Recommended Go Books

For people who want to get better at Go more quickly

ninja go books 300x400 picture

Become a Go ninja with these recommended Go books.

There are lots of ways to get better at Go, but one of the most effective ways to improve quickly is to get lots of new ideas.

And one of the best ways to get new ideas about Go is to read Go books.

It goes without saying that simply playing games also helps you to improve, but if that’s all you do, you’ll be stuck in the slow lane before long. Instead…

Learn from the masters

If you want to improve more quickly, you can take a big shortcut by learning from the experience of generations of Go players.

That’s because a great deal of the Go knowledge discovered by past masters has already been summarized in Go books.

So it’s right there, just waiting for you to take advantage of it…

Read Go books to improve more quickly

In particular, Go books can help you to improve by providing you with:

  • Strategic principles that work over and over again and examples of how to use them in your own games.
  • More efficient and powerful techniques to use against your opponents.
  • Explanations of the games of master players, which teach you to think more like a pro.

Choose a Go book that’s right for you

But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start and people worry about choosing the wrong book.

That’s why I prepared this page, to help you find the books that are right for you.

It’s a list of recommended Go books, tailored to different skill levels. The selection is designed to help you improve quickly and develop a powerful game.

Click one of the links below to get some recommendations for your level.

Go books by level:

Browse all Go books

Some people prefer to skip recommendations and browse a comprehensive list themselves.

If you want to do that, just click here to see more Go books.

 

Go books for beginners  

Go A Complete Introduction to the Game Cho Chikun pictureGo: A Complete Introduction to the Game

This book is a complete introduction to the game of Go. It teaches the rules and the basics of how to play Go, but it also goes far beyond that. In a number of essays, topics as varied as history, culture and computers are discussed, all with respect to Go. This book is an ideal gift and a fascinating read for anyone who wants to learn go.
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Graded Go Problems For Beginners Volume 1 Kano Yoshinori  pictureGraded Go Problems for Beginners – Volume 1

One of the best ways to improve quickly at Go is to is to solve many different Go problems – small puzzles which focus on a specific position. This is book one of Graded Go Problems for Beginners, which contains problems designed specifically for new players. If you’re new to Go and want to improve quickly, this book is for you.
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Go books for 25 kyu to 15 kyu  

The Second Book Of Go Richard Bozulich pictureThe Second Book of Go

If you’ve finished learning the rules of Go and have played some games, then this is the book for you. It will take you from novice to intermediate level by introducing you to all the things you need to know to become stronger at Go. Give yourself a head start by reading this book today.
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Graded Go Problems For Beginners Volume 2 Kano Yoshinori  pictureGraded Go Problems for Beginners – Volume 2

One of the best ways to improve quickly at Go is to is to solve many different Go problems – small puzzles which focus on a specific position. This is book two of Graded Go Problems for Beginners, which contains problems designed specifically for new players. If you’re new to Go and want to improve quickly, this book is for you.
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Go books for 15 kyu to 5 kyu  

Attack And Defense James Davies pictureAttack and Defense

One of most fascinating and exciting aspects of Go is the large scale strategy of the middle game. This is often the decisive part of the game too. Attack and Defense will teach you how to attack your opponent’s weak stones and how to defend your own. This is an excellent introduction to the strategy of Go.
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Tesuji James Davies pictureTesuji

Go is both a tactical and strategic game. The tactical moves in Go are called tesuji. If you imagine Go as a mental martial art, tesuji are the fundamental moves of close fighting. Reading this book is your first step towards becoming a black belt.
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Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go Toshiro Kageyama1 pictureLessons in the Fundamentals of Go

Many Go players say Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go is their favorite Go book. It’s not hard to work out why. In this book Toshiro Kageyama 7 dan covers all aspects of the game of Go, with an emphasis on the fundamentals. He has knack for picking up on areas where many Go players have the most room for improvement. This is a fun and highly re-readable book.
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In The Beginning Ikuro Ishigure pictureIn the Beginning

In the beginning of a game of Go, the board is empty, giving you the freedom to play however you like. That being said, there are some strategies that are more effective than others. This book will teach you what they are and how to use them to get a head start in the game.
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Go books for 5 kyu to 1 dan  

Life And Death James Davies pictureLife and Death

In a game of Go, stones may live or die in the heat of battle. However, stones often die when they should live, or vice-versa. This is because the players are not skilled in the art of life and death. On the other hand, players who study life and death often reverse games, almost magically. This book will teach you to do some magic of your own…
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Get Strong at Tesuji Richard Bozulich1 pictureGet Strong at Tesuji

If you’ve read ‘Tesuji’ or any similar books, then you already know how quickly you can improve by learning new tesuji and practicing tesuji problems. This book contains hundreds of tesuji problems, designed to teach you the strongest tactical plays in all kinds of situations.
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Changing Ones Conceptions Awajis Aphorisms Awaji Shuzo pictureChanging One’s Conceptions: Awaji’s Aphorisms

For amateur players, it’s sometimes said that the player who makes the fewest mistakes wins. Awaji Shuzo 9 dan regularly teaches amateur Go players at his school in Japan. He reviews games with his students, correcting mistakes and showing the proper way to play. Awaji summarizes each correction with a pithy and memorable phrase, or aphorism.
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Vital Points and Skillful Finesse for Sabaki Yoda Norimoto pictureVital Points and Skillful Finesse for Sabaki

The Japanese term ‘sabaki’ is one of the more difficult Go concepts to understand. It’s usually explained as something like ‘playing lightly’ or ‘managing weak stones’, but what does it actually mean? In this book, Yoda Norimoto 9 dan shows that sabaki is fundamentally about judgement and shows you how to develop that whole board judgement for yourself.
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Go books for 1 dan to 3 dan  

Get Strong at Life and Death Richard Bozulich1 pictureGet Strong at Life and Death

Out of all the different aspects of Go, life and death is the most important. Even at the professional level, the top players are always the ones who are most proficient in life and death. If you want to improve at Go and become a truly strong player, this is an excellent book to help you do that.
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Get Strong at Attacking Richard Bozulich pictureGet Strong at Attacking

For many Go players, there’s nothing more exciting than landing a knockout blow in the middle game. But even when that’s not possible, you can still enjoy the thrill of attacking multiple groups and taking a firm lead in the game. Watching someone who is skilled at attacking can be like watching a wizard take control of the game. This book teaches you how to do that for yourself.
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Otakes Secrets of Strategy Otake Hideo pictureOtake’s Secrets of Strategy

Have you ever wondered whether famous strategy books like ‘The Art of War’ could be applied to Go? Well that’s exactly what Otake Hideo 9 dan does in this book. He starts by illustrating 10 strategic principles, which you can immediately apply to your games. He then reviews a series of amateur and professional games to show these principles in action and help you remember them.
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Takaos Astute Use of Brute Force Takao Shinji picturePure and Simple: Takao’s Astute use of Brute Force

For Go players who enjoy fighting, there’s a tendency to start a fight at every opportunity, but that’s not always the best approach. This book teaches you how to play solidly and patiently, removing weaknesses and storing up power for later. It also teaches you how to release that power and launch a devastating attack when the time is right…
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Catching Scent of Victory O Rissei pictureCatching Scent of Victory

It’s often said that one of the best ways to improve your Go game is replaying the games of top professional players, but it can be confusing and frustrating to start with. This book changes that. In Catching Scent of Victory, O Rissei 9 dan discusses 20 of his own games, clearly explaining what he was thinking at each stage and why certain moves.
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Go books for 3 dan and above  

Invincible the Games of Shusaku pictureInvincible: The Games of Shusaku

Invincible is arguably the best Go book ever published in English. It’s a collection of commented games for one of the greatest Go players of all time, Shusaku. The book provides clear and thorough commentaries for 80 of Shusaku’s best games and contains 143 games in total. Many top pros studied these games and became strong. Now you can too.
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Perceiving the Direction of Play Kobayashi Satoru picturePerceiving the Direction of Play

You know that you should try to make all your stones work efficiently, but what’s the best move to do that? Kobayashi Satoru 9 dan is a master of the direction of play. In this book he analyzes the games of past and present masters, teaching you how to clarify the situation, apply principles and find a strong move.
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Shuko The Only Move V1 Joseki Fuseki Fujisawa Shuko pictureShuko: The Only Move – Joseki, Fuseki Collection

The late Fujisawa Shuko 9 dan was well known for his free thinking and creative approach to the game. In this book, Fujisawa focuses on fuseki (the opening game) and joseki (common patterns of play). Reading it will greatly expand your perception in the early stages of the game.
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Shuko The Only Move V2 Middle Game Fujisawa Shuko pictureShuko: The Only Move – Fighting Middlegame Collection

The late Fujisawa Shuko 9 dan was well known for his free thinking and creative approach to the game. In this book, Fujisawa focuses on fighting during the middlegame. Reading it will sharpen your intuition for fighting and help you learn the proper timing for starting a fight.
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Breakthrough Attacking Power Yamashita Style Yamashita Keigo pictureBreakthrough Attacking Power: Yamashita Style

Do you enjoy fighting in Go? Then this is the book for you. The author, Yamashita Keigo 9 dan, is among the most aggressive professional Go players in the world. This book provides commentary and lessons based on Yamashita’s games. You can learn the basics of attacking from problem books, but to really capture the essence of it you need to study the games of masters.
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View even more Go books

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Click here to see more Go books.

Share these recommended Go books with friends

If you like these recommendations, why not share them with your Go playing friends? Having good friends to compete and study Go with can also help you improve more quickly. Click one of the sharing buttons below.