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Here are the main differences between 6 and 7: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Java_version_history#Java_SE_7_.28July_28.2C_2011.29. They are quite substantial at the language level and some important API's. Since you want to read 'Beginning Java', I assume you are a beginner and you don't need the extra-confusion resulting from trying to sort out what is part of what version of Java. I don't know the books and if the author of 'Beginning Java' points out which features are new. As a test, check if, when talking about String's in switch statements, they tell you that it is a new Java 7 feature.