Quantum Computing Books For Beginners

[By Nathan Schor]

Following are approximately 70 books (from Amazon*) categorized into three parts – one main section on Quantum Computing books, followed by two sections on pertinent sub-topics – Linear Algebra and Philosophy Of Physics. **

Among the many books available, those below were explicitly chosen for those readers new to the field, as signaled by their title/tag line containing ‘introduction’, or ‘beginners’ or similar terms. Of course, there’s some variation in meaning of those terms. All the more for Quantum Computing, given it’s located at the intersection of three distinct disciplines – physics, math and computer science. All the same, each book was worth the cost and time to review.

Note some of the books have commentary about how effective they are as learning resources. Please feel free to add your opinion, an enhancement to the site we’re soon providing. In the meantime, please email nathan@quantumcurious.org with your comments and I’ll post them manually.

* The links are for your convenience. We do not earn compensation from your use of them.

** Since a section on ‘Philosophy of Physics’ is likely unexpected, its inclusion deserves a brief explanation. Although not necessary to learn and apply Quantum Computing, the topic is nevertheless fascinating because it addresses the challenge of interpreting the nonsensical outcomes Quantum Physics predicts, many of which appear preposterous to our native intuition. Even more, If the content in the first two sections becomes taxing, then take a mental break and dip into this refreshing pool; it’s sure to energize you.

Quantum Computing

Quantum Physics: What Everyone Needs to Know Michael G. Raymer

Great overview of quantum world, with a unique beginner-friendly Table of Contents. Besides including digestible theory and interesting applications, it also addresses the counter-intuitive outcomes behind quantum weirdness.


Quantum Computing: An Applied Approach Jack Hidary

Good combo of the physics, computer science, and math behind creating quantum algorithms, especially the latter is both rigorous and readable. Comprehensive Review on Amazon 


Quantum Computing: A Gentle Introduction Wolfgang Polak and Eleanor Rieffel
(If you’re serious about self-study then seriously consider this book. It’s nicely organized, comprehensive, and clearly written with plenty of examples and exercises, accounting why it’s a recommended as text in many university QC courses.)


Dancing with Qubits: How quantum computing works and how it can change the world Robert S. Sutor



Picturing Quantum Processes: A First Course in Quantum Theory and Diagrammatic Reasoning  Bob Coecke & Alek Kissinger

(Innovative approach to presenting QC diagrammatically, including a user-friendly formalism for manipulating graphic elements. The book slowly develops a handful of those diagrams which correspond to the usual math techniques such as Dirac brackets, linear operators,  adjoints, unitary matrices, and the like. Since diagrams take up space, its over 800 pages, but all together refreshingly accessible. Plus explains fascinating connection to category theory.)


Quantum Computing Explained  David McMahon

(Excellent for newbies – doesn’t address the interpretations and profundity of QM/QC, instead takes a bare bones  ‘shut up & calculate’ appraoch, somewhat like a Schaum outline, packed with step-by-step solved problems.)


Six Quantum Pieces: A First Course in Quantum Physics,

Despite its title, this is a worthwhile intro to QC. Succinct yet comprehensive, especially worthwhile for the solutions accompanying each problem, a feature  more books would benefit from, but sadly neglect. ( Also same author – Quantum Physics: A First Encounter: Interference, Entanglement, and Reality )


Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computing Notes   Odel A. Cross

(Helpful due to many solved problems in accompanying solutions manual.)


Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computing Notes Solutions Manual  Odel A. Cross



Problems And Solutions In Quantum Computing And Quantum Information  Willi-Hans Steeb

(Helpful due to many solved problems.)



Quantum Mechanics Demystified  David McMahon

(EXCELLENT FOR NEWBIES – In the tradition of Schuam Outline, succinct explanations and hundreds of easy-to-follow solved exercises. Good companion book to fill in where other QC books assume a QM background.)


The Mystery of the Quantum World (Second Edition) , Euan Squires




The New Quantum Age: From Bell’s Theorem to Quantum Computation and Teleportation , Andrew Whitaker




Boojums All the Way through: Communicating Science in a Prosaic Age  David Mermin




The Lazy Universe: An Introduction to the Principle of Least Action Jennifer Coopersmith




Bananaworld: Quantum Mechanics for Primates  , Jeffrey Bub




Totally Random: Why Nobody Understands Quantum Mechanics – Serious Comic on Entanglement Tanya Bub




What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics Adam Becker




Spooky Action at a Distance: The Phenomenon Reimagining Space & Time   George  Musser




Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew about Quantum Physics Is Different Philip Ball




Through Two Doors at Once: The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality Anil Ananthaswamy



Quantum Physics: A First Encounter: Interference, Entanglement, and Reality , Valerio Scarani 




Tales of the Quantum: Understanding Physics’ Most Fundamental Theory  Art Hobson




The Meaning of Quantum Theory: A Guide for Students of Chemistry and Physics (Oxford Science Publications) Jim Baggott



Beyond Measure: Modern Physics, Philosophy, and the Meaning of Quantum Theory Jim Baggott




Creating Modern Probability: Its Mathematics, Physics and Philosophy in Historical Perspective Jan von Plato 




How Is Quantum Field Theory Possible?  Auyang, Sunny Y.




Alice in Quantumland: An Allegory of Quantum Physics  Robert Gilmore




The Quantum Handshake: Entanglement, Nonlocality and Transactions  John Cramer




Adventures in Quantumland: Exploring Our Unseen Reality Ruth E Kastner




Understanding Our Unseen Reality: Solving Quantum Riddles   Ruth Kastner




The Second Quantum Revolution: From Entanglement to Quantum Computing and Other Super-Technologies , Lars Jaeger




The Quantum Labyrinth: How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Reality Paul Halper 




How to Understand Quantum Mechanics  John Ralston.




The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics  Roland Omnès




Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics Herbert, Nick




Entanglement  Amir Aczel





Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds & Emergence of Spacetime Carroll, Sean




Where Does The Weirdness Go?: Why Quantum Mechanics Is Strange, But Not As Strange As You Think  Lindley, David




Quantum Computing Without Magic: Devices Zdzislaw Meglicki 



Quantum Computing Lala, Parag (Short, clear overview of math behind QC.)




Q is for Quantum   Terry Rudolph  (Succinct and generally well-written by a local author who’s the ‘R’ in PBR Theorem also founder of well regarded QC startup – PsiQuantum 



Decoding Reality: The Universe as Quantum Information  Vedral, Vlatko 




Quantum Computing for Everyone (The MIT Press)   Bernhardt, Chris

(Short, clear overview of math behind QC, plus good chapters on entanglement and Bell Theorem.)



Quantum Computing for High School Students    Billig, Yuly

(Somewhat mis-titled, but still well-worth the read, especially early chapters on linear algebra. Should be titled – QC Using Basic Math.) 






Quantum Mechanics in Simple Matrix Form   Thomas Jordan 




Linear Operators for Quantum Mechanics   Thomas Jordan 




A First Introduction to Quantum Computing and Information Bernard Zygelman  (Gets deep too quickly for intro.) 




Lectures On Quantum Theory: Mathematical And Structural Foundations    Isham, Chris J

(Despite advanced title, well-written explanations of physics behind QC.) 



Computing with Quantum Cats: From Colossus to Qubits  Gribbin, John (Readable overview from an experienced popularizer of physics




Quantum Computing From The Ground Up   Perry, Riley Tipton




Quantum Algorithms via Linear Algebra: A Primer Richard J. Lipton (Good start, but gets deep quickly.) 




Quantum Computing since Democritus  Scott Aaronson (Classic book by a smart and prolific author, also available as pdf.)  




An Overview of Quantum Computing: ” The State of The Art In Computers  Edited by Paul F Kisak

(Actually, a collection of Wikipedia articles on basic QC topics.)


Hidden In Plain Sight 10: How To Program A Quantum Computer (Volume 10)  Andrew Thomas   






Linear Algebra
Linear Algebra Done Right  Sheldon Axler, 




No bullshit guide to linear algebra   Savov, Ivan (Good chapters on QC) 




Linear Algebra Demystified  David McMahon – also below QC Explained 



A Student’s Guide to Waves (Student’s Guides)  Fleisch, Daniel



Philosophy of Physics
The Shaky Game – Einstein, Realism and the Quantum Theory  Arthur Fine




Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum  Lee Smolin 




Quantum Mechanics and Experience  David Z Albert,

(Chapter 1 very good intro explanation of dual spin modes and chapter 2 is likewise for math formalism. )



Quantum Ontology: A Guide to the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics Peter J. Lewis

(Quantum from a philosopher’s perspective. Good job bridging the two fields, each necessary to comprehend the other.) 


Philosophy of Physics: Quantum Theory  , Tim Maudlin




Quantum Non-Locality and Relativity: Metaphysical Intimations of Modern Physics Tim Maudlin




The Wave Function: Essays on the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics  Alyssa Ney,