Python books?

André andre.roberge at
Thu Mar 15 11:54:00 CET 2007

On Mar 15, 2:38 am, a... at (Alex Martelli) wrote:
> BartlebyScrivener <rpdool... at> wrote:
> > On Mar 14, 3:50 pm, a... at (Aahz) wrote:
> > > Some people prefer shorter books -- Python for Dummies (for new
> > > programmers) and Python in a Nutshell (for experienced programmers) both
> > > try to give a thorough survey of Python while keeping the book easy to
> > > carry.
> Not for me to comment about my own books, but I can second your
> recommendation for your "for Dummies" for beginners.

Python in a Nutshell is a favourite of mine; highly recommended.
(However, I do not have the newer version ... yet!)
> > And other people like lots of examples and code organized around
> > practical projects a person might like to accomplish using Python. The
> > Python Cookbook 2nd edition is great for this, and Martelli et al are
> > great writers, as well as great programmers.
So is the Python Cookbook (i.e. highly recommended).

> If you like _substantial_ examples, rather than the simple/short ones
> typically used in manageable-sized books, Hetland's "Practical Python"
> was also a great buy (I believe it's now been replaced by "Beginning
> Python" by the same author, but unfortunately I haven't seen that one).

I have both; Beginning Python (From Novice to Professional) is a
huge improvement over Practical Python and is my number
one recommendation for a book to read from cover to cover.
(For absolute beginners, there is a book by Dawson
which might be better).  However, Beginning Python covers Python 2.5
doesn'te quite fit the requirement of the original poster.
on the grand scheme of things, there are so few differences between
and 2.5 that it should not matter.

I haven't look at Python for Dummies so I can't comment and compare
with other books.

> In general I dislike books that try to teach a language (or other
> technology) via "substantial examples", because the issues with the
> examples may obscure those with the language or technology; e.g.,
> Stroustrup tries that route in "The C++ Programming Language", as Lutz
> does in "Programming Python", and to my taste the results are inferior.
> However, at least in "Practical Python" (can't speak for "Beginning
> Python"), Hetland managed to pull it off -- perhaps by placing the
> substantial programs he develops as successive examples in a clever
> sequence, so that at each step he's not dealing with many diverse new
> issues but just manageably few of them.
> Alex

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