Zefs Guides

Understand deep learning quickly!

Zefs Guides are concise learning guides on machine learning and data science topics designed to get you up to speed fast

Zefs Guide to Deep Learning

The first book in the Zefs Guides series will help you learn the basics of deep learning and give you an overview of how everything fits together, with a broad look at the world of deep learning today.

In around 150 pages, Zefs Guide to Deep Learning will give you a strong understanding of

  • The fundamentals of machine learning
  • The core concepts of neural networks
  • The key ideas behind computer vision and convolutional neural networks
  • The tasks and techniques involved in natural language processing and the deep learning approach to NLP
  • Advanced deep learning techniques and practical considerations for using deep learning in the real world

Zefs Guides approach these topics at a high level, but with enough detail to help you understand how deep neural networks actually work. The goal is to give you a strong conceptual grasp of these techniques. The focus is not on how to do the math behind neural networks or to teach you how to implement deep learning in code, but to help you put all of the pieces together conceptually.

What people are saying about Zefs Guides

"The visualizations are fantastic. This book is super helpful for those who are looking to improve their understanding of deep learning."

Emil Wallner

Emil Wallner

Resident at Google.
Author of "No Degree ML"

"This is a fantastic, no-hype introduction to the practical considerations around deep learning both for practitioners who want to expand their ML knowledge, and for product and management teams who work adjacent to ML teams and want to have educated conversations around its use."

Vicki Boykis

Vicki Boykis

Senior MLE at Duo
Creator of Normcore Tech

"Zefs Guide to Deep Learning succinctly covers the core concepts of machine learning. These topics are complex, but Roy's explanations and visualizations make them crystal clear, building the intuition you need to use them in practice.

This is also a handy guide for managers and leaders who work around these topics and want to solidify their familiarity with them."

James Kirk

James Kirk

Co-founder and CTO
Meru Software Inc

"Zefs Guide provides a clear, succinct, and direct explanation of the most important topics in ML and Deep Learning. But words only go so far – it’s the visuals which illustrate the key concepts of the field where the book and flashcards truly shine!"

Nick Singh

Nick Singh

Author of "Ace the Data Science Interview"

Deep learning algorithms power the most exciting and useful technologies today: internet search, image generation, music recommendations, and many more.

Zefs Guides is a series of short and concise books and flashcard sets designed to help you quickly understand the most important ideas behind deep learning, whether you're a job seeker, student, working engineer, or executive.

"I love this book. It's full of very succinct and clean explanations of a lot of complex topics. This will be great for beginners, but also anyone who needs to review deep learning."

Ravi Mody

Ravi Mody

ML Manager

Sign up to get the latest info about Zefs Guides or follow the project on social media

The Zefs Guides series

"Zefs Guide to Deep Learning is a no-nonsense, intuitive resource that is a must-buy for visual learners. Deep enough to be useful for a practitioner, but not mired in triviality."

Chris Albon

Chris Albon

Director of ML at Wikimedia
Creator of Machine Learning Flashcards
Author of "Machine Learning with Python Cookbook"

"The examples and visualizations provide concrete representations of what can be difficult concepts to articulate in writing or verbally, which is great for teams who are considering whether deep learning might be a useful tool to solve specific problems ask the right questions."

Fausto Morales

Fausto Morales

Consulting Software Engineer
Former Director of Computer Vision at Thorn

"Zefs Guide to Deep Learning provides a solid introduction and illustration of the fundamental concepts of ML and deep learning. As a visual learner and thinker, I really appreciate how the illustrations help build your intuition of each topic discussed."

Jeremy Jordan

Jeremy Jordan

Senior Machine Learning Engineer

"If I was starting from scratch today this would be one of the first books I'd pick up. It has intuitive, high level explanations of the concepts behind deep learning (and machine learning in general), with enough depth to give you an idea of what you should dig into more to expand your understanding."

Binal Patel

Binal Patel

Machine learning engineer

"The flash cards are a real game changer. I've never been good reading a paragraph and remembering what I just read, but with pictures it makes it much easier."

Santi Tellez

Santi Tellez

ML Engineer

Example Flashcards

Bias and variance in machine learning models
Neural networks warp feature space
Gradient descent
Loss functions

"Whether you are a beginner, wanting to learn about deep learning or a mid-career professional who wants to brush your knowledge, this is a perfect guide. I specifically enjoyed the high-level introduction along with the visuals to reinforce some deep learning concepts. Computer vision and NLP are two areas where deep learning is making some serious dents and this guide can get you up to speed with the latest developments."

Pushkar Kumar Jain

Pushkar Kumar Jain

Sr. ML Engineer

"If you are looking for a non-hyped, conceptual-but-also-technical introduction of deep learning, Roy Keyes is pretty good at it."

Tailai Wen

Tailai Wen

Director of Data Science

"The simple language used to explain abstract concepts with down-to-earth illustrations is the most appealing to me. It boils down to the "meat" of the big picture of ML and DL without lacking explanation of important concepts with just enough blending of mathematical and high level understanding of the how.

Yujing Zou

Yujing Zou

PhD student in Medical Physics
Co-founder, McMedHacks
McGill University

What are Zefs Guides?

Zefs Guides are concise books and learning materials about machine learning and data science related topics. They are designed to help you quickly learn and review the core concepts behind machine learning and data science.

The first Zefs Guides project is a four book series about Deep Learning, which will be available in paperback and ebook formats. There will also be separately sold digital flashcards to accompany each book. The ebooks and flashcards come with a 60 day money back guarantee, so you can get your money back if you're unhappy with them.

Who should read Zefs Guides?

Zefs Guides are for anyone wanting to have a stronger understanding of machine learning and data science topics. They focus primarily on the concepts themselves and less on the math or programming aspects. They are focused on understanding the most important concepts.

People who will most benefit include

  • Job seekers wanting to do well on technical interviews
  • Students wanting to do better in class
  • Working ML and DS people wanting gain or refresh knowledge
  • Leaders wanting a stronger understanding of current technologies

The first series: Deep Learning

The first Zefs Guides project is a four book series about Deep Learning, which will cover the basics of deep learning and specific topics in the the other three books:

  • Zefs Guide to Deep Learning
  • Zefs Guide to Computer Vision
  • Zefs Guide to Natural Language Processing
  • Zefs Guide to Transformers

They will be available in paperback and ebook formats. There will also be sold-separately digital flashcards in Anki and other formats, which accompany each book.

How do I get Zefs Guides?

The first book in the series, Zefs Guide to Deep Learning, is out now. You can get the paperback, the ebook, the flashcards, or the ebook + flashcards bundle.

The subsequent books in the series are slated for release in 2023 (or later). Sign up above for email updates (occasional updates and zero spam) or follow along on Twitter or LinkedIn for updates, other learning resources, and real-time progress.

The real Zefs

Who is Zefs?

Zefs was a Jack Russell terrier, beloved by all who knew him. He was known for his curiosity, high energy, and ability to quickly endear himself to those who met him.

I'm hoping that Zefs Guides can live up to its namesake: a cute little package that packed a punch.

Miss you, Zefs! ♥️

About the author

Roy Keyes is a machine learning and data science manager with over ten years of experience. He has built and led teams at multiple tech startups and consulted for clients across a wide range of industries. Prior to data science, he received a PhD in computational physics, focusing on medical applications.

His first book was Hiring Data Scientists and Machine Learning Engineers, a practical guide to hiring data roles. Currently available in paperback and ebook.

You can find his website and blog at roycoding.com and follow him on Twitter at @roycoding.