The Programming Language Of The Future: Best C# Books For You To Sharpen Your Skills!

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned developer with battle scars and years of experience under your belt, this question must have crossed your mind at one point: Is C# a good language to learn? And what are the best C# books?

First introduced in 2002 by Microsoft, this object-oriented imperative language quickly took the programming world by storm: It has all the best parts of predecessors such as C, C++, Java, and Visual Basic .NET, but is innovated further with new concepts like value types, properties, and events. 

Because of its dynamic features and versatility, C# is used by a wide spectrum of companies, including global giants such as Slack or Pinterest. If you follow the Tiobe index, then you know that C# always makes it into the top 5 most popular programming languages worldwide. As of 2020, the StackOverflow survey pointed out that around 31.0% of programmers used C#, which is significant. 

While it remains one of the go-to languages in web applications, in 2022, Microsoft released a new version (10.0) that further shook things up: It is open-source, cross-platform, and comes with free tooling. Thanks to the .NET Core, the update significantly lowers the web hosting price since it is now possible to host websites on a Linux environment. This opens up a sea of opportunities: C# is completely everywhere right now, and being familiar with this language will secure you a computer job

So, if you are looking for the best C# books to fill the gap in your knowledge, you have come to the right place! I have carefully chosen paths so that the list can be useful for both beginners and intermediate developers with some experience with the language. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

BookAuthorLength LevelAmazon Rating
Head First C#: A Learner’s Guide To Real-World Programming With C#, XAML, And .NET
Andrew Stellman & Jennifer Greene1100 pagesBeginner4
C#: Learn C# In One Day And Learn It Well
Jamie Chan160 pagesBeginner4.5
The C# Player’s Guide
RB Whitaker495 pagesBeginner4.8
C# 10 And .NET 6
Mark J.Price824 pagesBeginner to intermediate (recommended for intermedia-level developers)4.5
C# In Depth
Jon Skeet528 pagesIntermediate4.6
Learning C# By Developing Games With Unity 
Harrison Ferrone366 pagesIntermediate4.6
Concurrency In C# Cookbook
Stephen Cleary254 pagesIntermediate4.6
CLR Via C#
Jeffrey Richter896 pagesIntermediate to advanced4.6

Head First C#: A Learner’s Guide To Real-World Programming With C#, XAML, and .NET (Andrew Stellman & Jennifer Greene) 

About The Authors

Both Andrew Stellman and Jennifer “Jenny” Greene spent years working in a Wall Street software business. During his time there, Stellman was in charge of a programming team, thus gaining a deep, firm grasp of the subject matter as a result. His hobby is writing programs whenever he’s free. 

Just like himself, Stellman wanted everyone to enjoy the programming process. That’s why he joined hands with Jenny to create “Head First C#” (HFC# from now on). Based on the latest research in cognitive science and learning theory, HFC# applies a visually rich format to keep readers engaged instead of forcing them to read walls of text. That’s a clever and friendly approach, especially in IT-related fields where every concept is rather dry and obscure for beginners. 

Programming With C#, XAML, and .NET (Andrew Stellman & Jennifer Greene)
Head First C#: A Learner’s Guide To Real-World Programming With C#, XAML, and .NET – Source: Amazon

That, along with the way HFC# covers the fundamental knowledge you need to start, makes it one of the best C# books for beginners out there.

Here Are The Things You Will Go Through In This Book

  • Use Visual Studio 2010 to construct a usable application using pre-built components. 
  • The way objects function with practical examples. 
  • Use primitives as storage for texts, numbers, and other basic data. 
  • Store advanced data in files and databases using various C# tools. 
  • Simple guidelines to create intuitive and friendly user interfaces. 
  • Develop good programming habits, like refactoring code and applying unit tests. 
  • Discover the way web services connect your programs with the rest of the world.
  • Make your software installation process simple for others to use. 

Why Should You Choose This Book?

As you can see, aside from making learning a fun experience for readers, HFC# has another point in its favor: There are many real-world exercises. Just like Quora user Dylan Riley wrote, “You will learn C# so fast with this book because you actually make things rather than reading and just imagining scenarios.”


There Is Only One Caveat 

Since the book aims to keep you engaged, you shouldn’t expect HFC# to be in great depth. Some subjects are not covered, such as namespace aliases or pragma directives. Hence, it shouldn’t be the only book to purchase if you are a newbie. Still, I would definitely recommend HFC# as your first programming guide. By the time you are done, you will get a solid understanding of C# and a wonderful time along the way! 

“Just received the book recently, but I am already loving it. The way the authors speak to you and express ideas with pictures and multiple examples is a great way to learn. It’s best alternative to boring lectures and I learned more in the first three chapters than 6 weeks at a university.” – Donald Nelson Holt Jr

And, just in case you need it, the Head First series also has one of the best system design books out there! 

C#: Learn C# In One Day And Learn It Well (Jamie Chan)

Have you always wanted to learn the C# language but are afraid it will be too difficult for you? If so, you are in luck!  Though having a Master’s in computer science, author Jamie Chan started off as a self-taught programmer, having learned everything by himself since high school. That said, Jamie wrote “Learn C# in One Day” for those who are not professionally trained and have zero knowledge beforehand. Because he has been there, Jamie knows exactly how to break down the complicated concepts for everyone to comprehend. 

C#: Learn C# In One Day And Learn It Well (Jamie Chan)
C#: Learn C# In One Day And Learn It Well – Source: Amazon

Let’s Take A Look At What You Will Learn 

  • Introduction to C#: What is C#? How to install and run Visual Studio Community? You will begin with all the basics of this modern programming language. 
  • Data types and operations: Familiarize yourself with the most common data types in C#, as well as how to format C# strings and some well-known C# operators. 
  • Object-oriented programming: In this section, you will learn how to write your own classes. 
  • Controlling the flow of a program: How to use control flow statements in C#? What to do when there are errors and exceptions? This section has you covered. 
  • At the end of the book, Jamie Chan addresses some common questions for beginners. That includes how to accept user inputs and display outputs, how to use LINQ to save yourself from hours of work, etc. 

Why Should You Choose This Book?

The author goes straight to the point and avoids bringing up advanced knowledge. You will find the book very easy to read since it only covers the most basic ideas, and guess what, it’s only 160 pages long! Furthermore, Jamie breaks the concepts down into simple steps to make sure that the book is beginner-friendly. That’s the strongest point of Learn C# in One Day. 

“It is ideal for people (like me) who are always busy and barely have time at the end of the day. The book is so clean, concise, and really easy to understand. How Jamie (the author) structured the material is very well thought out!” – Lidia Rodríguez

My Single Critique 

The only problem is the title, which can be quite misleading. Of course, you can’t expect to master C# in just a day. It probably takes around 2 or 3 weeks to get through this book, and while it might serve as a fantastic beginner’s guide, you will not learn the language well just by reading the book alone. 

Best C# Books – The C# Player’s Guide (RB Whitaker)

About The Author

Not much is known about RB Whitaker, except that he’s a veteran software developer. But his work “The C# Player’s Guide” is well-known as a top-tier C# book for novices. Strolling through r/learnprogramming, it’s not hard to spot comments like this:

Best C# Books - The C# Player’s Guide (RB Whitaker)
The C# Player’s Guide Is One Of The Most Recommended Books For Programmers On Reddit 

The C# Player’s Guide might not be the best choice for you if you are already well-versed in at least one object-oriented programming language. Those with a solid background in software development will find half of this book boring and redundant. On the other hand, if you are just starting out as a programmer or self-taught, this book might be the most crucial thing you read in your programming journey. 

The C# Player's Guide
The C# Player’s Guide – Source: Carousell

So, What Do You Learn Here? 

  • How to set yourself up to program in C#. 
  • The basic mechanics of C#: Statements, expressions, variables, loops, and so on. 
  • C#’s powerful and fundamental aspect: Object-oriented programming, which is the key instrument to building larger programs. 
  • The advanced elements that make C# stand out as a programming language. 

But you will get much more than just C# tips and tricks. Along the way, it provides you with almost all the OOP concepts that can be applied to any language you can name, such as: 

  • What does object-oriented programming mean?
  • How to assign functionality to forms and buttons?
  • What are objects and classes?
  • What are the different types of variables, and how to put each of them to use?
  • How to save data inputted and processed by the program?
  • How to conceptualize a program’s structure?

Why Should You Choose This Book?

The author’s writing style is a thing that makes The C# Player Guide a bible for beginners. As noted by Amazon user Jason Chez, “Whitaker explains everything in a straightforward, friendly manner, with the assumption that readers know nothing about programming. He obviously cares more about teaching the readers, rather than demonstrating his superior knowledge.” At the end of each chapter, you will find mini exercises and challenges with the right level of difficulty. They are a great way to practice and build on fundamental concepts. 

The Cons? 

This book deals with console applications, those text-based programs where the computer receives text input from the user and displays text responses. Hence, you won’t find a single thing about graphics, animation, or sound here. That’s such a shame: In the last couple of decades, there haven’t been any applications that only use console texts. RB Whitaker will need to update his book in the next edition, but until then, you should fill the gap by finding other sources for those topics. 

Best C# Books – C# 10 And .NET 6 (Mark J. Price)

About The Author

Another great start for learning C# comes from Mark J. Price. Among many other accreditations, Mark is a Microsoft Specialist: Programming in C# and Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions, with over two decades of education and experience under his belt.

Best C# Books - C# 10 And .NET 6 (Mark J. Price)
C# 10 And .NET 6 – Source: Amazon

Below Are Some Key Features Of Mark J. Price’s “C#10 and .NET 6” 

  • The newest addition to C# 10 and the .NET 6 class library. 
  • How to develop applications using C# 10 and .NET core 6. 
  • Develop cross-platform applications for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. 
  • Object-oriented programming and C# multitasking. 
  • Perform data queries and manipulations with LINQ. 
  • Work with relational databases using the Entity Framework Core.
  • How to use the Universal Windows Platform in Windows app development. 

According to the author, the book is suitable for both beginners and programmers who have worked with C# in the past and want to catch up with the latest changes. “C# or .NET experience is not required, all you need is a general knowledge of programming before you jump in”, he wrote. However, I would not recommend “C# 10 and .NET 6” to those who have never worked with this programming language. If you are new to C#, better experiment with older versions first. Otherwise, you might find additional features in C# 10 confusing and hard to grasp. 


Why Should You Choose This Book?

So, what makes “C# 10 and .NET 6” outstanding? Being an active expert in the field, the author is always up-to-date with the newest technologies. C# 10.0 was just released in November 2021, and as of now, not many resources about this latest version are available. Among them, you won’t be able to find one that’s as comprehensive as Mark’s. 

“The book covers the full range of C# 10.0 features and app development including building ASP.NET Core websites (with Razor Pages and MVC), web APIs, Blazor server and WebAssembly apps, mobile apps, desktop apps, interacting with files and databases. He really has included all the latest concepts and topics to get you going quickly.” – Guzman Diaz

The way Mark presents his contents also makes “C# 10 and .NET 6” a pleasant read. The book has a structured approach and a well-organized flow of topics. Discussing such a broad subject as C# 10, it can’t dig deep into everything, but the author provides pointers to resources for those wanting more. That makes “C# 10 and .NET 6” a gem for self-taught programmers: They are exposed to a wide range of valuable material aside from the book. 

But The Book Is Not Flawless 

Some of the code samples happen to be parts of screenshots, thus they are too tiny to see. This is exacerbated by the poor inking quality, which is disappointing given the price of the book. Fortunately, those only make up a minority, and most of the code samples are regular texts. 

Best C# Books – C# In Depth (Jon Skeet) 

About The Author

Who the hell is Jon Skeet, and how does his book still get a rating of 4.51 out of 5 on Goodreads despite being released many years ago? 

Well, Skeet is a seasoned software developer working at Google. Some people refer to him as the “C# legend” for winning the Microsoft MVP award numerous times. Additionally, he is a top contributor on StackOverflow. Since 2007, he has been helping millions of users by offering high-quality, comprehensive responses to the issues they face while programming. 

To assist more people who are struggling with this popular programming language, Skeet published “C# In Depth”. The book doesn’t only cover the fundamentals of C# but also explores the advanced-level concepts and breaks them down into simple terms. 

Best C# Books - C# In Depth (Jon Skeet)
C# In Depth – Source: Amazon

Let’s Take A Look At The Major Topics

  • Detailed guides on the new features of C# 6 and 7. 
  • C# 2-5 biggest hits and legacies.
  • Expression-bodied members.
  • Additional pass-by-reference features. 
  • Programming asynchronously in C#. 
  • String interpolation. 
  • Tuple-based composition. 
  • Pattern matching and decomposition.

Why Should You Choose This Book?

As mentioned, “C# In Depth” takes you deep into the advanced concepts and features of C# that other books ignore. That’s what makes Skeet’s guide outstanding. Books that go in-depth tend to cram too much knowledge into each sentence, but the pacing here is great. The author explains a wide range of topics with just the right amount of information and uses real-life examples to illustrate each point. 


For The Cons

At the same time, that’s also the book’s weak point: Since Skeet doesn’t want to jam too much information into his book, some sections are not so detailed. Therefore, it’s not a “C# 101” guide for novices to start with the language. You can make better use of this book if you know some C# basics like data types, important features, and writing simple codes. Quora user Sean H suggests reading “The C# Player’s Guide” first before jumping into “C# In Depth”, and I think that’s a great idea: The first one teaches you the fundamentals of C# thoroughly, and the second one covers a wide variety of advanced features to make yourself wonderfully productive with the language. 

Overall, it’s not the best book for freshers. But if you are an intermediate developer who wants to step your C# game up a notch, this is an essential purchase. 

“Jon Skeet never disappoints with his writings. From his blog posts, to his StackOverflow answers to his books his knowledge of internals of C# is amazing. I am a better C# developer because of reading his books. I recommend this book to all members of my team.” – RaJ

Best C# Books – Learning C# By Developing Games With Unity (Harrison Ferrone) 

About The Author

Harrison Ferrone spends most of his time being a technical documentation writer at Microsoft and an instructional content creator at LinkedIn. Aside from that, teaching is Ferrone’s hidden talent. You can see it in his book “Learning C# by Developing Games with Unity”. 

Best C# Books - Learning C# By Developing Games With Unity (Harrison Ferrone)
Learning C# by Developing Games with Unity – Source: Amazon

Just as the title states, the book walks you through a clear path for learning the C# language from scratch without complicated jargon or challenging programming logic… all while creating a simple game with Unity. 

More Precisely, In “Learning C#”, You Will: 

  • Follow a step-by-step plan to construct and implement C# scripts using Unity. 
  • Create and implement a C# script in Unity by following a step-by-step guide.
  • Learn how to think in 3D to create games that come to life. 
  • Use C# to construct core game mechanics like player controllers or shooting projectiles. 
  • Break down your code into modular components using abstract classes, interfaces, and class extensions. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the basic C# concepts, such as queues, stacks, exceptions, and so on. 
  • Learn how to save and load your game data using XML and JSON data. 
  • Get to know the principles of artificial intelligence for games and use them to control enemy behavior. 

Why Should You Choose This Book?

Ferrone’s work is slow-paced, which I consider the best thing about this book. You will start with the basics of software programming and the C# language before moving on to write small bits of code. As you go through the book, you will gradually learn how to build a more complex system using C# and the Unity interface. Hence, even if you learn by yourself, you don’t have to worry about being left all confused. 

While it does go through the basics, though, “Learning C#” still works best for those with a bit of programming experience since it fills a particular niche. Whether you are a developer or hobbyist, some knowledge beforehand will help you get the most out of this book. 

Ferrone also addresses many obstacles and issues faced during practical game design, making you feel like a real-time gaming design experience. All the issues he discusses come with examples and thorough explanations. According to Amazon user Grimes Golden, “it’s just like having a real tutor or professor”. 


For The Cons 

I would say the author does too much hand-holding for a book that’s not really for beginners. It would be better if Ferrone gave his readers more chances to try and figure out the parts on their own, instead of giving out the codes and explanations. Intermediate-level developers can appreciate more challenges. Another problem is that if you purchase previous editions, you will spot a few typos. Make sure you grab the latest edition that’s published in 2021! 

“This is a very inspirational and informative book. I already have some C# experience but had 0 experience with Unity and found it to be a fantastic intro. The simple game that you will build from this book is very exciting for a newcomer and I highly recommend it to anyone that loves video games and wants to become a .net / C# developer.” – Jonathan Ball

Concurrency In C# Cookbook: Asynchronous, Parallel, And Multithreaded Programming (Stephen Cleary)

About The Author

Perhaps you’ve heard of Stephen Cleary before: He is a seasoned developer with a wide range of experience, from ARM firmware to Azure. Over the years, he has contributed to open source with several projects, but his most notable work so far is “Concurrency In C# Cookbook”. 

The aim of this practical book is to help intermediate developers who still doubt concurrent and multi-threaded development see them in a new light. Using over 85 code-rich excerps, Cleary illustrates how to use .NET and the C# language in asynchronous programming techniques in great detail. 

Concurrency In C# Cookbook: Asynchronous, Parallel, And Multithreaded Programming (Stephen Cleary)
Concurrency In C# Cookbook – Source: Carousell

Within 254 Pages, You Will Learn: 

  • Asynchronous operations. 
  • How to improve your code using asynchronous streams. 
  • Parallel programming with .NET’s Task Parallel Library. 
  • How to create dataflow pipelines 
  • Reactive builds on top of LINQ

Why Should You Choose This Book?

The format itself is an advantage of “Concurrency In C# Cookbook”. For technical books that go beyond tutorials, the “cookbook” format is the best one to use. It makes the book become a handy reference, just like a real cookbook, so you don’t have to memorize every common task you might face. 

“So you are a C# developer, sure, you capable of doing many things without this book. But with ‘Concurrency in C# Cookbook” as your guideline, you can rest assured that you do everything correctly, and you will have more room in your bran for more important information (whatever you might deem those to be).” – Alexander Ramirez 

I also like the way Cleary makes chapter separations very coherent. It allows you to bypass the material that you might not be interested in at the moment and get straight to the stuff you want to learn. For me, it was the first time I really grasped the role of the Task and Parallel classes, as well as the difference between asynchronicity and parallelism.


On The Downside… 

“Concurrency In C# Cookbook” is overhyped as a one-stop solution. Nope, this book is not an encyclopedia. It focuses too much on big-picture solutions for enterprise development and  dismisses any low-level constructs as legacy code. Still, it will make a great pick if you want to turn from an intermediate C# developer to a pro. 

Best C# Books – CLR Via C# 

About The Author

When someone mentions Jeffery Richter, the first thing to say about him is his experience working in the Microsoft .NET Framework Team since 1999. Additionally, Richter is the co-founder of Wintellect – a business that offers training, consulting, and debugging. 

With CLR Via C#, Richter aims to give you a complete understanding of the Common Language Running time (A.K.A CLR). Before getting into this book, here is a warning: CLR Via C# is, by no means, a book for novices or someone who just learning the subject. The CLR is a daunting intermediate to advanced subject matter, so if you are not yet familiar with C# you will rapidly feel confused. I have to say this in advance because many beginners make the mistake of purchasing the book without knowing that this is a high-level topic. 

Best C# Books - CLR Via C#
CLR Via C# – Source: Amazon

However, with that being said, what you find in this guide is essential for anyone who wishes to make their codes as tight as possible. 

Below Are Some Key Features Of “CLR Via C#” 

  • An in-depth insight into the .NET Framework and Visual Studio. 
  • The architecture and environment of the .NET Framework architecture and runtime environment. 
  • The concept of asynchronous programming and Windows runtime.
  • Practice Visual C# 2012 code examples.

Why Should You Choose This Book?

Overall, my impressions of this book are high. It is comprehensive, covering almost everything about the CLR. The tutorials and examples are straightforward, practical, and easy to understand, just like Amazon user Jason W. Weber said: 

“Richter explains the mechanics of the .NET platform in-depth and offers a level of understanding that is always helpful–and sometimes necessary–to make solid technical decisions. An annual read as another reviewer suggests is a great practice for professionals.”

Some Improvements Could Be Made… 

Yes, I do wish the author could give out further examples regarding difficult concepts like generics and threading. Either way, covering the subject in one book is not easy, and Jeffery Richter has done a fairly good job. This classic reference material surely deserves a rating of 4.6 out of 5 on Goodreads, given how well-organized and thorough it is.

“See Sharper With C#” 

To sum it up, the road ahead of you is bright if you decide to choose C# as your programming language. More and more businesses will adopt it since Microsoft continues to push this technology further and further into the Enterprise. 

“See Sharper With C#”
Just in case you wonder, C# isn’t slightly dead. It’s thriving more than ever – Source: @geolyser 

So, honestly, C# will be the programming language of the future, and learning it now is an exquisite choice. Along your journey to mastering this language, these best C# books will serve as your great companions! 

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