[Tutor] self-learning Python

Lowell Tackett lowelltackett at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 9 17:00:16 CET 2008

Julia <midnightjulia at gmail.com> wrote: Emad Nawfal wrote:
 > On Sun, Mar 9, 2008 at 8:16 AM, Julia <midnightjulia at gmail.com
 > <mailto:midnightjulia at gmail.com>> wrote:
 >     To be honest I truly dislike the Dawson book. I wouldn't recommend
 >     it to anyone. It's lacks technical clarity, examples and has a messy
 >     index. I'm going to sell my example asap.
 I'm not sure what kind of clarity you want. To be sure Dawson is not
 nearly as precise and comprehensive as Learning Python, for example, but
 I think the more casual approach is better for a complete beginner.
 ISTM Dawson is written almost entirely as a series of extended examples,
 I'm really surprised that you say it lacks examples.
Yes, Dawson uses few examples. His examples might be extensive but there are still few examples. Compare the number of examples in Dawson book to the (in my opinion better) Beginning Python by Norton (Wrox). 
  The problem is that if you want to know how to use one specific technique then Dawsons great big examples are of limited use. In a book like Beginning Python I can find the same technique isolated and therefore better understand it.

   When I was a complete beginner I preferred Beginning Python over Dawson and I still do (I'm still a beginner). But that might just me be me :)

There's an essential (in my opinion) principle of learning programming that doesn't seem to have made its' way into this conversation.  I'll preface my thoughts by saying that in-again, my opinion- Michael Dawson's book, Python Programming for the absolute beginner is more than a book...it's a hallowed tome.  A lot of learning is not only absorbing stuff, but what I call (and I'm certain it didn't originate with me) "finger time".  That's simply spending time at the keyboard and vicariously interacting.  Things will come to you, but it needs hours and hours of fairly productive interaction.  Mr. Dawson's book provides that cycle of, 'do...feedback...oh, yea!' like nothing else available.

Of course, a person is gonna need to jump away and do independent stuff.  But this book provides concrete milestones from which to jump and apply concepts to independently thought up projects.

That, after having used Mr. Dawson's book, and appreciating the solid grounding it provided me, is my humble opinion.

Lowell T.

Tutor maillist  -  Tutor at python.org

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