Python Books - Which one?

Graham Ashton graz at
Wed Aug 29 14:58:04 CEST 2001

In article <3B8CF4D9.B9D0D4 at>, "Paul Lim"
<paullim at> wrote:

> I am a newbie in Python programming. I hope the guru can adivse me.

Are you a newbie to programming too, or just Python? I'd be after advice
from somebody who has just been through the process that you are about to
start, rather than a coding guru who won't need the same kind of book as

> I would like to acquire a book for my python programming. There are
> generally three main books in my mind
> 1. Programming Python by O'Reilly
> 2. The Quick Python Book

What's the third?

I've not seen the Quick Python Book so can't comment on it. I've got
Programming Python though (second edition). I think it's a very good book
but it's not a tutorial by any means. It is packed full of extensive
examples however, which teach application design as well as Python syntax.

If you've got prior programming experience and understand the language
constructs covered in the Python tutorial ( and
Dive Into Python ( then Programming Python
wouldn't be a bad choice. It is very thick though and I'm finding that I
sometimes don't have the patience to read the coverage of each topic
fully, partly because I'm impatient, partly because the coverage (in
parts) is a little too waffly for my taste.

My favourite book for learning more Python is currently the Python
Essential Reference which has an approach similar to O'Reilly's nutshell
series (i.e. concise overview of language followed by library reference).
It's by no means verbose but that's not usually a problem. Another
excellent book is Python Standard Library. There is quite a bit of overlap
between those last two though.

I hear that Wesley Chun's book is very good (I think it's called Core
Python Programming). I nearly bought that instead of Programming Python,
and still wonder whether I should have. I didn't get it because I didn't
like the layout that much - I know, it shouldn't be so important to me,
but I didn't find the text quite so accessible (personal quirkiness on my

> Can anyone recommend to me which is better? Or is there any better book
> out there? I am looking for a book that is reader friendly but contain
> substantial material that will last me quite some time.

Well, what level of experience do you have?

So you can gauge my comments a bit, I did Perl for five years before
trying Python in earnest about 3 or 4 months ago.


More information about the Python-list mailing list