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

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

Today we’re looking at the best Ruby books of all time.

๐Ÿง  Did you know? According to GeeksforGeeks, 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:

โœ… Shopify

โœ… Airbnb

โœ… Fiverr

โœ… 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.

๐Ÿ’Ž If you want to learn more about Ruby on Rails, we’ve got you covered.

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

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.

TLDR: Best Ruby Books


๐Ÿ”ฅ Best Overall ๐Ÿ”ฅ
The Well-Grounded Rubyist

๐Ÿ’ฅ Best for Newbies ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Head First Ruby: A Brain-Friendly Guide

๐Ÿ’ธ Best Value ๐Ÿ’ธ

Ruby Programming for Beginners

๐ŸŽ–๏ธ Honorable Mention ๐ŸŽ–๏ธ
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

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
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 ๐Ÿ””). It covers Ruby version 2.5.

โžก๏ธ The Well-Grounded Rubyist is 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:

โœ… Ruby syntax basics

โœ… Ruby extensions

โœ… 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

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
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.

โžก๏ธ Head First Ruby is one of the best Ruby books to learn Ruby programming fundamentals.

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:

โœ… inheritance

โœ… arrays

โœ… hashes

โœ… mixins

โœ… exceptions

โœ… unit testing

And beyond.

Building a game in Head First Ruby

3. Ruby Programming for Beginners

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: Ruby basics

Like Head First Ruby, Ruby Programming for Beginners is geared towards absolute beginners.

And both take an interactive approach.

โžก๏ธ But Ruby Programming for Beginners is one of the best Ruby books 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:

โœ… statements

โœ… code block

โœ… 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

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced programmers new to Ruby
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: Ruby fundamentals

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

๐Ÿ—’๏ธ Yukihiro Matsumoto – creator, designer and lead developer of Ruby

๐Ÿ—’๏ธ 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.

โžก๏ธ The Ruby Programming Language is one of the best Ruby books for Ruby newbies.

But there are also some concepts meant to help experienced Ruby developers build upon their existing skills.

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

โœ… data types

โœ… expressions

โœ… statements

โœ… methods

โœ… lambdas

And beyond.

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


5. Ruby Cookbook: Recipes for Object-Oriented Scripting

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: new and experienced Ruby developers
โ†˜๏ธ
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.

โžก๏ธ Ruby Cookbook is one of the best Ruby books containing recipes for problems ranging from beginner to expert-level.

Some topics covered include:

โœ… data structures

โœ… classes

โœ… objects

โœ… 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.


6. Polished Ruby Programming

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced Ruby developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: metaprogramming, variable uses, error handling

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

โžก๏ธ 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:

โœ… using classes

โœ… class and method design

โœ… error handling

โœ… 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.


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

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
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.

โžก๏ธ The Ruby Way is one of the best Ruby books containing a highly detailed introduction to techniques that every Rubyist should know.

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

โœ… Ruby terminology

โœ… basic principles

โœ… performing calculations

โœ… storing data with SQLite, JSON and YAML

โœ… testing and debugging

โœ… web applications

And much, much more.

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


8. Beginning Ruby 3: From Beginner to Pro

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
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.

โžก๏ธ Beginning Ruby 3 is one of the best Ruby books that starts small with Ruby basics but quickly graduates to more 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:

โœ… writing and deploying Ruby applications

โœ… using Ruby frameworks

โœ… network programming with Ruby

And beyond.


9. Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers’ Guide

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: Ruby newbies with OOP experience
โ†˜๏ธ
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.

โžก๏ธ Programming Ruby 1.9 & 2.0 is one of the best Ruby books covering the fundamentals of Ruby alongside documentation and descriptions of key Ruby components.

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.


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

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced Ruby developers
โ†˜๏ธ
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.

โžก๏ธ Ruby Performance Optimization is one of the best Ruby books where you’ll learn methods to optimize your Ruby applications and minimize slow code.

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

โœ… memory optimization

โœ… CPU optimization

โœ… garbage collector tuning

โœ… 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.


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

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: hackers, pentesters, experienced Ruby developers
โ†˜๏ธ
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.

โžก๏ธ Black Hat Ruby is one of the best Ruby books that shows you how to use Ruby in a variety of nefarious hacking scenarios.

Basically you’ll learn how to weaponize Ruby while:

โœ… testing web applications, networks and systems

โœ… exploiting development

โœ… creating malicious files

โœ… manipulating packets

โœ… manipulating the Burp user interface

And much, MUCH more.


12. Ruby Pocket Reference: Instant Help for Ruby Programmers

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced Ruby developers
โ†˜๏ธ
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.

โžก๏ธ 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.

You’ll find reference materials covering:

โœ… variables

โœ… conditional statements

โœ… time formatting directives

โœ… methods

And other concepts.


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

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: Ruby fundamentals

The Little Book of Ruby Programming touts itself as “the fastest, easiest way to learn Ruby.”

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

After learning how to get started with Ruby, you’ll explore:

โœ… object-oriented programming

โœ… classes

โœ… modules and mixins

โœ… hashes and arrays

โœ… exception handling

And beyond.


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

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: Ruby newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
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.

โžก๏ธ Ruby for Beginners is one of the best Ruby books for absolute beginners to learn the basics of Ruby.

You can get started with Ruby fundamentals such as:

โœ… variables

โœ… methods

โœ… flow control

โœ… iterators and loops

โœ… arrays and hashes

And beyond.

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.

๐Ÿ’Ž 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 Ruby programming concepts like:

โœ… variables

โœ… built-in classes

โœ… objects

โœ… conditionals

โœ… 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.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Cost: $59 per month or $199 per year for all courses and Learning Paths
โฒ๏ธ Duration:
12 hours
๐Ÿ“‰ Level:
Beginner
๐Ÿ–ฅ๏ธ Format:
Interactive
๐Ÿ’ช Support:
Yes
๐ŸŽ–๏ธ Certificate:
Yes


๐Ÿ’Ž 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 Ruby programming basics in one month.

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

โœ… Introduction to Ruby

โœ… Beginner Ruby

โœ… Intermediate Ruby

โœ… 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.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Cost: $299 for all courses (use our link for 25% off)
โฒ๏ธ Duration:
One month
๐Ÿ“‰ Level:
Beginner
๐Ÿ–ฅ๏ธ Format:
Video
๐Ÿ’ช Support:
Yes
๐ŸŽ–๏ธ Certificate:
Yes


๐Ÿ’Ž 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:

โœ… strings

โœ… functions

โœ… collections

โœ… conditionals

โœ… error handling

And more.

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

๐Ÿ’ฐ Cost: $29 per month or $299 per year for all courses and Learning Paths
โฒ๏ธ Duration:
1.5 hours
๐Ÿ“‰ Level:
Beginner
๐Ÿ–ฅ๏ธ Format:
Video
๐Ÿ’ช Support:
No
๐ŸŽ–๏ธ Certificate:
Yes


Best Ruby Books: Conclusion

Now let’s look at our top methods to learn Ruby programming.

Today we looked at the best Ruby books including:

๐Ÿ”ฅ Best Overall ๐Ÿ”ฅ
The Well-Grounded Rubyist

๐Ÿ’ฅ Best for Newbies ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Head First Ruby: A Brain-Friendly Guide

๐Ÿ’ธ Best Value ๐Ÿ’ธ

Ruby Programming for Beginners

๐ŸŽ–๏ธ Honorable Mention ๐ŸŽ–๏ธ
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. Itโ€™s dynamically typed and uses just-in-time compilation and garbage collection. Its focus is on simplicity and productivity. Similar to Python, itโ€™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.