

    2. Hi again :)
      I finished "Grokking Algorithms" and it was very good book for beginners
      I want to know what book should I read after that ? or video tutorial ??

    3. I have recommended a couple of data structure and algorithms courses in this article you can check that.

  22. Replies
    1. Yes, indeed, btw did you checked the 4th Edition of the book? It's now available and its awesome too.


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