Robert Johns | 16 Jan, 2024
Maya Maceka | Co-author
Fact checked by Jim Markus

19 Best C++ Books & 10 Best C Books in 2024 | Beginner to Pro

In this article, I share the 19 best C++ books in 2024.

Whether you’re new to programming or an experienced pro looking to level up your skills, I’ve included C++ books for beginners and experienced developers alike.

As the go-to language for systems programming, embedded devices, and game development, choosing a great C++ book is a great way to master the versatile C++ programming language.

And when you consider the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports a median salary in excess of $100K for computer programmers, picking up a C++ book can be highly lucrative!

So, if you’re ready, let’s help you find the best C++ book to boost your skills resume and get you for the C++ job market.

As an added bonus, I’ve also included 10 of the best C books, as these can be an ideal accompaniment to a good C++ book.

 

Best Advanced C++ Book
Best C++ Book For Beginners Best C++ Reference Book

The C++ Programming Language

The C++ Programming Language

C++ Primer

C++ Primer

C++ Pocket Reference

C++ Pocket Reference

How to Choose the Best C++ Books in 2024

When looking for the best book to learn C++, we considered the following criteria and recommend you use these as well:

  • Author credentials: We looked for authors with extensive experience in C++ to ensure they have the necessary expertise to provide you with the knowledge you need.
  • Level of experience: We looked for C++ books for a range of skill levels, including beginner-friendly books and options or experienced C++ professionals.
  • Publish Date: Being one of the older programming languages, we looked for a mixture of recent publications and classics that are still relevant for C++ developers in 2024.
  • Reviews from previous readers: We evaluated first-person reviews from our community and from sites like Amazon to gain valuable insights into each book’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Preferred learning style: Some C++ books are more hands-on with practical examples, while others take a more theoretical approach, so we included a range of options to help you find one to match your preferred learning style.

Best C++ Books for Beginners

1. C++ Primer

C++ Primer

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Key Information

Authors: Stanley Lippman, Josée Lajoie, and Barbara Moo

Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional

Pages: 976

Edition: 5th

Publish Date: August 2012

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.4/5

Formats: eTextbook, Paperback

Key Topics: Variables, strings, expressions, statements, functions, classes, IO library, containers, algorithms, memory, copy control, operations, object-oriented programming

Why we chose this book

From my experience, this C++ programming book for beginners offers a comprehensive exploration of the C++11 standard by introducing you to the C++ Standard Template Library (STL) from the outset.

It's also a great book to use while taking a C++ course if you're new to the language, as you can always look for more depth or better explanations if certain concepts stump you.

Expect to begin with an overview of C++ basics before progressing to more complex topics such as object-oriented programming, data structures, and algorithm complexity. Additionally, the 5th edition includes sections on effective coding styles and program design techniques.

Overall, I like that it teaches you about common functions to get to grips with writing useful programs in your C++ IDE right away.

Features

  • Authors have experience in language standards, compiler development, and C++
  • Abundant examples revised for the new language features
  • Promotes understanding of the rationale behind the rules 
  • Extensive cross-references and access to source code

2. C++: 2 books in 1 - The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Master C++ Programming Quickly with No Prior Experience

C++: 2 books in 1 - The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Master C++ Programming Quickly with No Prior Experience

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Key Information

Author: Mark Reed

Publisher: Independently published

Pages: 254

Edition: 1st

Publish Date: November 2022

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.4/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Principles, syntax, variables, data types, operations, decision making, functions

Why we chose this book

While it’s relatively short, I think this two-in-one C++ book is ideal for beginners who want to develop an understanding of C++ programming, starting from setting up a C++ development environment to learning about object-oriented programming for your C++ projects.

I also like that the author delves into the principles of programming, operations in C++, syntax, data types, variables, creating custom functions, and best practices for coding.

Plus, there are also ample examples, diagrams, and tables, which I think are great for simplifying the learning process.

Features

  • Two-in-one guide covering basics and advanced concepts
  • Explores C++ operations, including binary, arithmetic, and relational operations
  • Covers syntax, data types, variables, custom functions, and best practices
  • Contains practical examples and diagrams

3. C++ Programming: From Problem Analysis to Program Design

C++ Programming: From Problem Analysis to Program Design

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Author: D.S. Malik

Publisher: Cengage Learning

Pages: 1488

Edition: 8th

Publishing Date: February 2017

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.4/5

Formats: eTextbook, Paperback

Key Topics: Control structures, functions, data types, arrays and strings, records, classes, composition, classes, overloading, recursion, searching, stacks

Why we chose this book

At nearly 1500 pages, I think this is a truly comprehensive beginner’s resource and a great book for learning C++ that emphasizes problem-solving with full-code examples. 

I also appreciate that the latest edition contains end-of-chapter exercises, more than 20 new programming practices, and examples drawn from Malik’s experience. These are the types of detail that can be handy when prepping for a C++ certification.

Topics include the basic elements of C++, input/output, control structures, user-defined functions, data abstraction, composition, overloading, exception handling, recursion, linked lists, and more. It’s also an ideal book to prepare for computer science courses.

Features

  • Covers C++ programming language basics and advanced concepts with full-code 
  • Prioritizes problem-solving to apply programming concepts practically
  • End-of-chapter exercises and 20+ programming practices
  • Includes access to the Cengage platform for additional online learning resources

4. Starting Out with C++ from Control Structures to Objects

Starting Out with C++ from Control Structures to Objects

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Author: Tony Gaddis

Publisher: Pearson

Pages: 1344

Edition: 9th

Publishing Date: February 2017

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.4/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback, and Loose Leaf

Key Topics: Expressions, loops, functions, arrays, searching, pointers, characters, classes, inheritance, exceptions, STL, stacks, recursions, binary trees

Why we chose this book

Apart from the juicy-looking cover, I think this C++ book is an ideal choice for those who want a clear, step-by-step presentation style that begins with control structures, functions, arrays, and pointers before delving into the realms of objects and classes.

I also like that this C++ book gradually introduces new topics, making it ideal for beginners grappling with the intricacies of C++ programming. This makes it a great resource for developing your own C++ cheat sheet.

The 9th edition also features a new chapter with expanded content on effective STL use (Standard Template Library) and improvements in problem structures. 

Features

  • Features introductory chapters on computer fundamentals and C++
  • Covers inheritance, polymorphism, exceptions, templates, and binary trees
  • Practical examples and exercises in every chapter aid understanding
  • Information is presented in a gradual, easy-to-follow manner

5. Beginning C++ Through Game Programming

Beginning C++ Through Game Programming

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Author: Michael Dawson

Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR

Pages: 352

Edition: 4th

Publishing Date: June 2014

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.6/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: C++ basics, types, variables, loops, STL, functions, references, pointers, classes, dynamic memory, object-oriented programming

Why we chose this book

This C++ book is somewhat short, but I think it offers an engaging introduction to C++ programming, specifically if you're interested in game development and high-performance applications.

With less than 400 pages, it uses a hands-on learning approach by incorporating the creation of simple games.

I also like that in the 4th edition, each chapter introduces a different aspect of the C++ language, including types, variables, loops, the STL, functions, references, pointers, classes, dynamic memory, and object-oriented programming.

Features

  • Each chapter introduces a new concept by having you work on a complete game
  • Michael Dawson's writing is user-friendly and caters specifically to beginners
  • Games used as examples in the book are straightforward, requiring no special libraries
  • Has received rave reviews for its effective and engaging teaching method

6. C++ in One Hour a Day, Sams Teach Yourself

C++ in One Hour a Day, Sams Teach Yourself

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Key Information

Author: Siddhartha Rao

Publisher: Sams Publishing

Pages: 800

Edition: 8th

Publishing Date: December 2016

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.5/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Arrays and strings, expressions, statements, operators, program flow, functions, pointers, references, classes and objects, inheritance, operator types, macros and templates, STL, Lambda, smart pointers, streams, exceptions

Why we chose this book

I chose to include this C++ book because it covers the fundamental aspects of C++ and object-oriented programming, along with in-depth discussions on variables, constants, arrays, strings, expressions, statements, and operators. 

I also like that it offers a solid introduction to the STL, along with various algorithms that are commonly utilized in real-world C++ applications.

Plus, it's nice that the authors emphasize best practices and pitfalls to avoid with a range of exercises at the end of every lesson.

Features

  • Practical approach to learning C++ in as little as an hour a day
  • Covers lambda expressions, move constructors, and smart pointers
  • Exercise sections at the end of each lesson to facilitate active learning and retention
  • Useful Do's and Don'ts to guide best practices and avoid common pitfalls

7. C++ All-in-One For Dummies

C++ All-in-One For Dummies

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Author: John Paul Mueller

Publisher: For Dummies

Pages: 912

Edition: 4th

Publishing Date: January 2021

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.6/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Objects and classes, functional programming, fixing problems, advanced programming, reading and writing files, STL

Why we chose this book

Part of the famous ‘For Dummies’ collection, I had to include this comprehensive guide to C++20 because it's actually made up of 8 books in 1!

Catering to both novices and experts alike, I like that it dives into everything from working with objects and classes to implementing functional programming strategies and writing applications. 

This book also covers streamlining code with lambda expressions, using C++ in various contexts like gaming, enterprise applications, and web services. 

Features

  • Covers all aspects of C++ programming, including the latest features of C++20
  • Includes practical examples, source code, and how to code on your mobile device
  • Delves into functional programming strategies, making the code more concise 
  • Troubleshooting techniques, including how to make advanced use of the standard library

8. Learn C++ Quickly: A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Learning C++, Even If You’re New to Programming

Learn C++ Quickly: A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Learning C++, Even If You’re New to Programming

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Author: Code Quickly

Publisher: Drip Digital

Pages: 227

Edition: 1st

Publishing Date: July 2020

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.4/5

Formats: Kindle, Audiobook, and Paperback

Key Topics: Data types and variables, strings, arrays, loops, functions, pointers, object-oriented programming, classes, operators, inheritance, polymorphism, smart pointers, exceptions, STL, multithreading, concurrency

Why we chose this book

While this is a short read, it covers various fundamental programming concepts such as conditional statements, loops, and data structures.

I also like that it's structured like a step-by-step journey into C++ programming, beginning with creating a simple program before diving into data types and variables. 

It's also nice to see sections on smart pointers, exception handling, I/O streams, STL, multithreading and concurrency, and coroutines.  Plus, I appreciate ththat each chapter contains practical exercises, with the final chapter culminating with a final project. 

Features

  • Into C++ with a clear, step-by-step approach
  • Detailed explanation and implementation of fundamental programming concepts
  • In-depth coverage of object-oriented programming principles
  • Practical exercises and projects to apply theoretical knowledge and reinforce learning

9. Learning C++ (Early Access)

Learning C++ (Early Access)

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Author: Michael Haephrati and Ruth Haephrati

Publisher: Manning

Pages: 375

Edition: 1st

Publishing Date: Pre-release

Level: Intermediate

Rating: N/A

Formats: eBook, Paperback

Why we chose this book

Want an early look at a C++ book that's still in development? This book, written by Michael Haephrati and Ruth Haephrati, introduces beginners to the fundamentals. Each author also boasts the title of co-founder at Secured Globe, Inc., which helps corporations and governments with cyber forensics and cyber intelligence.

I really like this new C++ book for its expansive coverage of the fundamentals, and it’s now replaced our previous recommendation, ‘Programming Principles and Practice Using C++’.

That book also had expansive coverage with more than 1,200 pages, introducing best practices for structuring your code and helping you to emerge as an expert programmer. 

Note that I still really like this older edition for its introduction to objects, types, statements, functions, errors, vectors, classes, and I/O. Not to mention that it’s written by the original implementer of the C++,  Bjarne Stroustrup.

But we’ve bid adieu to Bajrne as he’s already earned the top spot on our list for experienced developers.

In its place, we now have Learning C++ in the final spot on the list for beginners.

Best C++ Books For Experienced Programmers

10. The C++ Programming Language

The C++ Programming Language

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Key Information

Author: Bjarne Stroustrup

Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional

Pages: 1376

Edition: 4th

Publishing Date: May 2013

Level: Intermediate

Rating: 4.6/5

Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, and Paperback

Key Topics: Basic facilities, abstraction mechanisms, STL, design techniques 

Why we chose this book

Kicking off with our list of C++ books for more experienced devs is one of my personal favorites, which just happens to be written by the creator of C++.

I really think this is one of the best books for C++, as it offers you insights on leveraging the language's enhanced performance, reliability, and clarity. It's also a great reference book if you need to prepare for a C++ interview.

At nearly 1400 pages, it's a comprehensive C++ book, but it also takes a holistic approach to the language, including specifications, basic facilities, abstraction mechanism, standard library, and key design techniques. 

You also get the added benefit of Stroustrup's authoritative expertise, making this C++ book one of the most trusted resources for C++ developers.

Features

  • Comprehensive guide to C++11 authored by the creator of C++
  • Explores the core language, standard library, and key design techniques
  • Insights on leveraging the enhanced performance of the C++11 standard
  • Brings an understanding of C++ from the perspective of its creator

11. C++ Crash Course: A Fast-Paced Introduction

C++ Crash Course: A Fast-Paced Introduction

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Author: Josh Lospinoso

Publisher: No Starch Press

Pages: 792

Edition: Illustrated

Publishing Date: September 2019

Level: Intermediate

Rating: 4.7/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Core language, polymorphism, expressions, statements, functions, testing, smart pointers, utilities, containers, iterators, strings, streams, filesystems, algorithms, Boost Asio, writing applications

Why we chose this book

Crash course books are always popular in my experience, and this robust guide is also a great choice.

Designed for intermediate to advanced C++ programmers who want to expand their knowledge in modern C++,  it covers the core concepts of C++ along with the standard and boost libraries.

As you’d guess from the title, this book is a crash course quickly on essential topics like types, functions, the object lifecycle, and advanced expressions.

You’ll also learn about the  C++ Standard Library and Boost Libraries, utilities, data structures, algorithms, file system manipulation, and network programming. 

Features

  • Fast-paced and comprehensive, one of the best modern C++ books
  • Covers utility classes, data structures, algorithms, and network programming
  • Over 500 code samples and nearly 100 exercises to reinforce the learning process
  • High recommendations from established industry figures and organizations

12. Object Oriented Programming in C++

Object Oriented Programming in C++

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Key Information

Author: Robert Lafore

Publisher: Sams

Pages: 1012

Edition: Subsequent

Publishing Date: December 2001

Level: Intermediate

Rating: 4.5/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Structures, functions, objects and classes, arrays and strings, overloading, inheritance, pointers, virtual functions, streams and files, templates and exceptions, STL, object-oriented programming

Why we chose this book

I chose to include this instructive guide because I like how it systematically introduces the principles of C++ by progressively delving into advanced topics, with an emphasis on Object-Oriented Programming.

It also offers solutions to real-world programming problems, making it an excellent choice for both beginner and advanced programmers. 

Expect to explore a wide range of topics, including the unified modeling language (UML), object-oriented design and analysis, the Standard Template Library, C++ basic concepts, and syntax.

Features

  • Systematic introduction to the basic principles and advanced topics of C++
  • A strong emphasis on Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) methodology
  • Insightful real-world programming problems and their solutions
  • Covers the unified modeling language (UML), object-oriented design, and the STL

13. C++ Programming: Program Design Including Data Structures

C++ Programming: Program Design Including Data Structures

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Key Information

Author: D.S. Malik

Publisher: Cengage Learning

Pages: 1728

Edition: 8th

Publishing Date: April 2017

Level: Intermediate

Rating: 4.4/5

Formats: eTextbook, Paperback

Key Topics: Input/output, control structures, functions, arrays and strings, records, classes, inheritance, pointers, classes, overloading, exceptions, recursion, linked lists, stacks, searching and sorting

Why we chose this book

This is another comprehensive C++ book that's ideal for anyone transitioning from C.

It’s designed with a student-focused methodology, incorporating a strong emphasis on problem-solving through full-code examples.

At more than 1700 pages long,  you can expect to cover a broad range of topics, from basic elements of C++, input/output, control structures, and user-defined functions to more advanced topics like inheritance, composition, pointers, recursion, linked lists, and binary trees. 

Features

  • Covers complex concepts such as inheritance, pointers, recursion, and binary trees
  • Strong emphasis on problem-solving with full-code examples
  • Exploration of data structures, including linked lists, stacks, queues, and binary trees
  • Updated with important features of C++14 Standard
  • Clear guidance on using the Standard Template Library (STL) in C++ programming

14. Effective Modern C++

Effective Modern C++

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Author: Scott Meyers

Publisher: O’Reilly Media

Pages: 334

Edition: 1st

Publishing Date: December 2014

Level: Intermediate

Rating: 4.6/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Deducing types, auto, modern C++, smart pointers, rvalue references, lambda expressions, concurrency API, tweaks

Why we chose this book

This is Another short read, but I really like this C++ book because it goes beyond the basics into complex topics like auto declarations, lambda expressions, rvalue references, and concurrency features. 

I also appreciate that it’s structured in an example-driven format, offering examples of C++ programming concepts and advice on topics ranging from deducing types and smart pointers to move semantics to lambda expressions. 

With its practical approach, I think it’s ideal for experienced programmers seeking to elevate their skills and understanding of modern C++.

Features

  • Explains how to effectively apply C++ features to create efficient software
  • Advanced topics include auto declarations, lambda expressions, and rvalue references
  • Insight into the evolution from C++98 to modern C++
  • Platform-independent and conformant with the C++ standards

15. Professional C++

Professional C++

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Author: Marc Gregoire

Publisher: Wrox

Pages: 1312

Edition: 5th

Publishing Date: February 2021

Level: Intermediate

Rating: 4.6/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Software design, professional coding, advanced features, software engineering

Why we chose this book

This is one of the newer books on our list,  but I think it's a solid option for seasoned programmers who want to master the latest advancements in C++. 

In particular, I like that you learn about the latest capabilities introduced in C++20 in extensive detail, with each feature being explained with practical examples and robust, functional case studies. 

I also appreciate that this book explores fundamental concepts such as classes and objects, operators, the standard library, pointers, and algorithms, along with advanced features like customizations and multithreaded programming. 

You’ll also benefit from discussions about professional software engineering practices, including testing, debugging, design techniques, and design patterns.

Features

  • Covers the latest features and tools for C++20
  • Explores classes and objects, operators, and algorithms
  • Advanced topics include customizations and multithreaded programming
  • Discussions on design patterns, offering practical solutions for common challenges

16. Modern C++ Programming Cookbook

Modern C++ Programming Cookbook

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Author: Marius Bancila

Publisher: Packt Publishing

Pages: 750

Edition: 2nd

Publishing Date: September 2020

Level: Intermediate

Rating: 4.4/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key topics: Numbers and strings, functions, preprocessing, STL, utilities, files and streams, threading and concurrency, patterns and idioms, testing frameworks 

Why we chose this book

I've always liked the cookbook style, and this C++ book also opts for a recipe-style approach to cover the most recent features of C++20, emphasizing functions, algorithms, threading, and concurrency.

It's also nice that the second edition delves deep into performance aspects of programming, demonstrating how to craft efficient and robust code by leveraging smart pointers and move semantics. 

It also presents various testing frameworks like Boost.Test, Google Test, and Catch2, and highlights the implementation of patterns and idioms like pimpl, named parameters, and attorney-client.

Features

  • Comprehensive guide covering the latest C++20 language and library features
  • Practical, recipe-style examples that illustrate complex C++ concepts and problems
  • Exploration of performance-oriented programming and best practices for code efficiency
  • Overview of patterns, idioms, and popular testing frameworks in C++

17. C++ Pocket Reference

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C++ Pocket Reference

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Key Information

Author: Kyle Loudon

Publisher: O’Reilly Media

Pages: 144

Edition: 1st

Publishing Date: June 2003

Level: Intermediate

Rating: 4.6/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Program structure, fundamental types, compound types, conversions, lexical elements, scope, declarations, statements, namespaces, classes, inheritance, exceptions, STL

Why we chose this book

If you want a truly pocket-sized guide to C++, this is the ideal starting point! At less than 150 pages, this is a really handy reference book for experienced C++ developers. I picked this up a while ago, and it's always on my programming bookshelf.

But don’t let its size fool you! It’s packed with information, including program structure, fundamental and compound types, scope, declarations, and namespaces.

It even covers advanced topics like inheritance, templates, overloading, memory management, and exception handling.

Features

  • Compact and portable, ideal for on-the-go reference
  • Comprehensive coverage of C++ syntax and usage, from basic to advanced topics
  • Includes an overview of the C++ standard library
  • A great tool for both novice and experienced C++ programmers

18. Effective C++

Effective C++

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Author: Scott Meyers

Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional

Pages: 320

Edition: 3rd

Publishing Date: May 2005

Level: Intermediate

Rating: 4.7/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Constructors, resource management, designs and declarations, implementations, inheritance, templates, customizing

Why we chose this book

This is another short read, but despite being one of the older options on our list, it’s highly regarded by previous readers.

Uniquely, it’s structured to provide 55 specific guidelines that can be used by developers as rules of thumb to produce clear, efficient, and accurate code. 

I also like that the 3rd edition features expert C++ programming guidance on designing effective classes, functions, templates, and inheritance hierarchies and illustrates the differences between C++ and other languages.

Features

  • Provides 55 expert guidelines for writing efficient, clear, and correct C++ coding
  • Topics on modern design considerations, including design patterns and multithreading
  • Insights into the differences between C++, Java, C#, and C
  • Delivers applications of the TR1 standard library functionality

19. C++ Concurrency in Action

C++ Concurrency in Action

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Author: Anthony Williams

Publisher: Manning

Pages: 592

Edition: 2nd

Publishing Date: February 2019

Level: Intermediate

Rating: 4.7/5

Formats: Kindle, Audiobook, Paperback

Key Topics: Managing threads, sharing data, concurrency, memory model, data structures, parallel algorithms, debugging

Why we chose this book

Wrapping up our list of C++ books, this is definitely geared towards more experienced C++ developers, but it's an excellent resource if you want to leverage the benefits of multithreaded applications in C++17. 

Expect to dive into the nuances of concurrent development, including the initiation and management of threads, the design of concurrent code, and debugging multithreaded applications.

At nearly 600 pages, this is a medium-length C++ book, but I think it's great for getting a comprehensive understanding of production-grade C++ concurrency. You’ll also be learning via a practical approach, with examples and tasks in each chapter.

Features

  • Comprehensive coverage of new C++ 17 features related to concurrency
  • Detailed guidance on starting and managing threads in C++
  • Techniques for synchronizing concurrent operations and designing concurrent code
  • Advanced knowledge on debugging multithreaded applications
  • Practical tasks and examples provided in each chapter for hands-on learning

Bonus Section: 10 Best C Books for Beginners & Pros

Now that we’ve covered the best C++ books, let’s take a look at the 10 best C books that can be great companions for C++ developers and beginners alike.

1. Programming In Ansi C

Programming In Ansi C

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Author: E. Balagurusamy

Publisher: McGraw Hill

Pages: N/A

Edition: 8th

Publishing Date: January 2019

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.5/5

Formats: Paperback

Key Topics: Computing, data types, operators and expressions, input/output, branching, looping, array, functions, structures, pointers, file management, memory allocation

Why we chose this book

This C book is designed for beginner-level students, and it offers a logical approach that moves from elementary concepts to more advanced topics for generic programming in C. 

I like that it covers all essential concepts, including arrays, strings, functions, pointers, self-referential structures, and dynamic memory allocation. 

The revised edition is also updated to the latest AICTE curriculum and includes a new chapter offering an introduction to computing, two innovative projects, and an appendix on graphic programming using C.

Features

  • Updated content according to the latest AICTE curriculum for complete relevance
  • Contains a new chapter on 'Introduction to Computing' to provide a solid foundation
  • Offers two innovative projects for hands-on learning
  • Includes an appendix on graphic programming using C

2. C Programming Language

C Programming Language

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Key Information

Authors: Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie

Publisher: Pearson

Pages: 272

Edition: 2nd

Publishing Date: March 1988

Level: Experienced

Rating: 4.7/5

Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback

Key Formats: Types, operators, expressions, control flow, functions, pointers and arrays, structures, input/output, UNIX, STL

 

Why we chose this book

Don’t let the publish date of this C book fool you, as it was written by the creators of the language, making it ideal for learning how to optimally utilize C's rich set of operators, improved control flow, and data structures.

I really like that the content spans from the basics of types, operators, and expressions to control flow, functions, and program structures.

You even get to dive into more advanced topics include pointers and arrays, structures, input and output, the UNIX system interface, a reference manual, and the standard library.

Features

  • Written by the developers of the C language
  • In-depth explanation of C's operators, control flow, and data structures
  • Detailed reference manual and standard library included for quick syntax help
  • Commendations from leading figures in programming, such as Robert "Uncle Bob" Martin and Bjarne Stroustrup

3. Effective C

Effective C

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Key Information

Author: Robert C. Seacord

Publisher: No Starch Press

Pages: 272

Edition: 1st

Publishing Date: August 2020

Level: Experienced

Rating: 4.6/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Arithmetic types, expressions and operators, control flow, memory, characters and strings, input/output, preprocessor, debugging, testing, analysis

Why we chose this book

As a relatively short C book, this is specifically designed for seasoned programmers who want to take a deeper dive into their C programs.

Expect to learn how to manage undefined behavior in C programs, how to use nonstandard functions in dynamic memory allocation, along with character encodings and executing I/O with terminals and filesystems. 

I also like that it provides insight into the C compiler's translation phases, the role of the preprocessor, and how to thoroughly test, debug, and analyze C programs.

Features

  • Comprehensive coverage of the C17 Standard 
  • Insights into I/O handling using C Standard streams and POSIX file descriptors
  • Guidance on the C compiler's translation phases and the preprocessor's role
  • Best practices for testing, debugging, and analyzing C programs

4. C Primer Plus

C Primer Plus

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Key Information

Author: Stephen Prata

Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional

Pages: 1072

Edition: 6th

Publishing Date: March 2013

Level: Experienced

Rating: 4.6/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Character strings, operators, looping, branching, functions, arrays and pointers, storage classes, data representation

Why we chose this book

I chose to add this C programming book because it meticulously explains both the fundamentals and advanced aspects of the language, making it ideal for programmers who are proficient in other languages but are also keen to understand C. 

I also appreciate that this book provides a solid foundation in structured code and top-down design, emphasizing practicality through numerous examples. 

You’ll also learn about strings, formatted input/output, operators, expressions, statements, memory management, the manipulation of bits, and advanced data representation.

Features

  • Exhaustive coverage of C language fundamentals from basic to advanced topics
  • Detailed guidance on using operators, expressions, and C control statements
  • Practical focus with short examples and hundreds of sample programs
  • End-of-chapter review questions and exercises for practice and reinforcement

5. C Programming Absolute Beginner's Guide

C Programming Absolute Beginner's Guide

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Key Information

Authors: Greg Perry and Dean Miller

Publisher: Que Publishing

Pages: 352

Edition: 3rd

Publishing Date: August 2013

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.6/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Operators and expressions, input/output, data management, files, and functions

Why we chose this book

I think that this has to be one of the best books for C programming for beginners.

It offers a step-by-step approach to mastering C, focusing on basic components like program organization, data storage, variables, operators, I/O, pointers, arrays, and functions.

I also like that in the third edition, the authors break down complex programming concepts into simple, practical instructions, empowering you to build useful and reliable C code in everything from games to mobile apps. 

Features

  • Easy-to-follow guide for absolute beginners, updated for the C11 standard
  • Covers various C components, including variables, operators, loops, and functions
  • Includes robust data-entry routines using simple built-in functions
  • Insights into text manipulation and data management 
  • Discusses efficient memory management and the use of preprocessing directives 

6. Learn C Programming

Learn C Programming

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Key Information

Author: Jeff Szuhay

Publisher: Packt Publishing

Pages: 646

Edition: 1st

Publishing Date: June 2020

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.5/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Formats: Fundamentals, complex data types, memory manipulation, input and output, and building blocks

Why we chose this book

This is one of the newer C books on our list,  but I think it's also one of the best C programming books for new and experienced developers who want to learn about the intricacies of the C programming language.

I like that it starts with basic programming concepts like program structure, data types, and control flow before guiding you through complex topics like arrays and pointers. 

It's also good to see that it places an emphasis on good coding practices, a clean coding style, and using C Standard Library functions, making it ideal for learning C the right way from the start.

Features

  • Teaches good coding practices and emphasizes code indentation and readability
  • Includes insights into debugging, code documentation, testing, and validation methods
  • Coverage of C syntax and common idioms for experienced programmers
  • Provides practical knowledge with hands-on exercises and projects for beginners 

7. Let Us C

Let Us C

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Author: Yashavant Kanetkar

Publisher: BPB Publications

Pages: 508

Edition: 18th

Publishing Date: November 2021

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.5/5

Formats: Paperback

Key Topics: C instructions, decision control, loop control, repetitions, functions, pointers, recursion, data types, arrays, strings, structures, bits, interview FAQs

Why we chose this book

Despite the undeniably fun name, I had to include the latest edition of the much-loved guide to the world of C programming. 

Expect to start from the absolute basics and progressively delve into more advanced topics, including multidimensional arrays, console input/output, and operations on bits. 

I also like that it provides a lucid explanation of C programming concepts, supported by well-thought-out and fully working examples.

Features

  • Detailed and clear explanation of C programming concepts from basics to advanced
  • Numerous working examples to help you understand and apply what you've learned
  • Contains end-of-chapter exercises for practice and reinforcement of knowledge
  • Unique "KanNotes" provide a helpful recap of each chapter's main concepts

8. Head First C

Head First C

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Key Information

Authors: David Griffiths and Dawn Griffiths

Publisher: O’Reilly Media

Pages: 632

Edition: 1st

Publishing Date: May 2012

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.4/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Memory and pointers, strings, creating small tools, building structures, libraries, interprocess communication, sockets, networking

Why we chose this book

As part of the popular ‘Head First’ series,  this C book provides a fresh and innovative approach to learning C programming. 

Expect to be guided through the creation of programs in C, delving beyond syntax and manuals and focusing instead on fostering a deep understanding of programming principles.

I also like that it covers essential topics like pointers and pointer arithmetic, dynamic memory management, and network programming.

Overall, this book is like a college-level course, as it even includes lab projects to test your skills.

Features

  • Innovative teaching approach leveraging cognitive science and learning theory
  • Features labs and projects mimicking a college course to apply and test new skills
  • Teaches practical use of compiler, make tool, and archiver to tackle real-world problems
  • Offers insights into processes, system calls, and network communications

9. Learning C Programming

Learning C Programming

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Author: Anthony Wallit

Publisher: Independently published

Pages: 250

Edition: 1st

Publishing Date: October 2022

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.6/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Data types, conditional statements, pointers, functions, memory manipulation, defining keywords, working with files

Why we chose this book

This is another new C book on our list, and it's also one of the shortest! But despite this, I think it's an approachable guide for anyone looking to dive into the world of C programming. 

You’ll cover fundamental concepts like data types and conditionals before progressing to more advanced topics like pointers, functions, and memory manipulation. 

I also like that it takes a pedagogical approach, allowing you to steadily build your understanding with plenty of hands-on projects for practical experience. 

Features

  • Covers the basics of C language to advanced topics
  • Provides practical knowledge through file and memory manipulation projects
  • New and improved examples in each chapter to translate theory into practice

10. C Programming For Dummies

C Programming For Dummies

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Key Information

Author: Dan Gookin

Publisher: For Dummies

Pages: 464

Edition: 2nd

Publishing Date: October 2020

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.7/5

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

Key Topics: Loops, functions, input/output, arrays, structures, pointers, storage functions, common errors

Why we chose this book

The final entry on our list of C books comes from the ‘For Dummies’ series. And as you’d expect, it covers everything you need to start mastering C programming. 

I like that it logically takes you through the development cycle, starting from initial design before moving to testing, deployment, and live iteration. 

It's also nice that the author, Gookin, emphasizes the production of elegant and efficient source code, covering basic and advanced building blocks of C. 

Features

  • One of the more detailed C programming books, covering basic to advanced concepts
  • Clear guidance on how to write, compile, and optimize your C code
  • Insightful information on how to debug and avoid common programming mistakes
  • Understanding of complex topics like pointers, memory chunks, and linked lists
  • Easy-to-follow and entertaining guide for both beginners and experienced programmers

Wrapping Up

There you go, the 19 best C++ books in 2024, including a range of C++ books for beginners and experienced professionals.

Whether you’re just starting out in your programming career or you want to level up your existing skills, we’ve included a diverse range of C++ books to help you achieve your career goals.

Plus, as an added bonus, we’ve also covered 10 of the best C books if you want to expand your knowledge of the C language family.

Happy reading!

New to C++ and unsure which course to combine with a C++ book? Check out:

Coursera’s Coding for Everyone: C and C++ Specialization

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I Learn C++ Through Books?

You can absolutely learn C++ through books! The best cpp books provide a structured and detailed approach to learning, making them an excellent resource for mastering C++.

2. Which Is The Best Book For C++?

The best books on C++ often depend on your current knowledge level, learning preferences, and what you aim to achieve. We’d recommend taking a look at each of the entries in our list above, but if you’re a beginner, we’d recommend the C++ Primer.

3. Do I Need To Learn C Before Learning C++?

Knowledge of C can provide a foundation for learning C++, but it’s not a prerequisite. Many beginners have successfully delved into C++ without prior C knowledge, but if you’d like to learn C first, check out our bonus section on the best books to learn C.

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References

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2022, 15-1251 Computer Programmers [Internet]. [updated 2021 Mar 31; cited 2024 Jan 15]. Available from: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151251.htm

By Robert Johns

Technical Editor for Hackr.io | 15+ Years in Python, Java, SQL, C++, C#, JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, .NET, MATLAB, HTML & CSS, and more... 10+ Years in Networking, Cloud, APIs, Linux | 5+ Years in Data Science | 2x PhDs in Structural & Blast Engineering

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Vijay Singh Khatri

Hi Bernard, It depends on what operating system you are using. You can use a text editor like vim on Linux based systems and Notepad++ on Windows for writing your programs. For compilation, you can use https://gcc.gnu.org/ You can also use an IDE like Code Blocks or Eclipse that will do both of these things

4 years ago