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10 Best Java Books for Beginner and Intermediate Developers

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Hello devs, If you are a Java programmer and are wondering what to read to improve your knowledge of Java or become a better Java developer, then you have come to the right place.

In this article, I am going to share some of the best Java books ever written. These books have withstood the test of time, becoming more and more relevant as the years go by.

It doesn't matter if you read them now or plan on reading them later, you will always have a lot to learn, and that's why I think they are the most outstanding Java books of all time.

I am a big fan of reading books. I have hundreds of books and eBooks in my library. When I was a kid, I read many comics, and my passion for books continued when I became a programmer. Apart from textbooks in college, the first Java book I read was Head First Design Pattern. This book completely changed my knowledge of Java and my understanding of object-oriented programming.

Until then, I didn't understand the actual use of the interface. To me, they look useless because you can't write code to do anything there.

But, after reading the book, I realized how awesome they are in reducing the coupling between different parts of your program.

From that point, I have read many programming books mainly related to Java. Today, I will share the 10 best Java books that every Java developer should read. Even if some knowledge is outdated, most of the stuff you learn will help build upon your knowledge and a lifetime career.

10 Best Java Books for Beginners and Intermediate Developers

Here is my list of some of the most popular and essential books for Java programmers without further ado.

If you have been doing Java programming for 2 to 3 years, then it's a good chance that you have read these books already. But, if you haven't, now is the best time to read them.

I am 100% sure that You will not regret investing your time and money in these books because what you will learn is worth much more than and last for years to come.

1. Effective Java

There should not be any surprise here. Effective Java by Joshua Bloch is hands down the best Java book ever. This is a definite must-read book for Java programmers of any experience level. You will learn so much about Java and its API than you could imagine.

Joshua Bloch himself is the author of several key Java classes and API, like java.lang and Java Collection framework, is enough reason to read this book. Along with that, his writing style is also fantastic.

You can read this book on a beach, while traveling, or just at your desk. It's awesome. There is no doubt that you would emerge as a better Java programmer after reading this book.

And the best thing is that a new edition of Effective Java is available now, which covers Java 7, 8, and 9. There cannot be a better time to read this book.

best Java book ever

2. Clean Code

Another timeless classic for Java programmers is Clean Code. As the title suggests, it teaches you to write better code, which is such a difficult thing to learn.

It's easy to learn Java, but writing better Java code that uses strong OOP principles, and that's where this book helps.

Like Joshua Bloch, Robert C. Martin, also known as Uncle Bob, is an excellent author and shares a lot of his experience as a software developer, teaching you various programming techniques and practices that help a lot in your day-to-day job as a programmer.

If you follow Clean Code, there is also a course on Udemy called Clean Code with Java By Ranga Karnam, which effectively complements this book.

best Java coding book

3. Java Concurrency in Practice

Multithreading and concurrency is an essential part of Java programming. There is a no better book than Brian Goetz's Java Concurrency in Practice to learn and master this tricky topic.

Even though the book only covers Java 5, it's still a relevant and must-read book for any serious Java developer.

Some of you may find that some of the sections are a bit difficult to understand, especially sections 3.5.1 through 3.5.6, And if that's the case, I suggest you go through the Extreme Java --- Concurrency Performance course by Dr. Heinz Kabutz. This will help you to better digest and comprehend those topics.

best book to learn Concurrency in Java

4. Head First Design Patterns

Good knowledge of OOP and design patterns are important for writing any Java application. Head First Design Patterns is the best book for learning to do that.

This was one of the first books I ever read on Java, apart from textbooks, as I have said before. After reading this book, I was very impressed.

This book taught me why Composition is better than Inheritance and how you can change the runtime behavior of a class without touching the already tried and tested code.

You might think it's just another old book, but you don't need to worry; an updated copy covers Java S.E. 8 was released a couple of years ago.

If you are serious about learning design patterns in Java, this is the book you should read!

And, if you need an online course, The Design Pattern in Java course on Udemy is also an excellent resource to get yourself familiar with basic design patterns and their modern implementations in Java and object-oriented programming. You can follow that course along with this book to get the best of both worlds.

best book to learn OOP Design in Java

5. Spring in Action

Sorry, but I have to include one Spring book, Spring in Action, in this list of classic books for Java programmers. Spring is the most popular Java framework ever, and this is the best book to learn about the Spring framework, but --- to be honest --- this book is much more than a Spring book.

After reading the 4th Edition of this book, I realized much about Java and writing better code that I can't begin to explain.

The books take a topic, like JDBC, and explain where JDK went wrong and how Spring corrects that mistake, like SQLException, a one-size-fits-all exception that says something is wrong but not exactly what is wrong or how to deal with that.

Like Josuha Bloch and Uncle Bob, Craig Walls is another great author, and you will learn much more than just Spring by reading this book.

The great news is now the 5th Edition of Spring in Action is also available, one of the books on my reading list.

best book to learn Spring in Java

Btw, if your goal is to learn Spring, I also suggest you join a great online course like Spring Framework 5: Beginner to Guru along with this book. You will learn quickly and better than many developers, who try to learn by themselves.

6. Test Driven

Automation testing is an important skill. For developers, it all starts with unit testing. Java has been blessed to have the JUnit from the start, but knowing the library doesn't make you a professional programmer who can write tests.

It takes much more than knowing a unit testing library, like JUnit or Mockito, and that's where this book helps.

If you are serious about code quality and writing unit, integration, and automation test, Test Driven is the book to read now.

best books to learn TDD in Java

If we talk about libraries, JUnit and Mockito are a must for any Java developer. If you are not familiar with them, I suggest you go through this JUnit and Mockito Crash Course along with the above book to master the art of unit testing in Java.

7. The Definitive Guide to Java Performance

Another aspect of becoming a better Java developer is knowing about JVM, Garbage collection, and performance tuning.

Though there have been several good books on this topic, like the Java Performance by Binu John and Charlie Hunt, The Definitive Guide of Java Performance by Scott Oaks is my favorite.

Even though it only covers JDK 7, you will learn a lot about performance tuning and JVM in general, which justifies the time and money you will spend on this book.

best java books for senior developers

You can also join Java Multithreading, Concurrency & Performance Optimization course on Udemy to learn some practical tips to improve the Performance of your Java application.

8. Head First Java

How many of you started learning Java by reading this book? Well, I did. After I learned about Head First Design Pattern, I also found this book, Head First Java, and I enjoyed reading it. I learned a lot of Java concepts, and many of my misconceptions were also corrected.

Though many feel this is an out-of-date book, I still think it's the best book for anyone just starting with Java because of its unique style and content.

You can quickly learn about Java 8, Java 9, and Java 10 changes on other versions once you know Java by reading this book.

best book to learn Java in depth

If you like online courses and are looking for some of the best Java courses to start your journey, then The Java MasterClass on Udemy is simply the most up-to-date and the best route, to begin with.

9. Head First Object-Oriented Analysis and Design

Here is another "Head First" book in the list of the greatest Java books. Yup, they are simply awesome.

Head First Object-Oriented Analysis and Design form a trilogy of the "Head First" books for Java programmers, i.e. Head First Java, Head First Design Patterns, and Head First OOAD.

It complements Head First Design Patterns by explaining the techniques of object-oriented programming and design.

The most important technique that I learned from this book was coding for interfaces and encapsulating what changes. This book changed how I write Java code.

best books to learn intermediate java

If you like courses, SOLID Principles of Object-Oriented Design by Steve Smith on Pluralsight is excellent, and you can follow that along with this book for a better understanding of object-oriented design principles.

Btw, you would need a Pluralsight membership to get access to this course, which costs around $29 per month or $299 annually (14% discount).

If you don't have Pluralsight membership, I encourage you to get one because it allows you to access their 5000+ online courses on all the latest topics like front-end and back-end development, machine learning, etc.

It also includes interactive quizzes, exercises, and the latest certification material. It's more like Netflix for Software Developers, and Since learning is an essential part of our job, Pluralsight membership is a great way to stay ahead of your competition.

They also provide a 10-day free trial without any commitment, which is a great way to not just access this course for free but also to check the quality of systems before joining Pluralsight.


10. Java: A Beginner's Guide

If you ever need a comprehensive Java book, this should be it. Even though the title says Java: A Beginner's Guide, it's one of the complete books for learning Java.

Sir Herbert Schildt has also done a commendable job keeping the book up-to-date, like the 7th Edition of this book now covers Java 9.

However, I don't know how he will keep this book up-to-date going forward since Java's new 6-month release cycle started with Java 10.

Btw, they have released a supplement to cover JDK 10 new features. I think that would be the way in the future.

best Java books for beginners


11. 97 Things Every Java Programmer Should Know: Collective Wisdom from the Experts

This is one of its kind book where you will learn 97 important things from Java experts around the world. This book is compiled by Trisha Gee and Kevlin Henney.

this book includes Java programming advice from 97 experts like
Mala Gupta, Jeanne Boyarsky, Sanker Mak etc

A few of the 97 things you should know:

  • "Behavior Is Easy, State Is Hard" by [Edson Yanaga]
  • "Learn Java Idioms and Cache in Your Brain" by Jeanne Boyarsky
  • "Java Programming from a JVM Performance Perspective" by
    [Monica Beckwith]

  • "Garbage Collection Is Your Friend" --- @Holly K Cummins

  • "Java's Unspeakable Types" --- [Ben Evans]

  • "The Rebirth of Java" --- [Sander Mak]

  • "Do You Know What Time It Is?" --- [Christin Gorman]

If you want to just read book, I thin you should read this book now, it will certainly leave a lasting impression on you and help you to make a better developer.

A big thanks to the Java community for creating this awesome book.

best Java books for intermediate developers


There you go! These are some of the best books for Java programmers. If you are a passionate Java programmer, there is a good chance that you have already read most of these books.

But, if you haven't, then this year may be just the right time to read these books. They are awesome. You can choose the latest version of the text wherever possible, like Effective Java 3rd Edition or the 7th Edition of Java: A Beginner's Guide.

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Closing Notes

Thanks, You made it to the end of the article ... Good luck with your Java Programming adventure. It's certainly not easy, but you will get some helpful experience by going through these books.

If you like this article, please share it with your friends and colleagues, and don't forget to follow javinpaul on Twitter!

** P.S. --- If you like online courses and looking for some of the best Java courses to start your journey, then** The Java MasterClass on Udemy is the best course, to begin with.

Discussion (4)

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

I also liked Java by Comparison a lot. It gives you something like 70 examples to grow into a Java craftsperson, organized in the most readable way I have ever seen!

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huyntp profile image
Nguyen Huy

Thank you for sharing <3

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alenabraham profile image
Alen Abraham

Wonderfully curated list

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peter_brown_cc2f497ac1175 profile image
Peter Brown

Great List!
I've always enjoyed "Thinking in Java" by Bruce Eckel as well.