Preparing for Java and Spring Boot Interview?

Join my Newsletter, its FREE

3 Best Books to Learn Java Programming for Beginners

Hello guys, if you want to learn Java from scratch and looking for the best Java books then you have come to the right place. Earlier, I have shared the free Java courses for beginners, and today, I am going to share the best books to learn Java from scratch. There is no doubt that the best book to learn Java for beginners is indeed Head First Java, 3rd Edition. It's interesting, informative, and yet easy to read, which is what a beginner wants. The only drawback of this book was that there is was 3rd Edition available until a couple of months ago but now that drawback has also gone as the 3rd Edition of Head First Java is now available and it covers Java SE 17, the latest version of Java. 

Java has moved a long way since the 2nd edition of this book was released. Yes, the core of the Java programming language is not changed much, and the information given in this book is still relevant and sufficient for anyone who wants to learn Java programming, but an up-to-date book comprising changes introduced in Java 8 and Java 13 would have been much appreciated. 

I was actually hoping for Head First Java 3rd Edition when Java 8 was launched last year, but better late than never and the updated version is available now. The changes introduced in Java 8 demanded  a new edition of the book and it cover now until Java Se 17 which is good enough for coming years. 

Another great thing about the 3rd Edition of Head First Java book is that Trisha Gee, a Java champion has joined Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates, which means more awesome content. This is another reason I am excited about the Head First Java 3rd edition even more. 

For a beginner, it's essential to learn the basics of Java before diving into lambda expression and other stuff. Head First Java will give you a head start in Java programming by first explaining what Java is, what is Java's competitive advantage over other popular programming languages, like C, C++, or Python? and What is the best way to learn Java?

Once you start reading this book, you will learn very quickly. This year, you can do one more thing, you can join a comprehensive online course like The Complete Java Masterclass, which covers core Java in depth. It's also the most up-to-date resource and always updated for the latest Java version.

Head First Java - The Best Book to learn Java for Beginners

Somebody will definitely ask why I consider Head First Java is the best book to learn Java? Did I read this book before recommending it? Did I have read any other magazine to say that Head First Java is the best compared to others? Can they trust my words on Head First Java?

Well, Yes, I have read Head First Java, not once but twice and thrice. I do understand it even now after having 15 years of working experience in Java when I want to refresh some concepts. I consider Head First Java best book to learn Java because of the following reasons:

1. Visual Learning

The Head First style of teaching, which is full of diagrams, images, and characters, and if you are a visual learner like me, you will really find them useful. It's said that "A picture is worth a thousand words," and Head First Java genuinely live these words.

To give you an example from the Head First Java book, you might understand that abstract methods are methods without body, they have just declaration and how they explain it by only showing a human head without a body :)

The content of the book is really great and easy to digest. As a beginner, you would hate reading boring subjective content, which is bookish and not in a conversational style. Head First Java is not a book, it's a teacher full of conversation.

best book to learn Java Programming for Beginners

2. Quizzes and Fun Exercises

Head First Java is best because it contains lots of quizzes, fill in the blanks, matching exercise, which forces your mind to work. This helps to retain the knowledge you have acquired by reading a book.

Head First Java is full of good examples, which is very important from a beginner's point of view. Remember, you will not learn by just reading the book, you will discover only if you do examples and exercises given in the book.

3. Authors and Style

Authors, Bert Bates, and Kathy Sierra are respectable and are an authority in the field of Java programming language. They have also authored several other books, including SCJP guides, which are some of the most recommended books for Java developers looking to get certified. 

For quicker learning, you can also join a comprehensive online course like The Complete Java Masterclass, which covers core Java in depth. It's also the most up-to-date resource and always updated for the latest Java version.

It even cost 1/3rd of paperback books. I strongly suggest that you combine this course with the Head First Java book to learn Java easily and in-depth

The best course to learn Java Programming


Is Head First Java Worth it?

Before the 3rd edition of Head First Java was out, a lot of people asked me question whether Head First Java is still worth it or not? My answer was always yes, particularly for those who are just starting with Java as there is no better way to learn then following the Head First Style.

I have used several Head First books like Head First Design Pattern (now also updated to 2nd Edition) and Head First object oriented Programming and Analyst to learn key skills so I can vouch for this quality and effectiveness. 

Now that the 3rd edition of Head First Java is available its a no brainer, just use this book to learn Java as it covers all the latest Java features you need like Lambda and Stream and even Java 17 features. Though I know Java quite well I am still enjoying the updated Head First Java 3rd Edition while learning new Java features. 

So, Yes, Head First Java was always worth it for its engaging teaching style and beginner friendly content but now with the update, its even more worth it for anyone who wants to learn Java from scratch. 

Is Head First Java worth it?

Any other Good books to Learn Java?

I am sure these reasons are enough to explain why I think Head First Java is the Best Book for beginners or anyone who wants to learn Java. On a similar note, since everyone has a different taste and some may not like the comic book style of Head First Java and look for a traditional form of Java programming book to learn, they can try Core Java, Volume 1 and 2 by Cay S. Horstmann.

This book is also a gem and gives a comprehensive knowledge of Java programming easily. The author is very renowned, and I love his writing style, you won't feel bored while reading his book.

No matter which book you choose to learn Java programming, you should write Java programs, use an IDE like Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA because busy developers learn faster than those who just read books.  All the best and don't forget to come back here if you face any problems while learning Java :)

Best book to learn Core Java

2 more Java books you can read

Cay S. Horstmann, the author of the popular Java 8 book, Java S.E. 8 for Really Impatient and the classic two-volume introduction of Java programming language, has come up with another masterpiece to teach core Java, including Java S.E. 8. The Core Java for the Impatient 1st Edition by Cay S. Horstmann is a complete but concise guide to Java S.E. 9.

It covers all vital material of the Java programming language, but it's presented in small chunks organized for quick access and easy understanding. I am not sure if it can replace Head First Java, but at the moment, it certainly looks like one of the best book to learn Java for beginners.

Though, things have changed and with Head First Java 3rd Edition, I don't think you will need any more books to learn Java from scratch but if you like Cay Horstmann's writing, this book is one of the best book to read. 

The Best Book to Learn Java Programming for Beginners?

2. Learn Java the Easy Way: A Hands-On Introduction to Programming

"Learn Java the Easy Way: A Hands-On Introduction to Programming" by Bryson Payne offers a refreshing and accessible approach to mastering Java, earning a solid rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from 77 reviews. Targeting individuals frustrated with Java's perceived complexity, the book aims to make learning Java an engaging and enjoyable experience.

Recognizing the increasing importance of computational thinking and digital literacy in high schools, the author provides a jump start for students looking to grasp Java concepts in 11th and 12th grades. 

Boasting a quick and practical guide to Java programming, the book eliminates the chore of learning by incorporating hands-on projects that enable readers to build real, functioning apps right from the start. 

It begins with familiarizing readers with JShell, Java's interactive command line shell, and progresses to creating games, secret message encoders, and multitouch bubble-drawing apps for both desktop and mobile devices using Eclipse and Android Studio. 

The book's easy pace, clear introduction, and practical examples have received praise, making it an ideal resource for those eager to build a strong foundation in Java programming and develop interactive applications.

That's all about the best book to learn Java for beginners. There is no doubt that Head First Java 3rd edition is now the best book to learn Java Programming. It's latest edition covers Java 17 and  the latest features from recent Java releases, particularly Java 8 features, but it's still a great book to learn Java for complete beginners.

It's a visual learning methodology, and a combination of quizzes, fun exercises, and interesting content makes it the best choice for beginners. In order to learn Java 8 features and beyond like things introduced in Java 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and Java 21, you can combine with the other two books I have shared here.

Other Book and Course Recommendations you may like:
  • The Complete Java Developer RoadMap (guide)
  • Top 5 Books to Learn Python for Beginners (books)
  • These are the best courses to learn Java 8 (books)
  • 10 best courses to learn Data Structure and Algorithms (courses)
  • 21 Books Java developer can read (best books)
  • 10 Best Java Courses for Beginners (best java courses)
  • The Complete DevOps Developer RoadMap (article)
  • Top 5 Spring Professional Certification Resources (courses)
  • The Frontend and Backend Developer RoadMap (map)
  • Top 5 courses to learn Design Patterns in Java (courses)
  • 5 Free Courses to learn Spring, Spring Boot, and Spring MVC (courses)
  • 10 Courses to learn Big Data and Hadoop (courses)
  • 10 Things Every Programmer should learn  (articles)
  • 10 Algorithms Books Every Programmer Should Read (book)
  • 10 free courses to learn Docker in depth (courses)
  • Top 5 Courses to learn New Features of Java 8 to Java 13 (courses)

P. S. -  If you are someone who wants to learn from more than one author and looking for a comprehensive guide on a particular topic, then check my post about 9 books Every Java Developer Should Read. You will find books about multi-threading, Java Generics and Collections,  Design Pattern, and several other essential topics important for Java developers.

P. P. S. - If you prefer to learn from online courses than books, you can also check this list of 10 of the best Java courses for beginners. In fact, you can combine both books and courses to get the best of both worlds.


  1. Why not Thinking in Java? I have learned from this book and its much better than Head First, its like a proper book.

    1. Because it's written by a bibliophile and not a proper writer.

    2. I think the I/O chapter of thinking in java is terrible. Java Network Programming is far better to understand. Thinking in java is good as a handbook, not a tutorial.

  2. My company recently did a bunch of research about this very question in preparation for our summer intern program. We settled on "Java: A Beginner's Guide, 6th Edition." It is straightforward and - importantly - has been kept up-to-date (at least thru Java 8). Kindle version is also available.

    1. Java: A Beginner's Guide is certainly better than Head First Java due to two reasons, first its most upto and covers Java 8 and second its good list of examples. I have bought one today.

  3. java a begginers guide.

  4. I think this is the best one. Just check it out

    1. @Dilshan, indeed a very good book for beginner, and its FREE too. thanks for sharing with us.

  5. Java : How to Program by Deitel and Deitel is another great book for beginners. It effectively combined what Cay has done in two volumens of Core Java. I love this book for its exaples, programming error warning messages and easy to understand lanugages. I have recommend this book to all of my students.

  6. Is it necessary to read the each and every versions of java upto 7th version

    1. No, not necessary, you should only read and learn the latest version of Java. If you are starting, start with Java 8 now.

  7. Please add the core Java for impatient by Cay S. Horstmann, it covers Java 8 also. One of the best book to learn Java in 2016

  8. If you seriously want to become a good programmer , I suggest to take a look at these books to learn Algorithms. You should be good at algorithm and data structure to write good code. Once you done, that you can look at these books to improve coding skill .


Feel free to comment, ask questions if you have any doubt.