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The Best Objective-C Books

Posted by on Feb 9, 2014

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The are only 2 real candidates for the category of the “Best Objective-C Books” and I own both of them.

Anyone that wants to learn to create iOS games and applications will need to acquire a solid grasp of the Objective-C programming language. Objective-C is an object oriented language and it is generally recommended that you gain experience in other simpler programming languages before learning Objective-C. However, I ignored this advice and have learned Objective-C without any prior experience of any programming language. There is no reason why you can’t ignore this advice too provided you know where to find great Objective-C books and training courses.

Once you have learnt some Objective-C, you will then be able to progress to one of the iOS 7 development books.

My 2 Recommendations

The 2 best Objective-C Books that I have read are:

  • Objective-C Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (2nd Edition), by Hillegass & Ward
  • Programming in Objective-C (6th Edition), by Kochan

(1) Objective-C Programming

The Big Nerd Ranch Organisation has been publishing computer programming books and delivering computer programming training courses for many years. They are not only experts in the field (Aaron Hillegass previously worked at NeXT and Apple), but they are also highly skilled in explaining sometimes difficult concepts to absolute beginners.

This book begins by introducing you to the C programming language, before moving on to the more challenging world of Objective-C. Each chapter builds upon the knowledge gained in the previous ones and there are assignments to complete as you progress.

To assist your progress through the book, there is a Big Nerd Ranch Forum where you can receive further support and assistance.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to learn Objective-C.


(2) Programming in Objective-C

This book also introduces you to some C language concepts prior to teaching you Objective-C. It is slightly more detailed than the Hillegass book and takes a more academic and less project-based approach. You will not benefit from the same forum support as with the Hillegass book, but it is a very thorough and well written book. You will certainly not be left with the impression that anything of substance has been left out.

As with any programming book, it is not one to be rushed and you may need to keep revising things that you have learned in previous chapters. Learning Objective-C is a difficult undertaking but this book does an excellent job of explaining complex concepts in relatively simple terms.

Kochan’s book has long been considered one the best (if not the best) introductory texts on Objective-C and, having read it, I can understand why. It is an excellent book and constantly receives high praise from both beginners and experienced programmers.


I have both of these books and they complement each other well. Personally, I find it extremely useful to have difficult programming concepts explained to me by more that one person. If I had to choose just one of these books, I would probably go for the Kochan one due to its thoroughness. Neither is very expensive so I would recommend both if you can afford them.

If you have any opinions about my selection of the Best Objective-C Books, please leave a comment in the box below.

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