Best titles for Go programmers

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Go is an easy-to-use but surprisingly powerful language that you might call a modern version of C. It has a clean and simple structure that’s supposed to be statically typed, but it behaves like a dynamically typed language. Although it compiles to native code, it is as easy to use as an interpreted language. In this guide, we’ve highlighted the best of the Go books we’ve reviewed on I Programmer.


I Programmer covers hundreds of programming titles per year, good and bad, to make it easier for you to find the good ones. Our programmers’ shelves aim to showcase the very best.

If you want to read more about the original review, click on the link in each title. The book jacket thumbnails in the side panel provide links to the Amazon website.

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Author: Mike McGrath
Publisher: In Easy Steps
Pages: 192
ISBN: 978-1840789195

Mike James gave this title the maximum five stars, saying that overall it’s a great introduction to Go if you’re in a hurry and not a complete dummy. He said that while it won’t make you an expert, it will do more than just start you. There are no large-scale examples, although Mike considers that to be an advantage. It’s also too short to cover everything, but for its size it covers enough.

Highly recommended if you want a Go refresh.


Author: Wei-Meng Lee
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-1119786191

This recommendation from Mike James is made even though he says this is not a book for dummies. Giving the title four stars, Mike says it’s a fairly reasonable book on Go, well-written and to the point.

Mike says that overall it’s a fairly standard account of a language for anyone who already knows how to program, but it’s not as concise as you might like in the early chapters. It doesn’t do a good job of selling the benefits of Go as a language, and it doesn’t discuss Go as a systems programming language. You might want a copy if some of the practical examples are things you want to do.


Author: Alan AA Donovan and Brian W. Kernighan
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-0134190440

When reviewing this book, Harry Fairhead posed the question “Can Brian Kenighan do for Go what he did for C?” Brian W. Kernighan wrote the classic guide to C, back when it was a new language, co-authoring it with Dennis Richie, one of the creators of C. There’s a lot on Go that are similar to C, and indeed this book has similarities to the classic “The C Programming Language” beyond the shape of the title.

Harry’s conclusion was that this book was easy to read was not as useful as the original classic K&R book on C. Harry learned C from the K&R book over a weekend, but couldn’t say the book Go had transformed him overnight into a Go. programmer in the same way. Awarding four stars, Harry called the title concise, but said there was so much more to say, concluding: “After reading it, you can probably write Go programs, but probably not with confidence – there has too much to remember.”


Author: David Chisnal
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Pages: 288
ISBN: 978-0321817143

Don’t make the mistake of thinking this “phrasebook” is just some sort of reference. It’s one of the best introductions to the Go language you can find and why it’s packaged that way is a mystery, according to Mike James, who gave the book a 4.5 star rating.

He says you can expect to read this book cover to cover despite its small size and being labeled a “phrasebook” because it’s more than just a cookbook or a list of idioms in Go. Rather, it’s a perfectly readable introduction to the language that has been misrepresented.

Mike says if you’re looking for a quick introduction to Go and are a reasonably proficient programmer, this comes highly recommended. However, he hopes the publisher will produce a revised book with bigger pages and a better title!

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