[Tutor] Book recommendations

Brian van den Broek bvande at po-box.mcgill.ca
Thu Apr 29 11:14:31 EDT 2004

scarab at transwitch.co.za said unto the world upon 29/04/2004 06:01:
> can anyone suggest good/great python newbie books? i use to own Alan 
> Gauld's excellent book, but i'm also looking for others.
> many thanks!
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For the true newbie, I thought Think Like a Computer Scientist was very 
good. It's written for high school students and thus starts slow. Full 
text is free at http://www.ibiblio.org/obp/thinkCSpy/

For more detail, the almost-canonical source seems to be Lutz and Ascher's 
Learning Python. http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/lpython2/.

One that I've looked at some is Magnus Lie Hetland's Practical Python. It 
seems to use substantial example programs more than most books I found. It 
thus seems very useful for the "OK, but how do I glue this all together to 
do something non-trivial? sort of question. Hetland's page for his book is 

I found both Hetland's book and Learning Python available on-line, but 
this was through services that my uni library subscribes to.

None of these 3 books are very well suited to looking things up in a 
hurry. For that, Python in a Nutshell -- 

Last, for the "batteries", Fredrik Lundh's Python Standard Library is 
available in print http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/pythonsl/ or in a 
different (and downloadable) edition from Lundh himself at 

Whichever way you go, Magnus Lycka's advice to use the interactive 
interpreter as you read is spot on. (The archives of tutor have more than 
one example-post from me demonstrating the shortfalls of trying to learn 
by book alone.)

Hope these are of use.


Brian vdB

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