8 best .NET books for 2021 with faded black background

8 Best .NET Books for 2021 [Learn .NET and .NET Core ASAP]

What is .NET?

.NET is an open-source developer platform created by Windows.

With the .NET framework, you can use a number of languages, libraries and editors to build applications for:

  • web
  • desktop
  • mobile

And more.

What’s the difference between .NET and .NET Core?

Simply put, .NET is used to create applications on Windows.

On the other hand, .NET Core is cross-platform (and runs faster). You can create applications on Windows, Linux and macOS.

So where can I learn .NET and .NET Core?

There are plenty of resources you can use to learn .NET and .NET Core. However, we think courses and books are some of the most effective resources out there.

And today we’re showing you 8 of the best .NET books we found this year.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you buy something. Read my disclosure for more details.

TLDR: Best .NET Books

🔥 Best Overall 🔥
Head First C#

💸 Best Value 💸
C# 9 and .NET 5

Best .NET Books

💥 Head First C#: A Learner’s Guide to Real-World Programming with C# and .NET Core

🚨 Ideal for: developers interested in learning .NET Core and C#
💥 Major topics: object-oriented programming, building projects

Head First C# is an introduction to C# 8.0 with a heavy focus on .NET Core, making it one of the best .NET books on our list today.

Head First uses the latest developments in cognitive science and learning theory to engage your mind. So instead of boring walls of text, you’ll find plenty of illustrations and examples.

Multiple reference variables in Head First C#

In Head First C#, you’ll use Visual Studio to build a fully functional game… And that’s just in the first chapter!

💡 Visual Studio is an integrated development environment used to develop computer programs, websites, mobile apps and more.

Then with exercises and puzzles, you’ll learn how to:

  • use classes and object-oriented programming
  • create 3D games in Unity
  • query data with LINQ

And much more.

🔥 Geena’s Hot Take

Head First can’t write a bad book. Well, maybe they can, but we haven’t seen it yet.

If you respect your time and money, don’t dink around with other books to learn .NET.


2. Pro C# 9 with .NET 5: Foundational Principles and Practices in Programming

🚨 Ideal for: developers interested in .NET and C#
💥 Major topics: building real-world applications, new features in .NET

Unlike Head First C#, Pro C# 9 with .NET 5 focuses on .NET instead of .NET Core.

You’ll learn about:

C# features and updates
ASP.NET Core features and services
building real-world applications with Entity Framework Core

Then you’ll learn about the philosophy behind .NET. You’ll also explore new features in .NET such as single file applications and smaller container images.

Finally, you’ll examine performance improvements to ASP.NET Core, Entity Framework Core and more.

“… This is a ‘must-have’ for your collection if you are learning .NET!” 

Rick McGuire, Senior Application Development Manager, Microsoft


3. Enterprise Application Development with C# 9 and .NET 5

🚨 Ideal for: developers, architects, senior programmers
💥 Major topics: how .NET 5 works, end-to-end architecture

Similar to Pro C# 9 with .NET 5, Enterprise Application Development with C# 9 and .NET 5 explores the advanced features of C# 9 and .NET 5 to build robust applications. You’ll also learn how to build scalable web applications and host them on the cloud.

💡 For every 600 smartphones, a new cloud server is added.

Using the latest features of .NET 5, you’ll discover:

  • data, API and web layers of apps
  • end-to-end architecture
  • how to implement caching, logging and configuration
  • how .NET 5 works and contributes to the platform

And much more.

By the end of Enterprise Application Development with C# 9 and .NET 5, you should be able to create enterprise applications and deploy them to the cloud.

This is an amazing book for any expertise level programmer.

Raaaj, Customer


4. Introducing .NET for Apache Spark: Distributed Processing for Massive Datasets

🚨 Ideal for: C# developers interested in learning Apache Spark and .NET
💥 Major topics: .NET bindings, Apache Spark

Introducing .NET for Apache Spark is one of the best .NET books for using .NET within Apache Spark.

First you’ll learn how to create your first .NET program using .NET bindings for Apache Spark with C# or F#.

In addition, you’ll:

  • transform and aggregate large datasets
  • execute SQL queries
  • create batch, streaming, and machine learning programs

You’ll also learn how to distribute large datasets across multiple servers.


5. Mobile Development with .NET

🚨 Ideal for: C# developers interested in mobile development
💥 Major topics: ASP.NET Core 5, .NET 5 features, Xamarin

You should be familiar with C# before reading Mobile Development with .NET.

Unlike other books on our list of best .NET books, you’ll build cross-platform mobile applications with Xamarin and ASP.NET Core 5.

💡 Xamarin is an open-source platform used for developing mobile applications on iOS, Android, and Windows with .NET.

Using real-world scenarios, you’ll go through the phases of app development.

In addition, you’ll learn how to design, architect and develop maintainable mobile applications for platforms including:

This is one of the best .NET books for learning mobile development.


6. C# 9 and .NET 5 – Modern Cross-Platform Development

🚨 Ideal for: C# and .NET beginners
💥 Major topics: new features of C# and .NET, building cross-platform apps

C# 9 and .NET 5 is one of the best .NET books for beginners.

You’ll use Visual Studio Code for all exercises.

You’ll start by learning about the latest features of C# and .NET. Then you’ll learn how to create professional websites using ASP.NET Core 5.

You’ll also discover how to build cross-platform apps using:

  • Blazor
  • ASP.NET Core
  • Entity Framework Core

💡 With Blazor, you can create interactive web user interfaces using C# instead of JavaScript.

It covers everything you would need for a beginner and intermediate reader.

Cagatay Gur, Customer


7. Hands-On Domain-Driven Design with .NET Core

🚨 Ideal for: .NET developers with intermediate JavaScript and C# experience
💥 Major topics: Domain-driven design

Domain-Driven Design with .NET Core is one of the best .NET books for domain-driven design.

💡 Domain-driven design (DDD) is the concept that the structure of software code should match the business domain.

For example, if you have software that processes college applications, it could have classes such as FreshmanApplication and Student.

You’ll learn how to use modern tools to apply DDD principles like EventStorming and CQRS.

Then you’ll discover how DDD works with reactive systems, microservices and REST.


8. Web Development with Blazor and .NET 5

🚨 Ideal for: C# developers interested in learning Blazor to build web UIs
💥 Major topics: all things Blazor

Similar to C# 9 and .NET 5, in Web Development with Blazor and .NET 5 you’ll learn how to build interactive web user interfaces (UIs) using Blazor.

You’ll start by learning Blazor fundamentals on the server-side. Then you’ll explore what you can do on the client-side using Web Assembly.

Then you’ll build a simple API using Entity Framework.

You’ll also learn how to:

  • use JavaScript libraries in Blazor
  • debug your Blazor applications
  • test Blazor components

And much more.


8 Best .NET Books: Conclusion

Today we looked at the best .NET books including:

🔥 Best Overall 🔥
Head First C#

💸 Best Value 💸
C# 9 and .NET 5

So whether you are looking for value, the best overall, or want to look into Blazor or Spark, we think these are the best .NET books for just about everyone.


Up Next:


  1. What are the best .NET books?

    Overall, we think Head First C# is one of the best .NET books out there. But if you're looking for value, we think you should check out the book C#9 and .NET 5.

  2. Is Head First C# worth it?

    Head First C# uses the latest developments in cognitive science and learning theory to engage your mind. So instead of boring walls of text, you'll find plenty of illustrations and examples. This is a proven method to learn C# and other programming languages.

  3. Where can I learn .NET?

    You can learn .NET from a variety of resources, though we recommend your primary resources to be either courses or books. Both are effective means of learning .NET fundamentals.