Must have/read Java books…

I was tasked with providing my favorite bookstore’s owner with a list of Java-related books he should always have in stock. The list I’m giving him is of books I put in the “must have” and/or “must read” category. My list is shorter then I thought it would be.

  • Effective Java – I put this in the “absolutely must read/have” category. This book is the king of Java best practices book. If you don’t own this, buy it, or at least borrow it and read it. Full of amazingly helpful coding advice.
  • Java Development with Ant – As far as I know this was the first book on Ant, I’ll vote it as the best. And for the longest time, the book was timeless considering there was never a second edition written. However, Ant in Action is coming (new name, but really a second edition) so you might want and get it.
  • Head First Servlets and Jsp – This book I can easily call my favorite technical book I own. Learning the details of the Servlet API was never more fun. I just pulled this book out last week to answer some servlet related questions/best-practices. Yes, the book isn’t a reference manual, but it’s awesome for learning purposes.
  • Java in a Nutshell – This book really shouldn’t be on my list, but when I was learning Java back in 1999 I used the hell out of this book. Monitors were small back then and you couldn’t afford to keep the online API on your screen. I thumbed through my nutshell book constantly.

After looking back at my list I realize it’s more of a “must have” not “must read” list.  If it was a real must read list it would have stuff like the GOF book.  I would have put a couple Spring books on the list, as a Spring developer, but I’m writing a more generic list and for some reason everyone isn’t using Spring.

Anyhow, I’d love to hear what’s missing from my list.  Feel free to comment-away.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Alex Miller

    I’d say the two current must-have Java books are:

    – Java Generics and Collections by Naftalin, Wadler (O’Reilly)
    – Java Concurrency in Practice by Goetz, et al (Addison Wesley)

    Anyone working with Java 5+ should read these books.

    These days, I would not even both with Nutshell anymore. I would instead recommend:

    – Head First Java by Sierra, Bates (O’Reilly)

  2. Pete Carapetyan

    Erik I’d be happy to post my favorite Java book but I haven’t used a Java book (other than Core Java) since 2000, and I bet most of the rest of us haven’t either.

    Every year since then it’s been whatever ancillary topic that I used Java to hook up with, or something like that.

    For a year or so it was the best books I could find on testing, don’t know what is best now.

    After that it was a year of pain and several XSLT and generative programming books, not popular, but helped me a lot.

    Last year it was Spring.

    And now it’s Groovy and no telling what other related books to scripting, now that this is all the rage. But ours is the fashion business, Mr. Weibust, so it just depends on the latest fashion, doncha think ?

  3. erik

    Howdy Alex,

    Thanks for stopping by… and great suggestions. Also, I agree with you 100% on the Head First Java book. It IS great! All the books in the Head First line are on my bookshelf.


  4. erik

    Pete, who said you could comment here? 🙂

    If you haven’t read a Java book since 2000 you’re missing out. You need to buy Effective Java right now!


  5. anjan bacchu

    hi there,

    I second this list.

    – Java Generics and Collections by Naftalin, Wadler (O’Reilly)
    – Java Concurrency in Practice by Goetz, et al (Addison Wesley)

    It would help to look at some C++ generics(template) books as well.


  6. Joshua Long

    The list is good, though I think you’re missing one: Thinking in Java, #4th edition by Bruce Eckel. He may not be Java’s biggest fan, but he’s well rooted in his knowledge. This book is pivotal. I would recommend it to anyone, especially given the poor treatment of generics in most books. He really gets into it, poking it around until something breaks – and then he explains why it breaks and why it is as expected, or not expected, etc. He also wrote Thinking in C++, which is ridiculously popular and was canonical for C++/OOP migration in the 90s.

  7. Manish

    I loved the book
    Java Concurrency in Practice by Goetz.

    Highly readable, and I cannot recommend it enough.


  8. Chisum

    I agree with the comments of Joshua Long. I particulary like the first chapter Introduction to Objects.

  9. erik

    Thanks for stopping by, Chisum. I have to admit to having never read Thinking in Java. I’ll make sure to pick it up and give it a read.


  10. Nilesh A

    Hi all
    Guys Kathy siera’a Sun Certified Java Programmer is best. Please do read it.

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