This guide attempts to collect the few pearls among the dozens of bad C++ books that are published every year. Unlike many other programming languages, which are often picked up on the go from tutorials found on the Internet, few folks are able to quickly pick up C++ without studying a well-written C++ book. It is way too big and complex for doing this. In fact, it is so big and complex, that there are very many very bad C++ books out there. And we are not talking about bad style, but things like sporting glaringly obvious factual errors and promoting abysmally bad programming styles. Here's a list of books that fortunately have none of these flaws, and will actually help you learn or master C++ the proper way.
An introduction to programming using C++ by the creator of the language. A good read that assumes no previous programming experience, but it is only for beginners.
Coming at nearly 1000 pages, this is a very thorough introduction into C++ that covers just about everything in the language in a very accessible format and in great detail. The fifth edition (released August 16, 2012) covers C++11.
The "Tour" is a quick (about 180 pages and 14 chapters) tutorial and overview of all of standard C++ (language and standard library, and using C++11) at a moderately high level for people who already know C++ or at least are experienced programmers. This book is an extended version of the material that constitutes Chapters 2-5 of The C++ Programming Language, 4th edition.
This basically covers the same ground as the C++ Primer, but does so on a fourth of its space. This is largely because it does not attempt to be an introduction to programming, but an introduction to C++ for people who've previously programmed in some other language. It has a steeper learning curve, but, for those who can cope with this, it is a very compact introduction into the language. (Historically, it broke new ground by being the first beginner's book to use a modern approach at teaching the language.)
This was written with the aim of being the best second book C++ programmers should read, and it succeeded. Earlier editions were aimed at programmers coming from C, the third edition changes this and targets programmers coming from languages like Java. It presents ~50 easy-to-remember rules of thumb along with their rationale in a very accessible (and enjoyable) style. For C++11 and C++14 the examples and a few issues are outdated and Effective Modern C++ should be preferred.
Even more rules of thumb than Effective C++. Not as important as the ones in the first book, but still good to know - especially if becoming an expert in C++ is your goal.
Presented as a set of puzzles, this has one of the best and thorough discussions of the proper resource management and exception safety in C++ through Resource Acquisition is Initialization (RAII) in addition to in-depth coverage of a variety of other topics including the pimpl idiom, name lookup, good class design, and the C++ memory model.
Covers additional exception safety topics not covered in Exceptional C++, in addition to discussion of effective object oriented programming in C++ and correct use of the STL.
Discusses generic programming, optimization, and resource management; this book also has an excellent exposition of how to write modular code in C++ by using nonmember functions and the single responsibility principle.
Coding standards" here doesn't mean "how many spaces should I indent my code?" This book contains 101 best practices, idioms, and common pitfalls that can help you to write correct, understandable, and efficient C++ code.
This is the book about templates as they existed before C++11. It covers everything from the very basics to some of the most advanced template metaprogramming and explains every detail of how templates work (both conceptually and at how they are implemented) and discusses many common pitfalls. Has excellent summaries of the One Definition Rule (ODR) and overload resolution in the appendices. A second edition is scheduled for 2017.
A groundbreaking book on advanced generic programming techniques. Introduces policy-based design, type lists, and fundamental generic programming idioms then explains how many useful design patterns (including small object allocators, functors, factories, visitors, and multimethods) can be implemented efficiently, modularly, and cleanly using generic programming.
C++ Template Metaprogramming sheds light on the most powerful idioms of today's C++, at long last delivering practical metaprogramming tools and techniques into the hands of the everyday programmer. A metaprogram is a program that generates or manipulates program code.
A book covering C++11 concurrency support including the thread library, the atomics library, the C++ memory model, locks and mutexes, as well as issues of designing and debugging multithreaded applications.
A pre-C++11 manual of TMP techniques, focused more on practice than theory. There are a ton of snippets in this book, some of which are made obsolete by typetraits, but the techniques, are nonetheless useful to know. If you can put up with the quirky formatting/editing, it is easier to read than Alexandrescu, and arguably, more rewarding. For more experienced developers, there is a good chance that you may pick up something about a dark corner of C++ (a quirk) that usually only comes about through extensive experience.
The classic introduction to C++ by its creator. Written to parallel the classic K&R, this indeed reads very much alike it and covers just about everything from the core language to the standard library, to programming paradigms to the language's philosophy.
The introduction and reference for the C++ Standard Library. The second edition (released on April 9, 2012) covers C++11.
IO Streams and locales are two such major components for text internationalization. As critical as these two APIs are, however, there are few resources devoted to explaining them. If you want to know anything about streams and locales, then this is the one place to find definitive answers.
This, of course, is the final arbiter of all that is or isn't C++. Be aware, however, that it is intended purely as a reference for experienced users willing to devote considerable time and effort to its understanding. It is primarily listed here for completeness, not because it is a recommended reading or anything. It is available as a PDF or a PDF on CD for approximately $200 USD (as of July, 2017). For most people, the final draft before standardization is more than adequate (and free). Many will prefer an even newer draft, documenting new features that are likely to be included in C++17.
The C++ Super-FAQ is an effort by the Standard C++ Foundation to unify the C++ FAQs previously maintained individually by Marshall Cline and Bjarne Stroustrup and also incorporating new contributions. The items mostly address issues at an intermediate level and are often written with a humorous tone. Not all items might be fully up to date with the latest edition of the C++ standard yet.
The C++ Reference is a wiki that summarizes the basic core-language features and has extensive documentation of the C++ standard library. The documentation is very precise but is easier to read than the official standard document and provides better navigation due to its wiki nature. The project documents all versions of the C++ standard and the site allows filtering the display for a specific version.
If you want to know why the language is the way it is, this book is where you find answers. This covers everything before the standardization of C++.
A solid source for understanding the theory behind many good C++ programming practices. Though somewhat dated by the standard template library (STL) now, the text still gives the software engineer a better understanding of the concepts behind the design of STL iterators, etc.
A predecessor of the pattern movement, it describes many C++-specific "idioms". It's certainly a very good book and might still be worth a read if you can spare the time, but quite old and not up-to-date with current C++.
Lakos explains techniques to manage very big C++ software projects. Certainly a good read, if it only was up to date. It was written long before C++98, and misses on many features (e.g. namespaces) important for large scale projects. If you need to work in a big C++ software project, you might want to read it, although you need to take more than a grain of salt with it.
If you want to know how virtual member functions are commonly implemented and how base objects are commonly laid out in memory in a multi-inheritance scenario, and how all this affects performance, this is where you will find thorough discussions of such topics.
This book is quite outdated in the fact that it explores the 1989 C++ 2.0 version - Templates, exceptions, namespaces and new casts were not yet introduced. Saying that however, this book goes through the entire C++ standard of the time explaining the rationale, the possible implementations and features of the language. This is not a book to learn programming principles and patterns on C++, but to understand every aspect of the C++ language.
The emphasis here is on practical programming, so there's basic advice on using header files, preprocessor directives, and namespaces to organize code effectively. Each chapter ends with exercises (usually about two dozen), and the entire text of the book is available on the accompanying CD-ROM.