Google offers plenty of tips for preparing for their interview, but they don’t mention the best book for Google interview preparation.
So you might look the part and say the right things. But you don’t want to be caught off guard when solving coding problems.
Luckily, we have a solution for that.
Today we’re looking at the absolute, all-time best book for Google interview preparation: Cracking the Coding Interview.
But we’re also looking at some close runner-ups that can also help you prepare for your Google coding interview.
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TLDR: Best Book for Google Interview Preparation
If you’re looking for the absolute best book for Google interview preparation, we recommend:
🔥 Best Overall 🔥
Cracking the Coding Interview
It was written by a former Google software engineer/interviewer and has helped countless developers pass their FAANG interviews.
Best Book for Google Interview Preparation: Interview Books
1. Cracking the Coding Interview
Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell is the absolute best book for Google interview preparation. She’s an ex-software engineer and interviewer from Google, so she’s got the insider knowledge.
And you can use that to your advantage.
First of all, you’ll learn about what to expect during the non-technical aspects of the interview. This includes things like:
- the interview process
- preparing for the interview
- behavioral questions (soft skills)
- navigating the job offer
In addition, there’s an extensive section on big O notation.
🍷 Cracking the Coding Interview pairs well with the FAANG interview prep course AlgoExpert.
The second part of the book gets down to business with 189 programming questions asked at actual FAANG interviewers.
There’s a solution and solution walkthrough for each problem.
In addition, you’ll get hints on how to solve each problem. These hints are similar to ones you’ll get at the FAANG coding interview.
You’ll also learn about 5 strategies proven to help navigate algorithms so you can solve questions you’ve never seen before.
Most solutions are presented in Java, though there’s a small section of problems in C and C++.
👉 Read our full review of Cracking the Coding Interview.
🔥 Geena’s Hot Take
Cracking the Coding Interview truly is the best book for Google interview preparation.
It’s well-written, digestible, realistic, need I go on?
You’ll get the help you need in this book, but Gayle doesn’t hold your hand completely.
You’ll learn everything you need to succeed at your coding interview. But it’s up to you to make it happen.
You aren’t going to find a better book for FAANG interview prep.
2. Programming Interviews Exposed
Programming Interviews Exposed by John Mongan, et al. is a close runner up for the best book for Google interview preparation.
Instead of just providing answers to problems, you’ll get a step-by-step walkthrough to explain every solution.
In addition to classic questions on data structures and algorithms, you’ll also cover some newer topics such as:
- data science
- machine learning
You’ll also learn how to navigate the verbal aspects of the interview to please the interviewer and keep the process moving in the right direction.
In addition to the actual interview, Programming Interviews Exposed covers phone screens with non-technical recruiters.
Plus you’ll learn how to demonstrate your skills on GitHub, in contests, and more.
🍷 Programming Interviews Exposed pairs well with the course Grokking the Coding Interview: Patterns for Coding Questions on Educative.io.
Read our complete review of Programming Interviews Exposed.
3. System Design Interview
The system design interview is often considered to be the most difficult technical interview.
System Design Interview by Alex Xu contains a 4-step process to solve almost any system design question.
You’ll work on 16 system design questions such as designing a:
- web crawler
- news feed system
- chat system
- key-value store
- rate limiter
Plus you’ll work on some mainstream problems like designing YouTube and Google Drive.
🍷 System Design Interview pairs well with the systems design course SystemsExpert on the AlgoExpert platform.
There are 188 diagrams throughout System Design to illustrate and clarify concepts.
In addition to design questions, there’s a section which will explain what interviewers look for and why.
🏁 Check out Alex Xu’s latest release System Design Interview – An Insider’s Guide: Volume 2.
4. Elements of Programming Interviews: The Insiders’ Guide
Elements of Programming Interviews by Adnan Aziz, et al. is one of the best books for Google interview preparation.
There are over 250 problems with detailed, step-by-step solutions. All answers are presented in C++.
In addition, there are over 200 figures, 300 tested programs and 150 variants.
You’ll start with the non-technical aspects of interviewing such as:
- interviewer perspectives
- tips on negotiating
- interview strategies
- common mistakes made at interviews
Then there’s a summary of data structures, algorithms and problem solving patterns.
There’s a series of coding problems which are separated into four categories:
- basic and advanced data structures
- algorithm design principles
- searching and sorting
Each chapter contains an introduction, case study, tips and library methods. Then you’ll work on a series of common coding interview problems.
🍷 Elements of Programming Interviews pairs well with the course Master the Coding Interview: FAANG (Big Tech) Interviews on Zero to Mastery.
C++ not your preferred programming language? Check out Elements of Programming Interviews in Java and Elements of Programming Interviews in Python.
5. The Complete Coding Interview Guide in Java
The Complete Coding Interview Guide in Java by Anghel Leonard contains over 200 interview questions. Solutions are presented in Java.
The Complete Coding Interview Guide in Java is separated into two parts.
First you’ll learn about non-technical interview questions and common mistakes to avoid.
The second part of the book contains over 200 questions commonly asked at FAANG interviews.
You’ll work on challenges on various topics such as recursion, object-oriented programming and time complexity.
In addition, you’ll work on:
- linked lists
Then there are more challenging problems on topics such as system scalability and functional programming.
With step-by-step coding solutions, you’ll learn how to write better code.
Readers are expected to be proficient in high school math and Java.
🍷 Looking for more coding interview problems in Java? Check out the skill path Pass the Technical Interview with Java on Codecademy Pro.
Best Book for Google Interview Preparation: Algorithms Books
Algorithms by Robert Sedgewick and Kevin Wayne is a textbook widely used in colleges and universities worldwide. It examines the most commonly found algorithms in use today.
From there, it looks at:
- graph processing
- string processing
It includes 50 algorithms that every programmer should know. Solutions are written in Java.
Algorithms has accompanying courses Algorithms Part I and Algorithms Part II on Coursera.
It’s here that you’ll find over 100 video lectures and:
- exercises and answers
- lecture slides
- programming assignments
🍷 Algorithms pairs well with the course Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview on Educative.io.
7. The Algorithm Design Manual
The Algorithms Design Manual by Steven Skiena is said by some to be the best book for Google interview preparation.
This reader-friendly manual prioritizes design over analysis, so there’s a strong focus on efficient algorithms.
It’s separated into two parts.
The first part deals with methods to design and analyze computer algorithms.
You’ll also learn about:
- data structures
- sorting and searching
- graph traversal
- dynamic programming
The second part is more of a reference which contains algorithmic resources, implementations and a bibliography.
Here’s where you’ll work on 75 of the most commonly found algorithms.
There’s also complete online support for the book’s curriculum which provides links to the best algorithmic implementations in C, C++ and Java.
8. Grokking Algorithms
Grokking Algorithms by Aditya Bhargava is a beginner-friendly book that teaches common algorithms. It’s filled with over 400 illustrations to reinforce concepts (and make learning more fun).
You’ll start with the basics like sorting and searching algorithms. As you progress, you’ll start working on more difficult algorithms like data compression and artificial intelligence (AI).
Some topics covered include:
- quick sort
- Dijkstra’s algorithm
- greedy algorithms
- dynamic programming
And much more.
Each example is presented in the Python programming language.
By the end of Grokking Algorithms, you’ll not only be comfortable with algorithms, but you’ll know where to apply them.
These are good skills to have when preparing for your Google interview.
🍷 Grokking Algorithms pairs well with the course Technical Interviewing on Treehouse.
9. Introduction to Algorithms
Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas Cormen, Charles Leiserson, et al. uses accessible language for algorithms of all levels of difficulty.
Algorithms are designed in pseudocode and explanations are broken down step-by-step to be rudimentary.
Every chapter is self-contained so you can study them independently.
This third edition contains new material such as the role of algorithms and linear programming. In addition, you’ll learn about:
- van Emde Boas trees
- multithreaded algorithms
Introduction to Algorithms is packed with problems and solutions for you to practice for your coding interview.
10. Data Structures and Algorithms Made Easy
Data Structures and Algorithms Made Easy by Narashimha Karumanchi is the best book for Google interview preparation if you thrive on working on tons of problems.
It was released in 2016, but the problems are still relevant.
While often used as a reference, many people use the problems as an interview prep guide.
Some topics covered include:
- linked lists
- graph, selection, and greedy algorithms
- dynamic programming
And much, much more.
Solutions are presented in C and C++.
Best Book for Google Interview Preparation: Conclusion
Today we looked at the best book for Google interview preparation: Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell.
However, we looked at some others that can also help you prepare for your FAANG interview.
So whether you need to brush up on your algorithms or want to dive deep into coding interview questions in Java, we’ve got something for just about everyone.
Google engineer candidates are also reading:
- 14 Best FAANG Interview Books in 2021 [Get a FAANG Job]
- 13 Best Technical Interview Books of 2021 [Technical Interview Prep]
- 15 Best Software Architecture Books for 2021 [Become a Software Architect]
- 19 Best Books for Data Structures in 2021 [Learn Data Structures and Algorithms]
- 11 Best Coding Interview Books in 2021 [Pass the Coding Interview]