Best Programming Books

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By Vinay Khatri

As rightly said by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” Books efficiently structure an individual’s nature and intelligence, and they can be really helpful for programmers as well. Therefore, every great programmer is also a good reader because both of these activities mutually develop the mind and logical thinking.

As we know, programming is a bit-by-bit process that includes the process of designing and developing computer programs, applications, software, etc. Every programming cycle wents through some important phases, such as coding and algorithm generation, and a few of the most popular languages for the same are Python, Java, JavaScript, Swift, C++, and SQL.

Offering deep information regarding programming and associated things, the following top 10 books should be read by every programmer. In addition to teaching syntaxes and semantics of programming languages, these programming books also help in improving the thinking, organizing, and problem-solving abilities of an individual.

10 Top Programming Books 2021

1. Clean Code

Extremely useful for beginners, Clean Code helps readers learn all the tricks and patterns to write clear and robust codes. A clean code is a well-structured code with better readability, making it excellent for reusing and debugging.

Since not all code is clean code, beginners often make mistakes while programming and frequently forget the difference while writing clean and perfect codes. Moreover, this programming book comes with a lot of critical insights that are useful for code cleaning and developing software and applications.

Everything in the book follows a step-by-step pattern of cleaning, writing, and refactoring code. It also includes a plethora of practical examples about “hows” and “whys” of clean coding. Reading this book will help developers in the following ways:

  • Knowing how to name the variable properly.
  • Readers would be able to understand the logic better along with the improved methodology.
  • How to improve the structuring of codes along with easy maintenance.
  • Learning to keep the code simple, readable along with offering great consistency.
  • Includes all the best practices that can enhance code quality and maintainability.

In addition, an individual will be more resolute and disciplined while programming after reading Clean Code.

2. The Art of Computer Programming

Primarily written for reference, this programming book has garnered a lot of traction and appreciation from top programmers throughout the globe. The Art of Computer Programming is an extremely useful book for programmers who are always ready to push their limits.

All the concepts and information mentioned in the book are explained subtly by combining mathematical exactness with outstanding humor. In addition, it goes to the core of the realm of computer science algorithms and simplifies for users to read and understand the same.

The programming book starts from basic concepts of programming techniques and further extends to multiple dynamics and algorithms along with describing the analysis effectively. In addition, it also emphasizes representing the information of computers and information structure. The readers will be benefited in the following ways:

  • Effectively dealing with structural relationships among various data elements.
  • Solving problems easily with the help of basic concepts and fundamental algorithms.
  • Knowledge about semi-numerical algorithms and combinatorial algorithms.
  • Working with minimum comparison sorting and optimum sorting.

Donald Knuth, the author of The Art of Computer Programming was awarded the Turing Award in 1974 for this book. It is considered to be the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in computer science.

3. Code Complete

This is a must-read programming book for all software engineers who want to develop robust software. Code Complete is composed of various practical guides related to programming to help developers to create software applications easily.

It also contains proper concepts that can help in learning about the art and science of software development deeply. In short, Code Complete enables individuals to write robust code without strictly tying to any architecture of a programming language.

Code Complete stands among the top books for best practice guides on programming globally and contains a plethora of examples that thoroughly depicts every dynamic of software development. All of the best practices and techniques mentioned in the book will help programmers to:

  • Build software with minimal complexity along with developing them collaboratively.
  • Increase the speed of the debugging process that helps in focusing more on creativity.
  • Lower the probability of making errors and issues while coding.
  • Enhance skills in fields like coding, debugging, integrating along with testing applications.
  • Improve other aspects of the software development process as well, such as documentation.
  • Work on creating high-quality code easily with improving the existing one.

This book is suitable for developers at any stage of their careers. Therefore, developers with any level of expertise can get started for stimulating the programming mind.

4. Refactoring

In general, (code) refactoring is a process that includes rewriting codes without any manipulation in their properties and capabilities. This programming concept is done to improve readability, testability, and maintainability, and also to better the understanding of the code.

To help users get started and effectively implement refactoring on their projects, the programming book contains detailed step-by-step instructions with around 40 examples to illustrate everything.

Refactoring also has a second and updated edition that talks about JavaScript instead of Java and contains examples and ideas useful for any object-oriented programming language.

Everything mentioned in the book follows a proper flow and is tailored with samples, examples, diagrams, side-notes, commentary, and everything required for understanding the refactoring method. Here are the benefits that Refactoring brings to the table:

  • It helps new developers to learn a key practice in order to start their careers with most of the knowledge.
  • This book reduces the cost of enhancements and the addition of dynamic features.
  • Learning refactoring through this book will help programmers to review the code quickly.
  • Programmers will be enabled to make comprehensive tests and explore various refactorings.
  • Identification of tradeoffs and issues can be done that too during the process of refactoring.
  • Easy implementation of refactoring for better understanding and modification of codes.

Learning the best approaches to refactor the codebase allows a programmer to improve the code maintenance throughout its time, or save it from rotting, at the very least. The latest edition of Refactoring features JS code examples demonstrating refactoring without classes.

5. The Pragmatic Programmer

Since the release of this book, it gains a lot of traction and ranks among some of the most useful programming books. It has a lot of valuable advice for any type of coder interested in pushing every limit to improve as a good software developer or a full-fledged programmer.

The best part about The Pragmatic Programmer is that it makes us think in a pragmatic (practical) way along with tons of tips for better programming and development process rather than explaining theoretically. Readers will be able to adapt to things easily and early along with inquisitiveness, and critical thinking. Following are some of the features of this book:

  • Explains complex methodologies and structuring of codes with the help of interactive analogies and short stories.
  • A lot of coding concepts got their names from this book, such as code katas.
  • It utilizes methods for the effective creation of codes and making them highly adjustable.
  • Useful recommendations for estimates of time and expense.
  • Introduces unique ways for achieving various goals that very few people know.

The programming book is built with the help of creativity, modern anecdotes along with fascinating analogies and unique examples for making everything stuck in the brain for a longer term.

In addition to the comprehensive range of programming and software development topics, the book also includes career development and personal responsibility for creating software.

6. Head First Design Patterns

This book is tailored with lots of meaningful examples that will make the process of learning extremely efficient and fun. Head First Design Patterns doesn’t follow the pattern of other programming books that are composed of text-heavy programming books and features a thought-inducing writing style with interactive format and structures.

Many top-notch developers also consider this book to be the best book ever written for program designing because it explains a lot of different design patterns in a different yet effective way.

Therefore, it is a must-have book for all budding architects and designers who work on complex systems. It can be utilized for handling and managing frequent problems along with the following points:

  • Helps programmers to learn the creation of various families of classes instantly.
  • An object’s construction infrastructure and representation can be separated for manipulations.
  • Creating instances for multiple derived classes.
  • Enables programmers to recycle the resources of the objects that are no longer in use for reducing the cost and time.
  • Dynamically includes responsibilities for objects and initializes instances for easy copying and cloning.

Everything in the book is explained with a detailed description of various design patterns. This makes the book extremely valuable for object-oriented designing theory and practice that have been developed over the years to help engineers.

7. The Clean Coder

Written by a seasoned software engineer, the programming book is compiled on the basis of various best practices and techniques used for deriving top-notch results and working on projects with ease. Along with teaching about writing clean codes, the book also focuses on helping programmers maintain the attitude and mindset of a skilled professional programmer.

It is suggested for individuals who are looking for upgrading themselves to a level of a professional programmer. The Clean Coder contains a lot of valuable advice from experts regarding different stages of programming, coding, refactoring, and testing. Important features of the book are:

  • It helps readers to identify good and bad codes.
  • Users will be able to write good and clean codes along with efficiently converting bad codes into good ones.
  • Easy and quick creation of names, functions, objects, and classes.
  • Formatting codes for improving readability.
  • How to implement complete error handling without obscuring code logic.

Till now, this book has helped thousands of avid readers and developers to become more efficient in their skills.

8. The Mythical Man-Month

Trusted by various developers around the globe, this programming book is one of the best in the market. The Mythical Man-Month helps readers to construct structured information in their minds for software development, estimates, project management, and troubles in software development. Important features of the book are:

  • Helps programmers to prevent over-engineering and creating messy projects.
  • Explains how to work with small individual milestones for achieving success in bigger projects without any errors.
  • Includes the concept of conceptual integrity for developing user-friendly systems and software.
  • Mentioned the usage of pilot plans for achieving goals without redesigning and loopholes.
  • Includes various techniques that can be used for lowering the production and development cost.

The programming book relies on the principle of including manpower in software projects in such a way that the best results can be achieved. The meaning of its title is “measuring useful work in man-months is a myth.”

9. Introduction to Algorithms

As clearly explained by the name of the book, it introduces readers to algorithms. It goes in-depth with concepts for a range of algorithms that are divided into various detailed chapters. This is one of the bestseller programming books that has sold around half-million copies in 20 years along with nearly tons of citations documented on CiteSeerX.

Every chapter in Introduction to Algorithms is composed of a wide range of algorithms along with their design techniques applications, detailed in-depth. In addition, all of the codes are written with their respective pseudo-code. Each and everything discussed within the book is explained in such a way that it is comprehensible to even beginner programmers.

With regular modification, this programming book keeps up with the best programming practices in the market. As such, its third edition contains the following 2 new chapters:

10. Programming Pearls

This is a quite different book on programming that has gotten a lot of traction from newbies in programming and development because it helps everyone think like a programmer. Programming Pearls has efficiently mentioned various practical problems and effective solutions for the same along with interactive illustrations for everyone to grab things faster.

The book contains witty descriptions regarding practical programming and fundamental design principles and for this reason, it is highly valued by programmers at various stages of their career. Programming Pearls enables everyone to practice problems in data structures and algorithms, especially searching, sorting, and heaps. Its highlights are:

  • It has been recently updated with a lot of new information for readers.
  • Describes the implementation of C and C++ in one of the best and interactive ways possible.
  • The book emphasizes hardcore programming problems along with their deployment.
  • Provides efficient ways of solving string problems.
  • Helps readers to make the process of debugging and testing extremely cut-short to save a lot of time.


In this article, we’ve listed the top 10 programming books available in the market in 2021. These books are must-haves for every programmer who wants to attain a better stage in their professional career.

You can enhance your learning process by going for various other ways as well, such as online tutorials, seminars, web articles, video lessons, et cetera. When you learn from different sources, you are able to connect things more easily and learning would be faster.

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