Python Programming Books?

Discussion in 'Python' started by herraotic, May 24, 2006.

  1. herraotic

    herraotic Guest

    I have been getting ready to learn programming for a long time,
    installed a GNU/Linux operating system, learnt the ins and outs but I
    think it is time to pick up a book and learn to now program.

    I have never actually programmed before only dabbed into XHTML so do
    take it in mind that I need a book that could slowly progress me into
    the fundamentals of programming.
    I chose Python as my first programming language from hearing the praise
    it got for elegant design and mainly the managment of the excessive
    underlingy pins of machine resources and for it to teach you the
    creative parts.

    So now i'm hear to use all of your collective expertise for the ideal
    book for a beginning programming who want's to start with python.

    Your help is greatly appreciated.
    herraotic, May 24, 2006
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  2. 1.Python for Dummies
    Maruch Stef;Maruch Aahz - Hungry Minds Inc,U.S. - 408 pages - 08 2006

    2.Programming Python
    Lutz Mark - O Reilly - 1256 pages - 07 2006

    3.Core Python Programming
    Chun Wesley J - Peachpit Press - 07 2006

    Fehily Chris - Peachpit Press - 05 2006

    5.Python Essential Reference
    Beazley David - Sams - 03 2006

    6.Python Power!
    Thomson Course Technology Ptr Development - Course Technology Ptr - 03

    7.The Book of Python
    Goebel J - No Starch Press - 1200 pages - 03 2006

    8.Python Scripting for Computational Science
    Langtangen Hans P. - Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co.
    K - 750 pages - 12 2005

    9.WxPython in Action
    Rappin Noel;Dunn Robin - O Reilly USA - 12 2005

    10.Python Programming for Gaming
    Dawson R. - Course Technology - 11 2005

    11.Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner
    Dawson Michael - Premier Press - 10 2005

    Rony Steelandt
    rony dot steelandt (at) bucodi dot com

    Visit the python blog at
    Rony Steelandt, May 24, 2006
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  3. herraotic

    vbgunz Guest

    Learning Python by Mark Lutz will be the most perfect book to get you
    started! Perhaps there are others aimed at the non-programmer but after
    getting through that book (2 times) I finally left it with wings... It
    is a great book for the n00b in my humble opinion. After that, you'll
    pretty much start flying higher on your own as long as you always keep
    the python docs handy along with the addresses to comp.lang.python and
    it's IRC channel #python on

    Good luck, welcome to Python!
    vbgunz, May 24, 2006
  4. herraotic

    herraotic Guest

    Thanks, if you don't mind could I have a small <b>personal</b>
    description on the quality of the books (pros, cons).

    I also am interested if anyone has used "Python Programming: An
    Introduction to Computer Science" and if I could be given a detailes
    evaluation about it.

    Thanks again.
    herraotic, May 24, 2006
  5. herraotic

    herraotic Guest

    Thanks vbgunz that was the reply I was looking for!
    Do you think it is wise to hold back for a 3rd edition?

    My 1:47 pm message was a reply to Rony Steelandt.
    herraotic, May 24, 2006
  6. 'ideal' greatly depends on the reader !-)

    But FWIW, this is a FAQ (well : 2):

    And you may get good answers here:

    and by googling this ng (someone asked the same question yesterday...).

    bruno at modulix, May 24, 2006
  7. Since I'm a professional developper,I don't think that my personnal
    view on those books would be of any use to you. I actually have no idea
    how to start Python if you're not a developper, I know it is possible
    since quit a lot of matimatical engineers use it.

    But I'm sure some people here will give you good advise.

    Rony Steelandt
    rony dot steelandt (at) bucodi dot com

    Visit the python blog at
    Rony Steelandt, May 24, 2006
  8. herraotic

    Brian Guest

    I have a copy of this book on my shelf. I think it may be a good
    choice since you are new to programming. One thing to keep in mind is
    that is it a Computer Science book that uses Python to teach CS. As a
    result, you do not get too deep into the language.

    One book that I think you should definitely look at is Beginning Python
    from Novice to Professional. I think that it is one of the best books
    out there on the subject, is an easy read, has clear and concise
    examples, and does a great job of explaining the whys without making
    you think you are reading a PhD thesis.

    On a final note, I think that Python Essential Reference is a good
    reference book on the language.

    One thing you might want to look at is Safari Bookshelf by O'Reilly . They have all of their books online for
    your to read. It costs $14/month, but you get a 2 week free trial to
    decide if you want it. You can even download whole chapters as pdf's.
    In my mind it is a great place to test drive a book, or to have one
    that you only need to see one or two things in.

    Brian, May 24, 2006
  9. herraotic

    John Salerno Guest

    I second this opinion completely. Use this book to start with! It is a
    wonderful intro to the language and will give you a solid foundation.

    As for waiting for a 3rd edition, don't do it! If you're like me, you'll
    want the latest there is, so I was tempted to start with something newer
    too (since this book covers up to 2.2), but honestly it covers
    everything you need to know. There are maybe two or three new additions
    that you can read about elsewhere, but Learning Python is THE book to
    start with, IMO.

    Get it now! :)
    John Salerno, May 24, 2006
  10. herraotic

    John Salerno Guest

    I disagree, and I'm surprised so many people think this book is that
    great. I found it to be way too cursory of an introduction to the
    language. Fortunately I had already read Learning Python, so Beginning
    Python made sense to me, but even still, as I was reading it I kept
    saying to myself "I know this passage here, or this sentence there,
    would make no sense to me if I didn't already understand it from LP."
    Beginning Python does not do a good job of explaining how Python works,
    it only introduces all the parts of it, rather too quickly, IMO, for
    someone just learning the language.
    John Salerno, May 24, 2006
  11. herraotic

    John Salerno Guest

    I'm actually getting this book in the mail today. I'll let you know what
    I think of it if you're interested, but I say don't wait, go buy
    Learning Python (2nd ed.) now!
    John Salerno, May 24, 2006
  12. herraotic

    herraotic Guest

    I borrowed Learning Python 2nd edtion from a library once and it felt
    condensed with information and I didn't think I could start with it
    "yet" as I want a book made for a beginner programmer and I don't think
    Learning Python 2nd edtion is made for my audience.

    I want something that explains programming fundamentals and explains it
    in general while also showing the reason in practise and from reading
    some free PDF's of "Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer
    Science" I think it fit the bill perfectly, I would have it already but
    i'm only 15 and my dad is a bit weary of using his credit card online
    herraotic, May 24, 2006
  13. herraotic

    John Salerno Guest

    Well, I *would* say that Learning Python does assume a little knowledge
    of programming in general, so in your case it might not be a good start.
    On the same note, neither is Beginning Python.

    If your problem is limited access to books, you might want to try this
    John Salerno, May 24, 2006
  14. herraotic

    herraotic Guest

    If you don't mind could you send me an email to my address, John
    Salerno, and tell me whether "Python Programming: An Introduction to
    Computer Science" was good.
    Email preferably because it will take you a while to finish the book
    herraotic, May 24, 2006
  15. herraotic

    Jerry Guest

    I think that Beginning Python: From Novice to Professional is a great
    book for beginners. It's probably a bit too simplistic for someone who
    already understands the language or who has a decent background in
    development. I just borrowed it from my brother and while I consider
    myself a pretty good developer (I know PHP, Perl, Shell Scripting,
    VBScript, Visual Basic, and some C), I found that some of the things
    that other books presented where more advanced and that they left me
    missing some of the more basic concepts in Python (i.e. list
    comprehension made simple). After Beginning Python, a good book to go
    to would be Dive Into Python which you can get free at The book covers much of the same
    material that Beginning Python does, but has many more full fleged
    examples to help solidify what you are doing. I've also heard really
    good things about Learning Python, but these other two books seem to
    cover all of the same material.

    After these, I plan on reading Game Programming with Python and the
    Python Cookbook to round out my library.
    I'll have to check out Python Essential Reference and I'll probably get
    Mastering Regular Expressions (which I think is a must have for any
    language even though it focuses on Perl).
    Jerry, May 24, 2006
  16. herraotic

    gregarican Guest

    I third this opinion. This book gave me a lot of insight and helped me
    get comfortable using Python. I also recall looking at a document Guido
    published on how to get started with Python as well as reading the
    reference docs that come bundled with the language install. Of course I
    came from a background of already using Ruby so the departure wasn't
    altogether difficult. The languages are different but to me they seem
    like cousins :)

    Typically when I try to teach myself a new language, such as Python,
    Ruby, Smalltalk, Scheme, Haskell, etc. I check out my online catalog
    through my local library system. Usually I can find a couple of books
    to peruse. If I don't like them I can just drop them back off. Then I
    check out eBay for used books. This route was especially helpful for
    teaching myself Smalltalk, since a lot of the books were 10-20 years
    old so I picked them up for anywhere between $1.00 to $5.00.

    I digress. "Learning Python" by Mark Lutz is a thorough and complete
    introduction to what you need to know to get started. Even if you are
    coming into Python with no prior programming language exposure.
    gregarican, May 24, 2006
  17. herraotic

    vbgunz Guest

    Thanks vbgunz that was the reply I was looking for!
    No, 2nd edition is literally perfect. The reason why is because almost
    nothing significant enough has changed since it's publication. In other
    words, you will not learn any outdated material. everything you learn
    in Learning Python is still applicable in the latest version of Python
    (2.4.3, 2.5).

    I will not be surprised in the least if typos are the only items
    corrected in the 3rd edition, perhaps along with a little bit of some
    new material. The fundamentals, the basics, the only real knowledge
    necessary to start getting busy in Python is found in the book. Good
    luck, I hope you enjoy it!
    vbgunz, May 24, 2006
  18. herraotic

    Aahz Guest

    Possibly September if we get behind, but since Neal Norwitz is trying to
    accelerate the release of 2.5, that's not too likely. (This should be
    the first 2.5-specific book out.)
    Not sure why you suggested these books, they don't appear to be aimed at
    beginning programmers.
    Aahz, May 25, 2006
  19. I am not happy with any of the Python-as-a-First-Language books out
    there. My vague inclination to write one has not yet formed into a firm
    intention, but it's close.

    Of the books that are out there, Learning Python and Dive Into Python
    are best for the hobbyist as opposed to classroom setting, but my sense
    is that both of them go a bit too fast for the typical beginner with no
    formal training.

    In the classroom setting, Zelle's book or Hetland's are good, but they
    are a bit dry for the hobbyist.

    In my opinion, if you are just looking for a pleasant exploration of
    whether you enjoy programming, one option to consider is Python
    Programming for the Absolute Beginner by Michael Dawson, which focuses
    on developing games.

    Michael Tobis, May 25, 2006
  20. Free online resources for learning Python:

    To get started, I strongly suggest Josh Cogliati's "Non-Programmers
    Tutorial for Python" (
    I learned programming with this little tutorial, which is a very good

    After that, you could check these ones:
    "A Byte of Python" by Swaroop CH
    "Learning to Program" by Alan Gauld

    The last one is specially good to grasp the basics of object oriented
    programming. It has a very good example of a banking application that
    was a real eye opener to me.

    Good luck,
    =?iso-8859-1?q?Luis_M._Gonz=E1lez?=, May 26, 2006
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