4 Best Books To Learn Physics

Physics is a subject that fascinates people around the world. It gives you a broad perspective on any problem and helps you understand the world around you. If you’re not studying physics in a formal educational institution, the best way to learn is through books—but which are the best books to learn physics?

The best book to learn physics is The Feynman Lectures on Physics. This textbook comprises three volumes and gives you an accessible and understandable introduction to undergraduate physics in the words of Nobel laureate and theoretical physicist Richard Feynman.

This article will explore the four best books you can use to learn physics. Let’s get into it!

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Best Overall: The Feynman Lectures on Physics

As mentioned above, this book provides you with an explanation of undergraduate physics in the words of Richard Feynman. Feynman was known as the “Great Explainer” because of his skill at explaining complex concepts using simplified and accessible language.

The books are adapted from a single two-year introduction to physics by Feynman in CalTech between 1961 and 1963. While some students dropped out due to a lack of interest in the subject, attendance never dropped—Feynman’s contemporaries, CalTech faculty, and graduate students attended to hear him speak on the topic.

Though the books are designed to be an introduction to the subject, they offer world-class education and insight into Feynman’s mind that even his contemporaries were interested in.

Aside from the three main volumes, you can also find Feynman’s Lost Lecture: The Motion of Planets Around the Sun and Feynman’s Tips on Physics (both available on Amazon), which cover lectures not available in the main three volumes. The two books cover lectures that originally did not make the cut when the course was adapted into a textbook.


  • Introduction to physics in the words of a Nobel laureate.
  • Written in accessible, easy-to-understand language.
  • Designed to be an undergraduate-level introductory course on physics.
  • It covers a wide range of topics that are traditionally covered in an undergraduate course.
  • Among the most popular books on physics of all time.


  • Does not concentrate on a single topic, so it’s not a great option if you want to specialize your learning.
  • Exercises are sold separately.

Best Textbook: University Physics With Modern Physics

While The Feynman Lectures is often used in physics courses, it is primarily a popular science book. It’s a great introduction to physics but isn’t as robust as a book designed to primarily act as a textbook will be.

Perhaps the best physics textbook at the moment is University Physics with Modern Physics, written by Hugh Young and Roger Freedman. The book covers various topics and is among the most popular introductory textbooks (for any subject) in the world, proving its effectiveness.

Though the book is an excellent introduction to all parts of a traditional undergraduate course in physics, it’s particularly well-regarded for its chapters on mechanics, electrostatics, and modern physics.


  • Designed to be used in the classroom.
  • Exercises are included in the book.
  • Very accessible language, great for people with a limited background in physics.
  • Older editions are available for reduced prices.


  • Even older editions are relatively expensive.
  • The length may prove daunting to newcomers to the subject.
  • It’s printed as a single book, making it hard to carry around.

Best for Quantum Mechanics: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

One of the topics that often stumps people trying to learn physics is quantum mechanics, which is why it’s essential to find a book that covers the topic well. This is what Introduction to Quantum Mechanics offers—a well-written book that makes it easier to understand a complex topic.

The book’s primary author is David J. Griffiths, a physicist who worked as an educator at Reed College for over three decades before retiring. The book’s popularity is such that it is often known simply as Griffiths, despite Griffiths having written three other course books on physics.


  • Relatively affordable.
  • Older editions are less expensive, and you won’t need the newest version for self-study.
  • It contains all the information you need to answer the questions on quantum mechanics and atomic physics found in the Physics GRE.
  • Features numerous, well-thought-out problems that will test your knowledge.


  • Some reviewers say the problems are too challenging.
  • Some reviewers feel the material is not suitable for self-study and needs to be paired with classroom education.

Best Book on the Origins of the Universe: The First Three Minutes

This book is a little different from the others on this list because it isn’t a purely coursework-focused book. Instead, it’s a book that covers the Big Bang and the early stages of the growth of the universe after the Big Bang.

The First Three Minutes is authored by theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg. Topics covered include Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Hubble’s law, and the discovery of the cosmic microwave background.


  • Written by a Nobel laureate in physics.
  • Explains key concepts related to cosmology and the physics of the universe in an engaging manner.
  • No exercises or problem-solving are required, making it a good introduction for people who don’t want to feel like they’re returning to the classroom.
  • Introduces and explains several key concepts in physics that have uses outside the study of cosmology.


  • No exercises or problem-solving, which may turn off students who want to practice.
  • It was initially written in 1977, with a revised edition published in 1988. While much of the book is still relevant today, some concepts have been refuted, while other important elements of the physics of cosmology (such as dark energy and the Higgs field) had not yet been discovered.
  • Though it is meant for a newcomer to physics, there are some complex ideas explained that may turn off people who aren’t interested in constantly referring to the internet to research basic concepts on which these ideas are built.

Final Thoughts

Books are a great way to learn physics without returning to the classroom—however, they lack the direct interaction you get in schools and colleges.

These books help you gain a solid knowledge of physics. If you enjoy learning via direct interaction, you can then look for videos and online classes where you can connect with others like you who are also interested in physics and ask for clarification regarding your questions and doubts.

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