cover of book Eloquent JavaScript book 3rd edition with peackock with rock background

Eloquent JavaScript Review for 2021 (Is Eloquent JavaScript worth it?)

In this Eloquent JavaScript review I’ll be showcasing the book’s vital stats and features. Is this book worth it in 2021?

You’ll soon find out.

You’ll also see some customer feedback (warning: not all of it is great!).

Finally, you’ll discover if Eloquent JavaScript is good for beginners.

TLDR: Eloquent JavaScript Review

Eloquent JavaScript is an excellent book for web developers.

In addition to discovering the inner workings of JavaScript, you’ll also build five projects.

Node.js is also included.

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

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

Here’s my Eloquent JavaScript video review (Celina the cat also helped):

Eloquent JavaScript Review: FEATURES

Eloquent JavaScript is a winning formula of theoretical information and practical projects.

In addition, Eloquent JavaScript’s organization ensures you’re being exposed to the foundational components of the JS ecosystem.

For example, the book is separated into three main parts: Language, Browser, and Node.

But perhaps the biggest selling point are the diverse projects.

In fact, the book contains five JavaScript projects that touch upon many of JavaScript’s important parts.

Eloquent JavaScript Projects

First up, you’ll build a robot in JavaScript.

Then you’ll create your own programming language.

After that, you’ll build a pixel art editor you can use in the browser.

Then you’ll build a platform game:

the Platform Game Project screenshot from eloquent javascript featuring lava with coins and a player
You’ll build this platform game in Eloquent JavaScript.

Finally, you get your hands dirty with a Node.js project, a skill-sharing website.

What’s nice about these projects is that they’re NOT typical. For example, you won’t be building a TODO app or basic calculator in Eloquent JavaScript. All five are fun, engaging projects.

But let’s rewind to the content and organization of Eloquent JavaScript. Here are the chapters (minus projects):

PART I: Language

  • Values, Types, and Operators
  • Program Structure
  • Functions
  • Data Structures: Objects and Arrays
  • Higher-order Functions
  • The Secret Life of Objects
  • Bugs and Errors
  • Regular Expressions
  • Modules
  • Asynchronous Programming

PART II: BROWSER

Eloquent JavaScript book open to Handling Events chapter

PART III: Node

  • Node.js

Although the Node section is short, Eloquent JavaScript is one of the few popular full-stack JavaScript books. Marjin Haverbeke shows you an incredible breadth of context in this book.

Eloquent JavaScript Review: PRICE

Eloquent JavaScript is priced new between $30-40 on Amazon. This is for the 3rd and most recent edition:

book cover with peacock of Eloquent JavaScript 3rd Edition by Marijn Haverbeke
Make sure you’re getting the 3rd edition with the angry bird head on the cover.

You’ll find earlier editions of Eloquent JavaScript for cheaper, but beware! Those editions are outdated and you’ll be learning dusty material. Stick with the 3rd edition.

Eloquent JavaScript Review: WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

As of this writing, Eloquent JavaScript has a phenomenal 96% upvote rate on Google. On Amazon it averages an impressive 4.5 stars out of 5.

Here’s what people are saying.

RichardAlexanderGreen says:

Chapter six alone is worth the price of the print edition.

It has the clearest explanation of object oriented programming concepts that I have read anywhere.

While an anonymous Amazon user reported:

I have over 20 years of experience writing software, and this is the best JavaScript book I’ve found.

And that brings me to my next point: While I love Eloquent JavaScript, I don’t recommend it to just anyone and everyone.

Is Eloquent JavaScript Too Complex for a Beginner?

Simply stated, Eloquent JavaScript COULD BE too complicated for beginners. (Really, it all depends on how you define “beginner.”)

For example, this book isn’t geared towards code newbies. In other words, if you’ve never seen a line of code in your life, this book is probably going to be confusing.

That said, if you have a bit of programming experience and are new to JavaScript? Eloquent JavaScript might be perfect for you.

For example, JRP titled his review “A great resource for Those of us who are new to JavaScript.

He went on to say:

Very detailed and thorough, I was getting frustrated with the online course I was taking, the explanations in this book helped me understand what I was doing.

To be fair, I have no idea if this person is completely new to programming.

Maybe they are and completely loved the book. I’m just saying it’s not my first suggestion to people who are new to coding/programming. (Instead, I recommend A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript by Mark Myers).

Indeed, Dustin S confirms this:

[…] I ended up buying “A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript” and doing about half the exercises in it before coming back to this book.

cover of A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript by Mark Myers with a rock background
If you’re a code newbie, I recommend A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript by Mark Myers.

Eloquent JavaScript Review: Final Thoughts

Eloquent JavaScript by Marjin Haverbeke is a modern JavaScript classic.

Featuring a classic JS-yellow book cover, this book’s expansive content and five quality projects shine.

You’ll build a robot and your own programming. You’ll also build a pixel art editor and skill-sharing app with Node.

This book is divided into three parts. This includes the language itself, the browser, and Node.js.

In other words, Eloquent JavaScript is a must for the modern web developer. Just remember it may not be suitable for you as a beginning programmer.

Finally, be sure to invest in the 3rd edition rather than earlier editions.

Happy JavaScripting!


If you enjoyed this Eloquent JavaScript review, check out my next one:

Refactoring By Martin Fowler: Improving the Design of Existing Code (2nd Edition)

  1. What is Eloquent JavaScript?

    Eloquent JavaScript is a book written by programmer Marjin Haverbeke. It is currently on its 3rd edition, released in 2018. The book consists of three main sections to include the language itself, the browser and Node.js You also build 4 projects throughout the book.

  2. Who wrote Eloquent JavaScript?

    Eloquent JavaScript was written by Marjin Haverbeke. Marjin is a programmer and writer from Berlin. He also has a blog where he writes about tech and programming.

  3. What projects will I build in Eloquent JavaScript?

    You will build five projects in Eloquent JavaScript. First you'll build a robot. Second you'll create your own programming language. Third, you'll build a pixel art editor you can use in your browser. Fourth, you'll develop a platform game. And finally, you build a skill-sharing website in Node.js.