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

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

What is functional programming?

Functional programming is a declarative programming paradigm. It evolved from lambda calculus which is a computation system based exclusively on functions.

So programs are constructed by writing functions. And because the code tends to be cleaner, it’s easier to test and maintain.

Some common functional programming languages include Scala, Haskell, Clojure and F# (all of which you’ll find in today’s list of functional programming books).

What companies use functional programming?

Functional programming languages are used by companies including:

โœ… Facebook

โœ… Twitter

โœ… Amazon

โœ… PayPal

โœ… Staples

โœ… Walmart

And many more.

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

TLDR: Best Functional Programming Books This Year

๐Ÿ”ฅ Best Overall ๐Ÿ”ฅ
Grokking Simplicity: Taming Complex Software with Functional Thinking

๐Ÿ’ฅ Best for Newbies ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Functional Programming, Simplified

๐Ÿ’ธ Best Value ๐Ÿ’ธ

Functional Programming in JavaScript

๐ŸŽ–๏ธ Honorable Mention ๐ŸŽ–๏ธ
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Best Functional Programming Books

1. Grokking Simplicity: Taming Complex Software with Functional Thinking

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: intermediate and advanced developers building complex software
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: patterns, time modeling approaches, higher-order functions

Grokking Simplicity published by Manning is one of the best functional programming books we could find.

You’ll find that this book takes a unique approach to functional programming. You’ll learn why certain software features are complex, and the functional techniques you can use to simplify them.

You’ll also learn how to solve complex timing bugs and discover how composable abstractions enable you to avoid repeating code.

โžก๏ธ Grokking Simplicity aims to change the way you approach software development and design using functional programming.

Functional programming steps in Grokking Simplicity

See what functional programmers are saying about Grokking Simplicity:

Very straightforward and accessible to those new to functional programming! Excellent!

– per nissilรค, Functional Programmer

โš™๏ธ Want to get interactive while learning functional programming? Sign up for the course Learn Functional Programming in Haskell on Educative.io.

2. Functional Programming, Simplified

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: functional programming newbies
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: pure functions, recursion, data modeling

Functional Programming, Simplified is one of the best functional programming books for beginners.

It’s also meant for developers who have struggled with functional programming in the past.

Using Scala, you’ll learn:

โœ… how and why to write pure functions

โœ… why recursion is a natural tool for functional programming

โœ… main approaches for organizing pure functions

โœ… how to write recursive algorithms

And beyond.

Author Alvin Alexander is also the genius behind the Scala Cookbook (#7 on our list of functional programming books).

โžก๏ธ With Functional Programming, Simplified, you’ll learn five simple rules to write pure, functional code.

๐Ÿ”ฅ Geena’s Hot Take

This is the “easiest” introduction to functional programming you’ll find. Not that functional programming is easy. Because it’s not. At all.

But if you’re looking for a proper introduction that won’t completely fly over your head, Functional Programming, Simplified is the way to go.

See what functional programmers are saying about Functional Programming, Simplified:

… Very easy to follow and to code along.

– ErgRecords, Functional Programmer

โš™๏ธ If videos are more your speed, check out the Functional Programming in Scala Specialization on Coursera.

3. Functional Programming in JavaScript

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: JavaScript developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: this, immutable objects, data transformations

Functional Programming in JavaScript is one of the best functional programming books for developers on a budget.

JavaScript can be used as a functional language if you remove certain features like this. After doing so, you’ll explore:

โœ… immutable objects and collections

โœ… data transformations

โœ… creating and use monads and functors

โœ… working with promises and observables

And understanding the Elm Architecture.

โžก๏ธ With Functional Programming in JavaScript, you will learn how to convert and use JavaScript as a functional programming language.


โš™๏ธ Videos more your speed? Get a general overview of functional programming with the video course Functional Programming: The Big Picture on Pluralsight.

4. Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: new and experienced developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: different types of programming, computer science

This book is old as hell. So why did we include it in our list of best functional programming books?

Because Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs is one of the best computer science books of all time.

It’s based off a course that was taught at MIT. The information is still highly relevant and the book is considered by many to be the holy grail of tech books.

So while you’ll learn about functional programming, you’ll also explore other concepts alongside it like:

โœ… concurrent programming

โœ… numerical programming

โœ… nondeterministic programming

โœ… meta programming

โœ… imperative programming

You’ll also find much more in this rich, complex text.

โžก๏ธ Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs is a challenging book for developers who want to learn functional programming alongside other computer science concepts.

See what developers are saying about Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs:

… By the time you are done you will know about imperative programming, functional programming, meta programming, lazy data structures and everything in between.

– russ olsen, Developer

5. Functional Programming in C++

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced C++ developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: function objects, lazy evaluation, algebraic data types

Functional Programming in C++ is one of the best functional programming books in the Functional Programming series published by Manning.

With examples, diagrams and illustrations, you’ll learn how to improve your C++ programs using functional techniques such as:

โœ… lazy evaluation

โœ… function objects and invokables

โœ… algebraic data types

And more.

โžก๏ธ Functional Programming in C++ exhibits how C++ supports functional programming with templates, lambdas and other core language features.

C++ not your thing? Be sure to check out the other books in the Functional Programming series published by Manning:


6. Get Programming with Haskell

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced developers new to Haskell
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: functional programming basics, programming in types

Haskell is one of the most popular functional programming languages.

Steering away from functional programming theory, you’ll instead learn Haskell with easy-to-follow, hands-on lessons. You’ll discover:

โœ… how to think in Haskell

โœ… the basics of functional programming

โœ… programming in types

And more.

You’ll also write dozens of Haskell programs.

โžก๏ธ Get Programming with Haskell is meant to be an introductory guide to Haskell basics, not a complete tutorial.

Not interested in Haskell? Be sure to check out Get Programming with Scala, another book in the Get Programming series published by Manning.


7. Scala Cookbook: Recipes for Object-Oriented and Functional Programming

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced Scala developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: object-oriented, functional, and concurrent applications with Scala

Now Scala Cookbook is a bit different from the other functional programming books on our list today. Rather than learn Scala, you’ll take the knowledge you already have and apply it to the problems in this book.

In addition to functional programming, you’ll find problems on object-oriented programming and concurrency. You’ll find 1000 code snippets to help you along the way while solving over 250 Scala problems.

These problems, or recipes, cover:

โœ… functional programming techniques

โœ… Scala classes and methods

โœ… concurrency

โœ… best practices such as functional error handling

And much, much more.

โžก๏ธ Scala Cookbook will teach you how to navigate common, real-world problems using the functional programming language Scala.

Code snippet in the Scala Cookbook

8. Functional Python Programming

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced Python developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: lazy evaluations, composite functions

Functional Python Programming published by Packt is one of the best functional programming books for Python developers.

Similar to the book Functional Programming in JavaScript, you’ll learn how to manipulate language features so you can put functional programming into practice. For example, you’ll use Python’s generator functions and expressions for lazy evaluation.

Then you’ll create composite functions by designing and implementing decorators. Finally, you’ll explore how the Python standard library fits the model of functional programming.

โžก๏ธ Functional Python Programming is an example-rich introduction to functional programming in Python.


9. Composing Software: An Exploration of Functional Programming and Object Composition in JavaScript

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced JavaScript developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: functional programming, object composition

Composing Software is one of the best functional programming books for JavaScript developers.

It’s similar to the book Functional Programming in JavaScript. But with this book, you’ll be able to apply the lessons you’ve learned to other languages as well.

Some of what you’ll learn includes:

โœ… functional programming

โœ… object composition

โœ… how to work with composite data structures

โœ… higher order functions

โœ… functors and monads

And beyond.

โžก๏ธ Composing Software shows you how to break down complex problems into manageable pieces.


10. Programming Scala: Scalability = Functional Programming + Objects

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: beginner to advanced Scala developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: basic and advanced functional programming

Programming Scala published by O’Reilly is one of the best functional programming books for Scala developers.

You’ll learn how to program faster with Scala’s succinct syntax. In addition, you’ll learn basic and advanced functional programming techniques.

Then using functional combinators, you’ll build distributed apps. Finally you’ll use Scala’s sophisticated type system to find solutions to difficult design problems.

Programming Scala is filled with code examples.

โžก๏ธ Programming Scala is for beginner to advanced developers who want to understand Scala’s design philosophy.


11. Modern Java in Action: Lambdas, Streams, Functional and Reactive Programming

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced Java developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: functional programming, reactive programming, streams, lambdas

Modern Java in Action is one of the best functional programming books for experienced Java developers.

In addition to functional programming, you’ll learn about:

โœ… reactive programming

โœ… lambdas

โœ… streams

In regards to functional programming, you’ll first learn how to think functionally. Then you’ll learn functional programming techniques.

Finally you’ll blend object-oriented programming with functional programming all while comparing Java to Scala. That’s because Java and Scala share the same libraries.

โžก๏ธ Modern Java in Action uses Java 9 and 10 to teach functional programming, reactive programming and beyond.


12. Domain Modeling Made Functional: Tackle Software Complexity with Domain-Driven Design and F#

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced F# developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: domain-driven design, functional programming

domain-driven design books Domain Modeling made Functional cover

Domain Modeling Made Functional published by The Pragmatic Programmers is one of the best functional programming books for F# developers.

The worlds of domain-driven design and functional programming collide in this powerhouse of a book. You’ll learn how this winning combination leads to architectures that are service-oriented and hexagonal.

The result? A functional domain model that works with traditional databases as well as NoSQL.

โžก๏ธ Domain Modeling Made Functional helps you solve real-world problems by focusing on software requirements.


13. The Clojure Workshop: Use Functional Programming to Build Data-Centric Applications with Clojure and ClojureScript

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: new and experienced Clojure developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: using functional programming to build data applications

The Clojure Workshop published by Packt is one of the best functional programming books for Clojure developers.

In fact, this is the only book on our list today that covers Clojure and ClojureScript.

With this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn the fundamentals of functional programming. Then you’ll work on tasks such as:

โœ… writing idiomatic code for Clojure and ClojureScript

โœ… mapping, reducing, filtering and recursion

โœ… improving code efficiency with macros

And beyond.

โžก๏ธ By the end of The Clojure Workshop, you should be able to tackle projects using Clojure and ClojureScript.


14. Mastering JavaScript Functional Programming

โ†˜๏ธ Ideal for: experienced JavaScript developers
โ†˜๏ธ
Topics covered: function composition, declarative coding, recursion

Mastering JavaScript Functional Programming is for experienced JavaScript developers who want to level up their programming skills.

You’ll learn how to :

โœ… simplify coding using function composition

โœ… use declarative coding to write clean code

โœ… improve functional code

โœ… work with advanced functional programming concepts

And more.

โžก๏ธ Mastering JavaScript Functional Programming will help you develop techniques for building better algorithms, writing more succinct code and performing testing.


Best Functional Programming Books: Conclusion

Today we looked at the best functional programming books including:

๐Ÿ”ฅ Best Overall ๐Ÿ”ฅ
Grokking Simplicity: Taming Complex Software with Functional Thinking

๐Ÿ’ฅ Best for Newbies ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Functional Programming, Simplified

๐Ÿ’ธ Best Value ๐Ÿ’ธ

Functional Programming in JavaScript

๐ŸŽ–๏ธ Honorable Mention ๐ŸŽ–๏ธ
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

So whether you’re functionally programming in Haskell, Clojure or another language altogether, we think these are the best functional programming books out there.


Functional programmers are also reading: