14 best ruby books this year [learn ruby programming asap]

14 Best Ruby Books in 2022 [Learn Ruby Programming ASAP]

🧠 Did you know? Yukihiro Matsumoto wanted a language that was more powerful than Perl and more object-oriented than Python. Thus, Ruby was born.

What is Ruby?

Ruby is a high-level general purpose programming language. It’s dynamically typed and uses just-in-time compilation and garbage collection.

Ruby’s focus is on simplicity and productivity. Similar to Python, it’s generally considered easy to read and write.

What platforms use Ruby?

Plenty of well-known platforms use Ruby including:

✅ Shopify

✅ Airbnb

✅ Fiverr

✅ Gumroad

And many more.

What is Ruby vs Ruby on Rails?

Ruby is a programming language. Ruby on Rails is a web framework that runs on Ruby.

💎 If you want to learn more about Ruby on Rails, we’ve got you covered.

Today, we’re showing the best Ruby books out there. But wait, there’s more! We’ve also got a few Ruby courses at the bottom of this article.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you buy something. Read my disclosure for more details.

TLDR: Best Ruby Books


🔥 Best Overall 🔥
The Well-Grounded Rubyist

💥 Best for Newbies 💥

Head First Ruby: A Brain-Friendly Guide

💸 Best Value 💸

Ruby Programming for Beginners

🎖️ Honorable Mention 🎖️
The Ruby Programming Language: Everything You Need to Know

Best Ruby Books

Below are the best Ruby books we could find.

1. The Well-Grounded Rubyist

↘️ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
↘️
Topics covered: Ruby 2.5, syntax, extensions

The Well-Grounded Rubyist is a Manning book geared towards Ruby newbies (that’s got a nice ring to it 🔔). It covers Ruby version 2.5.

It’s considered by many to be one of the best Ruby books overall.

This tutorial starts by teaching you how to build your first Ruby program. As you progress you’ll discover more advanced topics such as reflection and recursion.

And in between, this easy-to-read guide will teach you:

✅ Ruby syntax basics

✅ Ruby extensions

✅ side-effect-free code

And much more.

➡️ The Well-Grounded Rubyist helps you learn key principles while you write your first Ruby programs.

See what Ruby developers are saying about The Well-Grounded Rubyist:

Probably the best comprehensive single Ruby tutorial there is.

LordSetoSaitama, Ruby Developer

2. Head First Ruby: A Brain-Friendly Guide

↘️ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
↘️
Topics covered: Ruby basics

We love Head First books.

They’re really neat because instead of walls of text, they use engaging images, notes, illustrations and other fun visuals. And Head First Ruby is no exception.

With this book, you can expect to learn the basics of Ruby programming with panache. You’ll uses hands-on exercises to learn about concepts like:

✅ inheritance

✅ arrays

✅ hashes

mixins

✅ exceptions

✅ unit testing

And beyond.

➡️ By the end of Head First Ruby, you should have a firm understanding of the basics of Ruby programming.

Building a game in Head First Ruby

3. Ruby Programming for Beginners

Ruby Programming for Beginners is one of the best Ruby books for developers on a budget.

↘️ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
↘️
Topics covered: Ruby basics

Like Head First Ruby, Ruby Programming for Beginners is geared towards absolute beginners. And both take an interactive approach. But Ruby Programming for Beginners is for developers on a budget.

With tutorials and hands-on examples, you’ll learn how to write your very first Ruby script. From there, you’ll dive into core Ruby programming concepts such as:

✅ statements

✅ code block

✅ variable data types

Then you’ll get started with object-oriented programming and control structures.

➡️ By the end of Ruby Programming for Beginners, you should understand basic Ruby concepts and be able to build simple web applications.


4. The Ruby Programming Language: Everything You Need to Know

↘️ Ideal for: experienced programmers new to Ruby
↘️
Topics covered: Ruby fundamentals

The Ruby Programming Language receives an honorable mention today because it’s written by:

🗒️ Yukihiro Matsumoto – creator, designer and lead developer of Ruby

🗒️ David Flanagan – author of JavaScript: The Definitive Guide and Java in a Nutshell

However, this is an older book featuring Ruby versions 1.8 and 1.9. So while it is somewhat outdated, you’ll still find valuable information from industry experts you probably won’t find anywhere else.

You’ll start with a quick-start guide to Ruby. Then you’ll dive deep into the language, learning about concepts such as:

✅ data types

✅ expressions

✅ statements

✅ methods

✅ lambdas

And beyond.

You’ll also explore Ruby’s application programming interface (API) and metaprogramming.

➡️ The Ruby Programming Language is geared towards Ruby newbies. But there are also some concepts meant to help experienced Ruby developers build upon their existing skills.


5. Ruby Cookbook: Recipes for Object-Oriented Scripting

↘️ Ideal for: new and experienced Ruby developers
↘️
Topics covered: recipes for solving Ruby problems

Ruby Cookbook is different than other books on our list. Rather than learn about concepts, you’ll learn how to apply concepts with over 350 object-oriented problems.

Some topics covered include:

✅ data structures

✅ classes

✅ objects

✅ distributed programming

And much more.

You’ll also explore problems related to web development with Rails and Sinatra. Then you’ll tackle software testing, debugging, packaging and distributing.

➡️ Ruby Cookbook contains recipes for problems ranging from beginner to expert-level.


6. Polished Ruby Programming

↘️ Ideal for: experienced Ruby developers
↘️
Topics covered: metaprogramming, variable uses, error handling

Polished Ruby Programming is one of the best Ruby books covering Ruby 3.0.

In this book, you’ll start by learning the Ruby fundamentals such as:

✅ using classes

✅ class and method design

✅ error handling

✅ code formatting

Then you’ll head into higher-level concepts like metaprogramming and refactoring. Finally, you’ll tackle web application development principles like databases and web frameworks.

➡️ Polished Ruby Programming offers advice and recommendations to build robust applications that are scalable and maintainable.


7. The Ruby Way: Solutions and Techniques in Ruby Programming

↘️ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
↘️
Topics covered: fundamentals

The Ruby Way is a step-by-step introduction to Ruby version 2.1. It’s similar to Polished Ruby Programming, but here you’ll learn an older version of Ruby.

Featuring over 400 examples with detailed explanations, you’ll learn about:

✅ Ruby terminology

✅ basic principles

✅ performing calculations

✅ storing data with SQLite, JSON and YAML

✅ testing and debugging

✅ web applications

And much, much more.

You’ll find an accompanying website featuring a Ruby blog and other features.

➡️ The Ruby Way is a highly detailed introduction to techniques that every Rubyist should know.


8. Beginning Ruby 3: From Beginner to Pro

↘️ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
↘️
Topics covered: Ruby fundamentals

Similar to Polished Ruby Programming, you’ll find the fundamentals in Beginning Ruby 3. But in this book, you’ll go beyond the basics and learn intermediate and advanced concepts.

So you’ll start by learning the basics of Ruby version 3.0 alongside its object-oriented building blocks. You’ll learn how to use Ruby libraries, gems and documentation.

Then you’ll work on more difficult tasks such as:

✅ writing and deploying Ruby applications

✅ using Ruby frameworks

✅ network programming with Ruby

And beyond.

➡️ Beginning Ruby 3 starts small with Ruby basics but quickly graduates to more advanced concepts.


9. Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers’ Guide

↘️ Ideal for: Ruby newbies with OOP experience
↘️
Topics covered: Ruby 1.9 and 2.0

Programming Ruby 1.9 and 2.0 is one of two books on our list that covers Ruby versions 1.9.

The book is separated into four distinct sections. First, you’ll find a tutorial which will show you how to use Ruby. Next, you’ll find a language reference guide.

After that, you’ll find complete documentation of all built-in classes, methods and modules. Finally, you’ll find a glossary of 97 standard Ruby libraries.

➡️ Programming Ruby 1.9 & 2.0 shows you the fundamentals of Ruby alongside documentation and descriptions of key Ruby components.


10. Ruby Performance Optimization: Why Ruby is Slow, and How to Fix It

↘️ Ideal for: experienced Ruby developers
↘️
Topics covered: best practices, garbage collection, bottlenecks

Ruby Performance Optimization covers everything from legacy Ruby version 1.8 all the way up to version 2.2.

In this book, you’ll learn some common (and not so common) methods of:

✅ memory optimization

✅ CPU optimization

✅ garbage collector tuning

✅ performance testing

And more.

As you level up your skills, you’ll learn how to profile your code, understand profiler reports and make the best decisions possible.

➡️ With Ruby Performance Optimization, you’ll learn methods to optimize your Ruby applications and minimize slow code.


11. Black Hat Ruby: Offensive Ruby Programming for Hackers and Pentesters

↘️ Ideal for: hackers, pentesters, experienced Ruby developers
↘️
Topics covered: testing, exploiting, etc.

Black Hat Ruby is unlike any other book on our list. It tackles offensive Ruby tactics for pentesters and black hat hackers. Basically you’ll learn how to weaponize Ruby while:

✅ testing web applications, networks and systems

✅ exploiting development

✅ creating malicious files

✅ manipulating packets

✅ manipulating the Burp user interface

And much, MUCH more.

➡️ Black Hat Ruby shows you how to use Ruby in a variety of nefarious hacking scenarios.


12. Ruby Pocket Reference: Instant Help for Ruby Programmers

↘️ Ideal for: experienced Ruby developers
↘️
Topics covered: keywords, variables, methods

Ruby Pocket Reference covers Ruby version 2.2. This handy guide is meant to provide quick solutions to common questions from experienced Ruby developers.

You’ll find reference materials covering:

✅ variables

✅ conditional statements

✅ time formatting directives

✅ methods

And other concepts.

➡️ While Ruby Pocket Reference says it’s geared towards Ruby newbies, we recommend you have at least some experience with Ruby before buying this book.


13. The Little Book Of Ruby Programming: Learn To Program Ruby For Beginners

↘️ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
↘️
Topics covered: Ruby fundamentals

The Little Book of Ruby Programming touts itself as “the fastest, easiest way to learn Ruby.” After learning how to get started with Ruby, you’ll explore:

✅ object-oriented programming

✅ classes

✅ modules and mixins

✅ hashes and arrays

✅ exception handling

And beyond.

➡️ The Little Book of Ruby Programming is a bare bones Ruby book written by well-known author and teacher Huw Collingbourne.


14. Ruby For Beginners: Your Guide To Easily Learn Ruby Programming in 7 days

Ruby for Beginners is another one of the best Ruby books for beginners.

↘️ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
↘️
Topics covered: beginner concepts

Ruby for Beginners claims it will teach you Ruby in 7 days… So is that true?

Partially. Yes you’ll learn the basics of Ruby, but you probably won’t get an in-depth understanding of all concepts.

But you can get started with Ruby fundamentals such as:

✅ variables

✅ methods

✅ flow control

✅ iterators and loops

✅ arrays and hashes

And beyond.

➡️ Ruby for Beginners is a great place for absolute beginners to start learning the basics of Ruby.

Here’s what Ruby developers are saying about Ruby for Beginners:

This is the best beginning Ruby book I have read to date…

Jeffh, Ruby Developer

Bonus: Ruby Courses

Here you’ll find some of the best Ruby courses out there.

These courses can be combined with the best Ruby books you choose to read.

💎 Learn Ruby from Scratch: Educative.io

Lesson on variables in the course Learn Ruby from Scratch on Educative.io

We absolutely love Educative.io for beginner courses. And Learn Ruby from Scratch is no exception. This interactive course contains over 30 challenges and 199 coding playgrounds where you’ll learn about:

✅ variables

✅ built-in classes

✅ objects

✅ conditionals

✅ hashes

Then you’ll dig into more complex concepts like writing methods, blocks and nested arrays.

By the end of this course, you should understand the basics of Ruby programming. Then if you want to learn about Ruby on Rails, you can check out the course Introduction to Ruby on Rails.

💰 Cost: $59 per month or $199 per year for all courses and Learning Paths
⏲️ Duration:
12 hours
📉 Level:
Beginner
🖥️ Format:
Interactive
💪 Support:
Yes
🎖️ Certificate:
Yes


💎 Ruby: One Month

Customizing your terminal in the course Ruby on One Month

Unlike Educative.io, One Month is a video-based platform where you’ll do all work outside the platform on your local computer. So there is some toggling, downloading, etc.

One Month is an interesting platform. They claim they can teach you a new programming language in… one month. That’s a hefty claim, but if you follow the program, you can learn the basics of Ruby in one month.

The syllabus is broken down into four, week-long sections:

✅ Introduction to Ruby

✅ Beginner Ruby

✅ Intermediate Ruby

✅ Advanced Ruby

You’ll also work on a super secret project during this course. And as a bonus, you’ll work on 9 API challenges.

By the end of this course, you should be able to build your own Ruby applications.

💰 Cost: $299 for all courses (use our link for 25% off)
⏲️ Duration:
One month
📉 Level:
Beginner
🖥️ Format:
Video
💪 Support:
Yes
🎖️ Certificate:
Yes


💎 Ruby: Getting Started: Pluralsight

Course overview of Ruby: Getting Started on Pluralsight

Like One Month, Pluralsight is a video-based platform where you’ll do all work on your local computer. But this course is a bit different than One Month Ruby.

Rather than learn intermediate and advanced Ruby concepts, you’ll stick to just the basics.

You’ll start the course by writing your own Ruby program. Then you’ll dive into Ruby basics such as:

✅ strings

✅ functions

✅ collections

✅ conditionals

✅ error handling

And more.

By the end of this course, you should have the basics of Ruby down.

💰 Cost: $29 per month or $299 per year for all courses and Learning Paths
⏲️ Duration:
1.5 hours
📉 Level:
Beginner
🖥️ Format:
Video
💪 Support:
No
🎖️ Certificate:
Yes


Best Ruby Books: Conclusion

Today we looked at the best Ruby books including:

🔥 Best Overall 🔥
The Well-Grounded Rubyist

💥 Best for Newbies 💥

Head First Ruby: A Brain-Friendly Guide

💸 Best Value 💸

Ruby Programming for Beginners

🎖️ Honorable Mention 🎖️
The Ruby Programming Language: Everything You Need to Know

We also peeped a few of Ruby courses.

So whether you want the latest in Ruby technology or need to iron out the fundamentals, we think these are the best Ruby books out there.


Ruby developers are also reading:


  1. What is Ruby programming?

    Ruby is a high-level general purpose programming language. It’s dynamically typed and uses just-in-time compilation and garbage collection. Its focus is on simplicity and productivity. Similar to Python, it’s generally considered easy to read and write. You can learn more about Ruby in today's article where we look at the best Ruby books and courses.

  2. What are the best Ruby books?

    The best Ruby books include The Well-Grounded Rubyist which we think is the best overall. For newbies, we liked Head First Ruby: A Brain-Friendly Guide. And for value, we think Ruby Programming for Beginners is the way to go. Perhaps one of the best Ruby books is by the creator of Ruby Yukihiro Matsumoto called The Ruby Programming Language: Everything You Need to Know. To learn about these Ruby books and more, be sure to check out today's post.

  3. What are the best Ruby courses?

    We think the following three are the best Ruby courses available. For starters, there's Learn Ruby from Scratch by Educative.io. After that, we think the Ruby course on One Month is the way to go. And if neither of those is your speed, be sure to check out Ruby: Getting Started on Pluralsight. You can learn more about these courses in today's post.

  4. What is Ruby vs Ruby on Rails?

    Ruby is a programming language. Ruby on Rails is a web framework that runs on Ruby. You can learn more about Ruby in today's article. We're looking at the best Ruby books out there. We also dive into a few Ruby courses.

  5. What platforms use Ruby?

    Plenty of well-known platforms use Ruby programming including Shopify, Airbnb, Fiverr, Gumroad, and many more. If you'd like to learn Ruby, today we're looking at some of the best Ruby books out there. We've also checked out a few Ruby courses we think may be worth your time.