a python book hint

Alex Martelli aleax at aleax.it
Thu Nov 13 18:38:54 CET 2003

Nick Vargish wrote:

> Alex Martelli is too modest about his own book, so let me tout it
> here...

Heh, first time I've ever been accused of _THAT_ defect -- modesty!

I appreciate the kudos, and I _have_ heard from several people who
actually taught themselves Python with the "Nutshell", but my opinion
is that those people are _pretty smart_ ones (as well, probably, as
experienced).  Beginners were _not_ the target audience for "Python
in a Nutshell".  Of course, sufficiently smart people can and do
teach themselves subjects from reference books (particularly books that
are reasonably clear and well-structured), even subjects more arcane
than Python, which, after all, IS a language designed to be simple
to learn.  However, I suspect they're a minority.

Fortunately is IS quite easy to check: e.g. you can visit
safari.oreily.com, subscribe, and read Python in a Nutshell (and/or
many, MANY other books) online for 2 weeks; be sure to cancel the
subscription within 14 days, though, unless you appreciate the
Safari site enough to pay for it -- only the first 2 weeks are
free!  Still, 2 weeks should be plenty for you to determine if
the Nutshell (or any other book you're considering) is in fact
going to be helpful to you personally -- browsing in a store has
the advantage of letting you check the physical layout &c, but
most stores would complain if you kept browsing for 2 weeks!-)

> The Python Cookbook (which Alex edited and contributed to) is still my
> favorite Python book. It's chock-full of useful real-world
> recipes. Many of them are quite mind-expanding, and demonstrate in
> concrete ways how to get the most out of Python.

Again, thanks.  The Cookbook is on Safari, too, by the way -- so
you don't need to purchase it "blindly" based on favourable reviews,
either; you can check it out for yourself.


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