Best Books for Algorithms and Data Structures

In this article we will be briefly reviewing a few of the best books available on Data Structures and Algorithms.

We’ll provide short descriptions for each book, while also linking to their Amazon pages where you can find hundreds of reviews, both positive and negative to help you make your decision.

Checkout the summary at the end if you are having a hard time making a decision!


Why are Algorithms and Data Structures important?

Algorithms and Data Structures form an important part of programming, or more specifically, problem solving and dat management. Algorithms are used to solve complicated problems efficiently, and using a minimal amount of code. Data Structures on the other hand, are designed to help you efficiently store, access and modify data.

Even if your field or area of expertise doesn’t involve Algorithms or Data Structures, learning them is still worth it. As we solve problems, and learn about new ways of handling data, our own understanding deepens, allowing us to actually improve ourselves as programmers.


1. Algorithms (4th Edition)

by Robert Sedgewick and Kevin Wayne

Algorithms 4th Edition

The fourth edition of Robert Sedgewick and Kevin Wayne’s Algorithms is a leading textbook on algorithms today and used widely in colleges and universities worldwide.

The Book covers the most important computer algorithms that are actively in use in todays world. Furthermore, it also demonstrates how to use Data structures and Algorithms for various tasks such as Sorting, Searching, Graph Processing, String processing etc.

All-in-All, this is a very comprehensive book that covers 50 algorithms. It’s an accumulation of knowledge over the last few decades, that is indispensable for almost any student, whether he be from mathematics, or from computing.


2. Introduction to Algorithms

One of the most popular books for Algorithms out there, by Thomas H. Cormen. It’s an extremely comprehensive book, aiming to fully explain the theory and workings behind Algorithms.

With certain books, you need to know how to use them effectively. “Introduction to Algorithms” is a book that is styled as a reference book with a whole load of theory and concepts. It’s not nessacerily where you start out, or go to learn Algorithms, rather it’s a place you go to learn certain concepts.

It’s best to keep this book along side you while going through some online course or shorter Algorithm series, while reading certain chapters from the book to cement your concepts. Unless of course, you’re a fan of reading heavy books, in which case this book alone will probably more than enough.


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

This here is an algorithm book that takes an Pythonic approach to Algorithms and Data Structures. Using the Python language, it explains everything in a highly readable manner with very good structuring of content.

The book also takes the opportunity to discuss and explain well-known algorithms and data structures that are built into the Python programming language as functions or data types. If you’re a Python programmer, or looking to learn the Python language, this would be a great choice.


4. Cracking the Code Interview

“Cracking the Code Interview” is a massively popular book, especially with those looking to pass interview in large tech giants. Everyone knows how important it is to have solid concepts on Algorithms and Data Structures during an interview.

This book aims to help you with this, by compiling together 189 interview questions, ranging from simple to complex problems. It provides you with walk-throughs and hints as well, just like how you might expect in an actual interview.

Finally, it also takes the time to explain how interviews in large companies are held, and gives out some helpful tips and advice. It’s highly rated no matter where you go, so you can’t go wrong with this one.


5. Algorithm in a Nutshell

The premise under which this book was made, is to help explain where algorithms actually need to be used in real life problems. It’s focus is more on the application on Algorithms, rather than the theory behind them.

It covers algorithms in several languages, not just one. So people who know either one of C, C++, Java or Python will benefit more.

For those looking for the right balance of theory, maths and practical application, this is the book for you.


6. Algorithm Design by Kleinberg & Tardos

Algorithm Design introduces algorithms by looking at the real-world problems that motivate them. The book teaches a range of design and analysis techniques for problems that arise in computing applications.

It’s fairly well received and praised for it’s smooth flow in contrast to other books that just feel dry, as well as it’s easy to digest material. It’s very technical or jam-packed with details, rather it helps you father a good “overall” picture on Algorithms and how they work.


7. Grokking Algorithms

The Grokking Algorithms is a rather unique book written by Aditya Bhargava. It’s a very reader friendly book, that teaches you how to use Algorithms in everyday practical problems.

The book has a very good flow, beginning with easy algorithms and learning how to search and sort. As the book progresses, other more advanced concepts are introduced like data compression and artificial intelligence.

New programmers will especially have a good time with this book due to it’s simplistic and easy to understand style.


8. Problem Solving with Algorithms and Data Structures Using Python

Another well received received books on Algorithms and Data Structures using the Python programming language.

Just like any other good book, it not only goes over with the key data structures and algorithms, it also explains where they are used in practical scenarios. Judging from dozens of various reviews, it’s very compatible with beginners and has a very good teaching style which won’t bore you halfway through.


Conclusion

If you still need help in deciding which book to pick, allow me to give you some pointers.

  1. If you’re a python programmer, or interested in Python, then pick one of the Algorithms Books written using Python.
  2. If you’re new to Algorithms or programming in general, Grokking Algorithms or Algorithms (4th Edition) will be good choices.
  3. If you already have some knowledge and need a reference book, then Introduction to Algorithms is a great choice.
  4. And of course, if you are looking for a job/clearing an interview, definitely go for Cracking the code Interview.

This marks the end of the Algorithms and Data Structures Books recommendations article. Any suggestions or contributions for CodersLegacy are more than welcome. Questions regarding the tutorial content can be asked in the comments section below.

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