Vijay Singh Khatri | 03 Jul, 2023

11 Best Java Books for Beginners and Advanced Programmers

New programmers rely on Java books. Combined with articles, tutorials, and videos, they're part of a well-rounded resource library for learning Java.

And Java, as one of the leading programming languages, has many to choose from. That prompted our research into the world's best Java books. We considered the price, length, and expertise of the author. Read on to find Java books that work for your style of learning.

11 Best Java Books for Beginners & Advanced Programmers

Here, we assembled a list of 11 excellent Java books to advance your learning in Java. Those looking to learn at their own pace may also want to consider on-demand video services. We evaluated Java courses as well. Below, we discuss only Java books as learning resources.

As a reminder, we looked for the depth of the coverage, recent updates, and cost. Our considerations included Java books from many publishers, but you will see several names appear more than once. We respect these publishers for their subject matter expertise and unique insights.

1. Core Java Volume I – Fundamentals

Core Java Volume I--Fundamentals (11th Edition)

Author – Cay S. Horstmann
Latest Edition11th Edition
Publisher – Prentice Hall

Core Java Volume I – Fundamentals is a Java reference book (Best book for Java)that offers a detailed explanation of various features of Core Java, including exception handling, interfaces, and lambda expressions. Significant highlights of the book include simple language, conciseness, and detailed examples. The latest edition of the Core Java Volume I – Fundamentals comprehensively updated for covering Java SE 9, 10 & 11. The book helps Java programmers develop an ability to write highly robust and maintainable code.

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2. Effective Java

Effective Java

Author Joshua Bloch
Latest Edition – 3rd Edition
Publisher Addison Wesley

A must-have book for every Java programmer and Java aspirant, Effective Java makes up for an excellent complementary read with other Java books or learning material. The book offers 78 best practices to follow for making the code better. Effective Java divides all the mentioned best practices into 11 distinct sections, such as Concurrency, Generics, and Methods, to make it easier for the reader to grasp it all. The book offers something to Java programmers of any skill level. Effective Java is written by Joshua Bloch, who is also the author of many key Java classes and APIs, including java.lang and Java Collection framework. The context of the latest edition of the book built around Java 7, 8, and 9.

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3. Java: A Beginner’s Guide

A beginner's Guide

Author Herbert Schildt
Latest Edition 8th Edition
Publisher McGraw-Hill Education

If you are a seasoned Java programmer looking to enhance your Java knowledge, don’t be averted by the title of the book, Java: A Beginner’s Guide. It is, in fact, one of the most comprehensive books for learning Java. Anyone with basic programming knowledge can easily benefit from Java: A Beginner’s Guide. The Java book covers all concepts pertaining to Core Java. The latest edition of Java: A Beginner’s Guide is fully revised to include Java 11 SE. The book offers several hands-on exercises as well as a quiz section at the end of every chapter to let the readers self-evaluate their learning.

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4. Java - The Complete Reference

Java Complete Reference

Author Herbert Schildt
Latest Edition – 11th Edition
Publisher McGraw Hill Education

Java - The Complete Reference is a convenient Java reference book with over 1000 pages. It contains every aspect of Java that you need to master. In addition to examining essential portions of the Java API library, Java - The Complete Reference covers fundamental programming principles, Java language syntax, and keywords. The book is full of discussions and apt examples to better Java learning.

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5. Head First Java

Head First Java

Author Kathy Sierra & Bert Bates
Latest Edition – 2nd Edition
Publisher Shroff/O’Reilly

The most important selling points of Head First Java are its simplicity and super-effective real-life analogies that pertain to Java programming concepts. It is also the best book to learn Java and start your learning journey with Java Development. Head First Java covers almost all OOPS concepts and fascinatingly explains them. Despite several readers claiming it to be a dated book, as it covers nothing beyond Java 5.0, Head First Java is still found on the shelves of numerous Java veterans. Thus, it a must-have book for every Java pursuer and developer.

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Some important topics covered by Head First Java include common OO mistakes, distributed programming with RMI and network sockets, and threads. Additionally, the book covers 42 mind-bending puzzles that will ensure a better understanding of Java.

6. Java Concurrency in Practice

Java Concurrency

Author Brian Goetz with Tim Peierls, Joshua Bloch, Joseph Bowbeer, David Holmes, and Doug Lea
Latest Edition – 1st Edition
Publisher Addison-Wesley Professional

Java Concurrency in Practice is one of the best Java programming books to develop a rich understanding of concurrency and multithreading. Don’t be fooled by the book’s coverage of Java 5.0, as it is still relevant and essential for any ardent Java developer. The only issue with Java Concurrency in Practice is that some sections might be challenging to comprehend at first. However, you need to understand that the topics covered by the book, i.e. concurrency and multithreading, are tricky in themselves. Hence, you will realize later that the strenuous task of going through the book is worth the effort.

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7. Test-Driven: TDD and Acceptance TDD for Java Developers

Test Driven

Author Lasse Koskela
Latest Edition – 1st Edition
Publisher Manning Publications

Test-Driven is an excellent book for learning how to write unique automation testing programs. It is a must-have book for those Java developers that prioritize code quality as well as have a knack for writing unit, integration, and automation tests. Test-Driven: TDD and Acceptance TDD for Java Developers offers hands-on examples to test drive Java code. Further, the book covers acceptance test-driven development, the Fit framework, and testing Java EE components - JSPs, Servlets, and Spring Controllers.

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8. Head First Object-Oriented Analysis Design

Head First Objected Oriented

Author Brett D. McLaughlin, Gary Pollice & David West
Latest Edition – 1st Edition
Publisher Shroff/O’Reilly

Head First is one of the most beautiful finest book series ever written on Java programming language. Another gem in the series is the Head First Object-Oriented Analysis Design. It is part of the Head First Java trilogy, the other two being Head First Java and Head First Design Patterns. Head First Object-Oriented Analysis Design details different techniques used in object-oriented programming and design. The list includes coding for interfaces as well as how to encapsulate what changes. Head First OOAD is an excellent book to know how to write Java code better.

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9. Java Performance: The Definite Guide

Java Performance

Author Scott Oaks
Latest Edition – 1st Edition
Publisher Shroff/O’Reilly

Garbage collection, JVM, and performance tuning are some of the most favorable aspects of the Java programming language. Java Performance: The Definite Guide covers all three of these Java topics in a simple yet effective manner. Java Performance: The Definite Guide educates readers about maximizing Java threading and synchronization performance features, improving Java-driven database application performance, tackling performance issues in Java EE and Java SE APIs, and much more.

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10. Head First Design Patterns

Head First Design patterns

Author Eric Freeman & Elisabeth Robson with Kathy Sierra & Bert Bates
Latest Edition – 10th Anniversary Edition
Publisher Shroff/O’Reilly

A good hold on the OOP and design patterns is essential for writing immaculate Java applications. Head First Design Patterns is one of the leading books to build that particular understanding of the Java programming language. Head First Design Patterns provides answers to several commonly asked questions about Java, including why Composition is better than Inheritance and how to change the runtime behavior of a class without stirring the already tried and tested code.

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The latest edition of Head First Design Patterns is updated for Java 8. Unlike other books that rely on a text-based approach, Head First Design Patterns flaunts a visually rich format that makes learning faster and more efficient.

11. Clean Code – A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

Author – Robert Cecil Martin, a.k.a. Uncle Bob
Latest Edition1st Edition
Publisher – Pearson Education

As the name hints, Clean Code is a classic Java programming book that imparts the knowledge of writing better code to its readers. The clean Code is divided into three sections. The first section covers the patterns, practices, and principles of writing clean code. The second part describes several case studies of ascending complexity. Each of them is an exercise in cleaning up the code. The third and final section of the Clean Code is a single chapter that contains a list of heuristics gathered while creating the case studies covered in the previous section.

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Learning and getting started with Java is easy. However, writing efficient Java code requires robust knowledge of OOP principles. Clean Code helps in building that knowledge about the Java programming language.


Here are 11 other Java programming books that will further refine your Java understanding and knowledge:

  • Core Java by Cay S. Horstmann and Gary Cornell
  • Extreme Java - Concurrency Performance for Java 8 by Dr. Heinz Kabutz
  • Java: How to Program: Early Objects by Paul J. Deitel and Harvey M. Deitel
  • Java 8 in Action by Alan Mycroft and Mario Fusco
  • Java in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference by David Flanagan
  • Learn Java in One Day and Learn It Well by Jamie Chan
  • The Java Language Specification by Bill Joy, Gilad Bracha, Guy L. Steele Jr., and James Gosling
  • Think Java: How to Think like a Computer Scientist by Allen B. Downey
  • Thinking in Java by Bruce Eckel
  • Sams Teach Yourself Java in 21 Days by Rogers Cadenhead
  • Spring in Action by Craig Walls


So, that sums up the list of 11 best Java programming books and 11 additional Java books. Which Java programming book or books do you consider the best? Let us know via the comments section below.

Books are helpful, but sometimes online courses can also kickstart your journey. If you are learning Java then Java Programming Masterclass from Udemy is a great online course to learn Java.

Happy Java learning. All the best!

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By Vijay Singh Khatri

With 5+ years of experience across various tech stacks such as C, C++, PHP, Python, SQL, Angular, and AWS, Vijay has a bachelor's degree in computer science and a specialty in SEO and helps a lot of ed-tech giants with their organic marketing. Also, he persists in gaining knowledge of content marketing and SEO tools. He has worked with various analytics tools for over eight years.

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Vijay Singh Khatri

Java Concurrency in Practice (Old Edition) by Brian Goetz and Joshua Bloch Traps, Pitfalls, and Corner Cases by Joshua Bloch and Neal Gafter Java Performance: The Definitive Guide by Scott Oaks

4 years ago

Lukas Solo

I bought the book Java: A beginners guide. An excelent book for all the Java’s novels.

3 years ago