Sunday, February 9, 2020

Top 5 Data Structure and Algorithm Books - Must Read, Best of Lot

Data Structure and Algorithms books are often taught as textbooks in various universities, colleges, and Computer Science degree courses, yet, when you put programmers in a situation, where they need to find and decide, which data structures and algorithms to use to solve a problem, they struggle. I have seen this, and I think one reason for this is perspective. When you read something like a textbook and your perspective is just to do well in the exam, you might not be thinking about learning and applying that knowledge to real-world problems. Since data structures and algorithms are the core of any programming problem, it becomes extremely important for programmers to master them even if you have learned well during academics.

In this article, I am sharing five of my favorite books on data structures and algorithms, which I think are a great read and can help every programmer to master data structure and algorithms. After reading some feedback that a combination of book and online courses work better for beginners, I have also shared some online data structure and algorithms courses you can join along with these books.

I have chosen these books because of different reasons. Some books are really easy to read and their focus is aligned to my expectation, some of them are really comprehensive and can be used as reference material, and few of them offers different perspective of using data structures and algorithms e.g. while solving a real-world problem or helping to crack interviews at Google, Amazon, Microsoft or Facebook.

It's hard to judge your knowledge of data structure and algorithms by knowledge-based questions because that's not how they are used in a project. It doesn't help to know about every single detail of a Car if you can't even drive.


These data structure and algorithms books have helped me to find and fill in gaps and taught me a lot of things about different data structures like stacks, queues, linked lists, arrays, hash tables, heaps, trees, and graphs. If you are using a different data structure and algorithm book, which is good and not on this list, you can share it with us.



Top 5 Data Structure and Algorithm Books

Here is my list of some of the good books to learn data structure and algorithm. Since both data structure and algorithm are both languages independent, but I suggest you pick a book that has an example in your preferred languages like C, C++, Java, or Python.  

You should also try to implement and use those data structures on your own like writing your NAry tree to hold hierarchical data, writing your own hash table even though you have HashMap in Java. Ok, now let's see my favorite algorithm and data structure books:


This is one of the best books on Computer Algorithms, it's written by four authors, one of them is Thomas H. Cormen, whose another book Unlocked Algorithm is also the most recommended book to learn algorithms.

This book is a lot more comprehensive and covers lots of different algorithms and advanced problem-solving techniques like greedy algorithms, dynamic programming, Amortized Analysis, along with elementary data structures like Stacks and Queues, Array and linked list, Hash tables, Tree, and Graph. This book is a unique combination of completeness and rigorous.

Another good thing about this book is that algorithms are explained in English, and in pseudo-code, which can be understood by even programmers, who have just started programming, but if you want to learn Data Structure in Java, then you can also combine this book with Data Structures and Algorithms: Deep Dive Using Java course on Udemy.

best book to learn algorithm


It's equally useful for all kinds of programmers like senior, experienced and freshers and in all kinds of programming languages like Java, C or C++. One of the must-reads books on Algorithms for software programmers and developers.


Algorithms are complex and hard to understand, even for a computer science graduate. Any book, which makes a readable attempt of the algorithm, by associating with real worth things, does a huge favor for its reader.

Algorithm Unlocked is one such book, which presents some of the widely known computer algorithms in the field of finding the shortest path, searching and sorting algorithms, String related algorithms, cryptography and data compression algorithms, and some interesting problems.

This book is one of the most engaging and readable books on the topic of algorithms and worth of every penny spent on it. The only thing, I found this book lacks is that it only covers Algorithms and not data structures, as it can not be used as a reference book.

It's the best to use is as a companion, along with a much more comprehensive book on data structures and algorithms but you can also combine this book with Algorithms and Data Structures - Part 1 and 2 courses from Pluralsight which covers both data structure and algorithms to cover both.

Must read Data Structure and Algorithm Books




This is another data structure and algorithm book, which scores well on readability and practical usefulness. I particularly like its clean, clear and concise explanation; followed by real-world use cases and then lots of problems to master a particular data structure or algorithm.

The only thing, which is not per my convenience was its examples, which are written in C programming language. If you can easily manage that then it's a very good book to learn data structure. In fact, this encouraged me to write my own implementation in Java while going through it, which certainly helps in the long run.

Remember, getting an objective feel of what is data structure, how does it work is quite different than implementing same data structure by yourself, and then trying different things like finding cycles in linked list or finding middle node of linked list in single pass, is a good exercise after you implemented linked list data structure in Java. 

Btw, if you are preparing for coding interview then you will also find Grokking the Coding Interview: Patterns for Coding Questions on Educative very useful. This book shares some of the common patterns which apply to multiple coding problems. This means you don't need to remember the hundreds of Leetcode problems. Just master these 15 underlying patterns to interview questions, and you'll be able to tackle anything you face on the interview


Good books to learn data structure and algorithm in Java

Coming back to the book, you can certainly buy this book on readability, clear and concise explanation and, more importantly, nontrivial examples. One of the best book to learn data structure and algorithms for beginners.



This is another conventional book on Algorithms and Data structures. Two things, which I liked about this book are, examples are given in my favorite Java programming language and you can use this book as a reference for learning data structures like the stack, queue, linked list, tree or graph.

The good thing about this book is that if not only focuses on data structures and algorithms but also on Java, which makes it an ideal choice for Java programmers. Though it doesn't cover a lot of algorithms, it did cover algorithms related to directed and cyclic graphs, minimum spanning trees and comes up with a lot of exercises for practice.

Not the best, but a good book to learn algorithm and data structure in Java but you can also combine this book with this Data Structures & Algorithms course from Udemy which not only covers advanced data structure and algorithms like Trie, AVL trees, Graph but also Dynamic programming and Greedy Algorithms, which are very important for coding interviews.

best book to learn data structure in Java




Algorithms for Interviews are quite different than previous books on data structures and algorithms. It offers a different perspective of designing and using algorithms by applying them to different interview questions.

If you are preparing for software engineer interviews at Google, Microsoft, Amazon or Facebook, you can expect a lot of questions from the data structure and algorithms, and this book helps a lot. I liked this book because I learned a lot of things, which I haven't learned by following conventional books on data structures and algorithms.

It's not a textbook, neither a comprehensive guide of algorithms, but it's worth reading to improve your understanding of algorithm and problem-solving skills. It definitely deserves a place on the bookshelf of a programmer, who like to learn from other's experience.

Though, for better preparation, I also suggest you check out Master the Coding Interview: Data Structures + Algorithms course on Udemy which provides live solutions to some of the top coding problems from Google, Amazon, and Facebook, which will help you to better understand the approach and methods.

Must read book to learn data structure and algorithm



That's all on my list of must-read books data structures and algorithms. This list is equally useful to both Java and C, C++ programmers, or better any programmer because it's a common programming concept and used in all kinds of projects, written in different programming languages. At least one book on data structures and algorithms must always be on a programmer's self, along with some timeless classic like Clean Code and Effective Java.


Related Data Structure and Algorithm Interview Questions from Javarevisited Blog
  • Top 10 Courses to learn Data Structure in Java (courses)
  • Top 15 Data Structure and Algorithm Interview Questions (see here)
  • 5 Free Courses to learn Algorithms for Beginners (courses)
  • Top 20 String coding interview questions (see here)
  • 10 Books and Courses to Crack Coding Interviews (books)
  • 133 core Java interview questions of the last 5 years (see here)
  • 10 Books to Master Algorithms in-depth (books)
  • Top 30 Array Coding Interview Questions with Answers (see here)
  • Top 30 linked list coding interview questions (see here)
  • Grokking Algorithms - Best Book to learn Algorithms for Beginners (review)
  • Top 50 Java Programs from Coding Interviews (see here)
  • Top 5 books on Programming/Coding Interviews (list)
  • 5 Best Courses to learn Data Structure and Algorithms for Interviews (courses)
Thanks for reading this article so far. If you like this article then please share it with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or doubt then please let us know and I'll try to find an answer for you.

8 comments :

Jan Andersen said...

Or you could read the original.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algorithms_%2B_Data_Structures_%3D_Programs

javin paul said...

@Jan, definitely a nice book but I found it slightly difficult to read, mainly due to examples given in PASCAL.

KetanDikshit said...

What about Robert Sedgewicks: Algorithms (java version); http://algs4.cs.princeton.edu/home/
One of my favorites( but for intermediate leve , I guess)

Anonymous said...

Robert Sedgewicks: Algorithms is indeed a great book and its also free to read online. I have read it couple of times and it's even used in coursera's algorithm course, which is also free.

Unknown said...

Plz suggest books for android

javin paul said...

@hardik, sure I will suggest some book for Android soon. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Here is another list of 10 free Java Programming books, worth checking it out too. Cheers ...

Unknown said...

hello brother can i get pdf of "Robert Sedgewicks"

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