How did you learn Python?

Rocco Moretti roccomoretti at
Fri Dec 3 20:02:58 CET 2004

Shawn Milo wrote:
 > How did you learn Python?
> I was just wondering what the best books were for learning Python.

If you're open to options besides ink-on-tree, this is how I did it:

I read the official tutorial, trying stuff out in the interactive 
interpreter when I didn't get something/had questions. Read the first 
couple of sections of the Library Reference (especially the Built-in 
objects/functions), skimming when you get to those long lists of 
functions/objects. Decided "for language lawyers" was likely a joke; 
read/skimmed the Language Reference (turns out it's half a joke). Then I 
lurked on comp.lang.python.

I've since picked up a few books & looked at highly recommended on-line 
tutorials. For the most part, they mainly repeat the stuff in the 
official documentation and the stuff that isn't in there gets brought up 
on eventually. But YMMV, and you may prefer other tutorials to 
the official one.

BTW, I've found the trickiest part of learning python really can't be 
taught in books. I mean, it's stated in the books, but the words don't 
really help. It's understanding the philosophy behind the way Python 
does things, like the object/assignment model and object orientation, 
that's key. This understanding comes from experience, and I think it's 
something we're all still working on.

P.S. I haven't said yet how much I've appreciated the excellent 
documetation the Python crew has put out. It was literally only an 
afternoon before I had completed the tutorial and had a good impression 
of what this "Python thing" was all about. I've since tried to do the 
same with other languages (eg. OCaml & TCL), but haven't had as much 
success. Kudos to Guido, Fred, and the others.

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