- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Manning Publications; 1st edition (30 May 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1617292230
- ISBN-13: 978-1617292231
- Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 1 x 23.5 cm
- Customer Reviews: 211 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #31,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Grokking Algorithms: An illustrated guide for programmers and other curious people Paperback – 30 May 2016
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But aware of the price, it's very costly in Amazon. I would suggest you buy it from the official publisher's website. They have various options for a lower price point.
But, certainly, a really good book to quickly introduce yourself to some good algorithms in a simple way.
Top international reviews
Let's get something straight: algorithms can be hard, and when you get down to the nitty gritty the source material is drier than a particularly dry thing at midday in the Sahara so anything that attempts to make the concepts more palatable to the self-taught is to be applauded irrespective of whether or not it succeeds. The thought of an illustrated book will, no doubt, make the purists recoil in horror - that's their loss. Sometimes a couple of drawings are far more illuminating than pages full of discrete mathematics, and this is what we have here.
This won't be to everyone's tastes - some programming knowledge is assumed, but the fundamentals are discussed in a fluff-free manner with short snippets of code (in Python) to reinforce the points made. The usual suspects are here: starting with binary search, moving up through various sorting and tree/graph algorithms with a brief detour into NP-complete problems such as the travelling salesman and knapsack problem. There's an excellent overview of big-O notation and one of the better explanations of recursion that I've come across - I almost feel that I understand it now.
If your background is in 'hard' computer science then there's probably very little here for you - having said that, if you're self-taught or have moved into software development from another discipline then you'll probably learn something. Certainly, I found even the basic stuff to be very illuminating and have started applying some of the concepts to my own code with tangible results.
TL;DR - if you've already got a grounding in computer science then look elsewhere- there are plenty of other books on algorithms and algorithmic design that will go into excruciating amounts of detail. If you're not one of these people and want to get up to speed then this may be right up your street - the content is engaging enough that it'll encourage you to read more deeply into the subject.
Several concepts that aren’t algorithms per se are also explained, for example arrays, linked lists, hash maps and call stacks. The book covers a broad range of algorithms, from basic ones, like binary search and sorting, to more advanced like graph algorithms and dynamic programming.
The implementations are given in Python. However, the emphasis is not on the code, but on explaining how the algorithms work. The true test to see if you have understood the content is to write your own implementations of the algorithms. Reading this book is a good first step to that understanding.
This book is specifically geared towards the visual learner. We want to "see" where we're going, and this book gives you more in the first chapter than an entire year of University education.
If you're a visual learner, this book is unique and a must have.
There is nothing else on the market that has this approach. You can "see" the point, the logic and how it works, and that's it. You've learnt a "hard concept" and are grinning from ear to ear, as it's taken you 10 minutes.
Another bonus is that the publisher provides the means to download the ebook versions (kindle, pdf, etc.) free of charge with the purchase of the paper book.