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Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

5 Best System Design Books to Read

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System Design is a crucial subject for students looking for technical placements. Companies today are looking for students who have excellent problem-solving skills and who have strong computer science fundamentals.

One of the important subjects which decide your candidature in a technical company is system design. It, therefore, becomes imperative that you get a stronghold over the subject and grasp concepts to the best of your ability. 

5 Best System Design Books to Read

Books are the most refined source of knowledge. The author puts the learnings they had in a lifetime and presents it in front of you in a small package. What better way can there be to learn system design than to learn it from the best books by renowned authors? 

Given below are five handpicked books on system design that will help you in grasping system analysis and design concepts in-depth and help to enhance your confidence before a system design interview. 

Also see, Must Do Coding Questions

How Should You Pick A System Design Book? 

If you are preparing for a technical interview that might comprise of questions on system design, you are looking for a book that helps you understand the following four parameters: 

  • You are able to understand the problem given and are able to create a scope within which your design will be applicable.
  • You are able to propose a high-level design with illustrations and are able to make a conversation with the interviewer to reach the solution of the problem.
  • You can easily converse in the vocabulary of system design with the interviewer.
  • You are able to improvise your design even more.

You should look for a book that has plenty of case studies and illustrations which will help you analyze and visualise a real-world problem so that you can approach the problem with ease and precision during the interview.

Remember, confidence is the key.

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Top 5 System Design Books

1. Designing Data – Insensitive applications

Designing Data – Insensitive applications

This book is a comprehensive guide that explores the principles, practices, and challenges involved in designing robust and scalable data-intensive applications. Authored by Martin Kleppmann, a notable expert in distributed systems, the book covers topics such as data modeling, storage engines, data processing, and system architectures. It delves into real-world scenarios and provides insights into handling issues related to scalability, fault tolerance, and consistency in distributed systems. Widely regarded as a valuable resource for software engineers, architects, and anyone dealing with the complexities of data-intensive applications, the book combines theory with practical examples to offer a thorough understanding of the subject.

2. Head First Design Patterns

Head First Design Patterns

"Head First Design Patterns" by Eric Freeman and Elisabeth Robson is a captivating and innovative guide that unravels the complexities of software design patterns in a uniquely engaging manner. Through a brain-friendly and interactive approach, the book transforms abstract design concepts into easily digestible lessons. It leverages visual aids, humor, and hands-on exercises to reinforce understanding, making it accessible to developers of various skill levels. The authors introduce fundamental design patterns with clarity, covering essential patterns such as Singleton, Observer, Factory, and Strategy. Readers not only grasp theoretical concepts but also learn how to practically apply these patterns to solve real-world software design challenges. With relatable scenarios and case studies, the book ensures that readers not only comprehend design patterns but also internalize their usage in the context of actual software development, making it an invaluable resource for those aiming to enhance their object-oriented design skills.

3. System Analysis and Design by Dennis, Wixom and Roth  

3. System Analysis and Design by Dennis, Wixom and Roth

This book provides a deeper insight into system analysis and design by offering you detailed explanations about projects that will be useful in real-life scenarios. The book also comprises case studies, plenty of examples with comprehensive explanations of each case study and example.

This book will help you become a better system design student and help you in having a strong command over system analysis and design concepts. This book can be labelled both as a system design book for beginners and as a system design book for intermediate and advanced level computer science students. 

Buy the book on Amazon

Recommended Topic, 8085 Microprocessor Pin Diagram

4. Clean Architecture: A Craftsman’s Guide to Software Structure and Design by Robert C. Martin

Clean Architecture: A Craftsman’s Guide to Software Structure and Design by Robert C. Martin

Robert C. Martin is a well-known author who has written multiple books on clean code, agile methodology and it is now no brainer that along with learning system design concepts you will also know how to make your code cleaner and incorporate agile methodology in your design solutions.

This book not only focuses on the concepts associated with system analysis and design but also focuses on various problems system designers face while preparing a solution for the real world. This book will also teach you how you can perform unit tests and follow a test-driven approach to make your systems more efficient.

This book is the best system design book for not only system design students but also for people who wish to enhance their software products in general.

Buy this book on Amazon.  

5. System Design Interview by Alex Xu

System Design Interview by Alex Xu

Developers generally aren’t able to solve system design interview questions because they get intimidated by the indefinite possibilities that can be intermingled together and design the system. Since there is no definite answer, how do you get it right in an interview? This is the best system design book for those students who are preparing for a system design interview.

The book contains plenty of illustrations and diagrams which resemble actual interview questions and will help you in visualising the actual system. This book will help you understand what the interviewers are looking for in your solution thereby enabling you to crack your next system design interview with ease. 

Buy the book on Amazon.

Recommended Topic, Cognizant Eligibility Criteria

You can also read about mock interview.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best book to learn system design?

"Designing Data-Intensive Applications" by Martin Kleppmann is highly recommended for learning system design principles and practices.

Which is the best book for system design interview?

"System Design Interview" by Alex Xu provides valuable insights and examples for preparing for system design interviews.

What are the 4 types of system design?

System design encompasses High-Level Design, Low-Level Design, Detailed Design, and Architectural Design, each focusing on different aspects of a system's structure and functionality.

What are the best system design books?

The best system design books include – System Analysis and Design by Dennix, Wixom and Roth; Clean Architecture: A Craftsman’s Guide to Software Structure and Design by Robert C. Martin; System Design Interview by Alex Xu; System Analysis and Design by Scott Tiley; Modern Systems Analysis and Design by Joseph Valacich and Joey George.


The above five books are the best system design books that are available online. Make sure you are not overwhelmed by all of them and end up buying all of them. Pick one book that you really like and make sure you read it thoroughly. Reading one book with patience is better than reading five of them by just glancing over them. 

Recommended Readings:

However, if you prefer online resources, you can refer to Code Studio’s Guided Path on System Design and System Design Primer (GitHub). Enhancing your skill set on DSACompetitive ProgrammingSystem Design, etc. Check out essential interview questions, practice our available mock tests, look at the interview bundle for interview preparations, and so much more!

Nevertheless, you may consider our paid courses to give your career an edge over others!

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