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Recommend a book on Python Programming

  1. Nov 10, 2009 #1
    I'm not a complete newbie to Python but i'm not a pro either (far from it). I played with Python on surface, like doing simple computation in python shell or creating a very simple program (such as finding roots of quadratic equations).

    Anyway, i would like to explore more into this subject and i'm in need of a good book to back me through.

    I have stumbled upon



    reading some details, they seem decent. But if you have anything else to suggest, feel free to do so.

    Much Appreciated!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 10, 2009 #2
    I'd recommend the Nutshell book.
  4. Nov 10, 2009 #3
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Nov 11, 2009 #4
    More free books! Yay! How To Think Like a Computer Scientist. I used the second one on the list and thought it was good:
  6. Nov 11, 2009 #5
    ""Brave beginners will be well served by this title, which provides an intelligent, fast paced intro to core topics."

    "This book offers Python programmers one place to look when they need help remembering or deciphering the syntax of this open source language and its many powerful but scantily documented modules. This comprehensive reference guide makes it easy to look up the most frequently needed information--not just about the Python language itself, but also the most frequently used parts of the standard library and the most important third-party extensions."

    i certainly am not a Python programmer neither do i want a fast paced book.

    seems like this book assumes user is already well familiar with python. The chapter "Basic Python" sums up everything in 10 pages or so.

    that's great but i'm looking for a hard copy. I feel i learn more that way.

    When you recommend a book, can you please say why you are recommending it, what it contains, who is the target audience, how will it help me etc.

    I don't like reading bunch of reviews only to find the book isn't for me. Your description doesn't have to be lengthy...a few sentence will save me hassle of looking up in amazon ;p
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  7. Nov 11, 2009 #6


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    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Nov 11, 2009 #7
    ok i see what happened. First two books i myself listed are for experienced programmers....sry about that.

    for now i need a decent introductory book, with LOTS of examples and exercise (if possible w/ hint or solution).

    i want minimal of chatter about what python is, why we should use it...it would be best if those things were limited in single chapter.

    i also want a book that is easy to follow, with nice indentation for codes and a thought explanation of what is being done.

    lastly, the bigger the better. I do NOT want a 200 page handbook....would be awesome if it was 1k pages or even more ;)

    P.S. thnx mgb_phys, i'll look into Dive into Python. Any more recommendations would be great.
  9. Nov 11, 2009 #8


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    Learning Python (OReilly) is probably the most comprehensive - it's now about 1500pages.

    From OReilly there is also Python in a Nutshell, Programming Python and the Python cookbook.
    The nutshell book at almost 700pages isn't really a nutshell anymore, if you need a quick reference the web is better. Everything in Programming python is pretty much covered in "Learning" and the cookbook though useful is better read at the online site where you can copy code and which contains more snippets

    "Dive into Python" and "Beginning Python From Novice to Professional" (Apress) are good intro books but don't cover everything.

    Python Standard Library and Essential Python are now both a bit too out of date.
    "Expert Python Programming" was rather dissapointing, poorly explained and badly edited.
  10. Nov 12, 2009 #9
    Actually, it is available for purchase:
    and so are all the other "How To Think Like a Computer Scientist" books. And they're cheap.
    Well, the title sums it up nicely. The book could be used as your first programming book. It isn't just well laid out and explained, it also teaches you "how to think like a computer scientist" surprise surprise. It's not comprehensive, being slightly less than 300 pages long, but it's a good start imho.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  11. Nov 12, 2009 #10
    whoa, i was looking into a few of those you mentioned mgb_phys. So thnx that saved me narrow down what i wanted.

    I managed to get a hold of ebook of Learning Python (OReilly, 4th edition) and i think it will fit me well. I with it has more exercise problems. I'll order a hardcopy soon.

    edit: thnx qspeechc. But i already have another book about the same size.

    edit 2: what is the difference between 3rd and 4th edition? I know 4th goes over 2.6,3.0 but does it improve anything else? If that isn't the case, i'll get 3rd edition instead...i'm not fond of 3.0
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  12. Nov 12, 2009 #11


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    You've been given excellent leads -- "Learning Python" and "Programming Python" are the most widely read and acclaimed books on the topic. If you're totally new to Python, get "Learning Python." If you're past the basics and want something more skill- and reference-oriented, get "Programming Python." I think you're worried far too much about the irrelevant specifications of the books (the page count, what's in the introductory pages, the edition number, etc.). In the time that you've spent arguing minutia, you could have already read a couple chapters of a book.

    - Warren
  13. Nov 12, 2009 #12
    well i didn't find it irrelevant

    a) i wanted a book as complete as possible hence why the request for thicker book.

    b) some python books waste whole lot of pages on introduction and taking about how wonderful python is...sure i could just skip the introductory pages but why bother if there is an alternative. So, i thought it was well worth asking.

    c) 4th edition goes over python 2.6 and 3.0 which isn't really what i'm interested in. I'm sure python 2.5 won't be replaced anytime soon.
  14. Nov 12, 2009 #13


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    I tried to program in Python. I gave up because it was dark and cramped.
  15. Nov 12, 2009 #14
    Quite the "squeeze," eh?
  16. Nov 12, 2009 #15
    is that supposed to be a joke? lol
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