Top 6 Machine Learning Books for Beginners in 2021

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These are the top 6 Machine Learning Books for beginners if you are just starting out to learn about machine learning.

There are so many ways to learn machine learning as a skill. You can take an online course to learn about Python and SQL. You can also do a ML boot camp or a ML master degree. Throughout my career in data science, I found that books are still a good choice that allows you to focus on the thought process and get exposure to many topics before you can commit to go hands-on to build the model yourself.

As most of these books are available on Amazon, but I also recommend you to checkout your local library to see if they have a copy!

1. Machine Learning For Dummies – 2nd Edition

Recommend for complete beginners: ★★★★

This is a very friendly machine learning book for beginners as all the other “Dummies” series. It’s a fun read with mostly beginning level math and codes.

  • Intro to machine learning and AI
  • Big data and algorithms explained
  • Demystifying the math behind AI
  • Many best practice examples
  • Practical uses for machine learning
  • Real-world datasets
  • Ethical approaches to data use

2. Practical Deep Learning: A Python-Based Introduction

Recommend for beginners in deep learning: ★★★

This book gives a quick overview of the classical models, and then goes into a conceptual introduction of deep learning models. It skips over most of the mathematical details but focuses heavily on the evaluation of models, which is why I like this book.

Often when you go into a ML interview, the evaluation of the model can be most critical. It’s also experiment focus by giving you the results from experiment instead of just telling you the conclusion.

3. Machine Learning For Absolute Beginners: A Plain English Introduction (Machine Learning From Scratch)

Recommend for complete beginners: ★★★

This book is for “amateur”. It can be a very light read for you to get some familiar with many concept in machine learning. For those with some moderate experience, this book is really scratching the surface for the most part. I would say if you are still undecided about machine learning, then this can be the book. It can help you build up a comfort level and interest to move on to more advanced topics.

4. Introduction to Machine Learning with Python: A Guide for Data Scientists

Recommend for committed beginners: ★★★★

This book is a more comprehensive read. It is not only a machine learning book for beginner, but it also covers all the important aspect of implementing machine learning without requiring the advanced math concepts. A true beginner probably will not pick up all the knowledge in this book, but will definitely refer back to this book in the future.

5. The Hundred-Page Machine Learning Book

Recommend for more experienced (not for beginner): ★★

This book is a bit more expensive for its length. It has some great colored illustrations and it is concise and explains most topic in simple ways. It also packs some of mathematical details even though it’s such a short book. If you are mathematically inclined, this is definitely a great book to server as a reference. It might be hard for beginner without a math background however.

6. Python Crash Course, 2nd Edition: A Hands-On, Project-Based Introduction to Programming – 2nd Edition

Recommend for anyone: ★★★★★

Lastly, this is not a ML book but it’s a great beginner book for Python. You probably noticed that all the books that I introduced that Python based or language neutral because I believe Python is way ahead of other languages. This book is a great complement to any online courses that you take. It really focuses on the giving you an understanding to write your own code and a great introduction into software engineering. It can take you from zero programming background to having confidence in producing your own program!

Also check the first edition which is cheaper 😛


That is all I have for the machine learning books for beginners. When I get to read more books I will definitely recommend more and also try to advertise for them!

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