Programming Books C Java PHP Python Learn more Browse Programming Books
Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner, Third Edition and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player


Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering
Sell Us Your Item
For a $7.23 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner, Third Edition on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner, 3rd Edition [Paperback]

by Michael Dawson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)

Buy New
$20.29 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
In Stock.
Rented by RentU and Fulfilled by Amazon.
Want it Friday, April 25? Choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition --  
Paperback $20.29  
Sell Us Your Books
Get up to 80% back when you sell us your books, even if you didn't buy them at Amazon. Learn more

Book Description

January 1, 2010 1435455002 978-1435455009 3rd
If you are new to programming with Python and are looking for a solid introduction, this is the book for you. Developed by computer science instructors, books in the "for the absolute beginner" series teach the principles of programming through simple game creation. You will acquire the skills that you need for practical Python programming applications and will learn how these skills can be put to use in real-world scenarios. Throughout the chapters, you will find code samples that illustrate concepts presented. At the end of each chapter, you will find a complete game that demonstrates the key ideas in the chapter, a summary of the chapter, and a set of challenges that tests your newfound knowledge. By the time you finish this book, you'll be well versed in Python and be able to apply the basic programming principles you've learned to the next programming language you tackle.

Frequently Bought Together

Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner, 3rd Edition + Python In A Day: Learn The Basics, Learn It Quick, Start Coding Fast (In A Day Books) (Volume 1) + Learning Python, 5th Edition
Price for all three: $69.88

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews Review


From the Publisher

  • Perfect for the beginning programmer who wants to learn Python--a powerful, flexible, and concise programming language.

  • Each new concept is taught using a simple example program, and an end-of-chapter project ties together all of the concepts learned.

  • Each end-of-chapter project is game-based, making programming fun and accessible.

  • The accompanying website contains all of the software needed to write and run the programs in the book.


Introduction. 1. Getting Started: The Game Over Program. 2. Types, Variables, and Simple I/O: The Useless Trivia Program. 3. Branching, while Loops, and Program Planning: The Guess My Number Game. 4. for Loops, Strings, and Tuples: The Word Jumble Game. 5. Lists and Dictionaries: The Hangman Game. 6. Functions: Tic-Tac-Toe. 7. Files and Exceptions: The Trivia Challenge Game. 8. Software Objects: The Critter Caretaker Program. 9. Object-Oriented Programming: The Blackjack Game. 10. GUI Development: The Mad Lib Program.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR; 3rd edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1435455002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1435455009
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Dawson has worked as both a programmer and a computer game designer and producer. In addition to real world game industry experience, Mike earned his bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California. Currently, he teaches game programming in the Game Production Department of the Los Angeles Film School. Mike has also taught game programming to students through UCLA Extension and The Digital Media Academy at Stanford. He's the author of three other books: Beginning C++ through Game Programming, Guide to Programming with Python, and C++

Projects: Programming with Text-Based Games. You can visit his website at to learn more or to get support for any of his books.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow...I am hooked November 28, 2010
By Teresa
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have tried many programming books. I have even taken a programming class or two but it has never really clicked before. There have always been to many jumps from explanation to assumed understanding. I would get lost and things never clicked. Recently I decided to give programming another chance because I believed somewhere in the back of my mind that I should be able to figure this out. I have been a system administrator for years but have never delved into scripting or programming before because I thought maybe I was just never meant to be a programmer. I decided maybe it was just the way I learn. So I decided first to start out with a HeadFirst book. It lost me immediately. The way it was presented in that book definitely didn't click for me. I set back to the task of finding a book and came across this one. This is it. I love the way he goes through the code and then has you run it and then explains what every line of code is doing. This approach has finally made things start making sense. I am even able to figure out the Challenges at the end of the chapter and I am loving it! Thank you Michael Dawson!

On another note...I notice that people are having problems finding the files that go with the book. If you take the link recommended it the book and then go to downloads it is rather confusing, but if you go to the link recommended in the book and then do a search for python and then take the link for this book, another screen will come up that will give you an option to view available downloads. Harder than it needs to be admittedly, but that is how I found them.
Was this review helpful to you?
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine Choice for First Programming Book August 4, 2010
By Sanford
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a beginner with respect to programming, and do not have a particularly technical background: I know almost no math though I know formal logic pretty well. I was interested in learning something about computer programming just for fun and have looked through a number of books about a number of languages. I even spent some time with C before I decided on Python. To an absolute beginner, it seemed a relatively intuitive language without some of the messy detail required by C, for example, about memory allocation. I chose this book simply because it looked fun and very clear. Each chapter focuses on tools needed to create games. I do not have any interest at all in playing computer games of any kind, but it is a relatively painless way to learn Python. I also found the exercises at the end of each chapter very good. They are hard enough but not too hard. They generally required a fair amount of time and effort, but I was able to finally figure out all of them. This is important since I am doing this on my own.

The Cons: The book aims to be simple and brief, but sometimes it is too simple and brief. Yes I learned to get the computer to do this or that, but I did not fully get some of the concepts. In fact, I think the book moved on to fancy stuff like graphics before I got down all I needed of the basics such as file control. Perhaps someone who already knew something about programming would have had less trouble. For example, the material on writing to a file stored on the hard drive for future use was fine, as far as it went. But I realized, when trying to write a program of my own, that I did not understand a key point. If you have recorded some data to a file, and then want to revise that data, Python rewrites the entire file. Huh? What about my original data?
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
71 of 78 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Supporting Software Download Not Available. January 14, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is excellent but all the comments before this one apply to previous editions. Those editions included a CD with supporting software and all the programs discussed in the book. This third edition (Jan 1, 2010) asks the book owner to connect to a web site to download the support files. The instructions to do this are incorrect as the book now has a new publisher. Once on the web site, the files cannot be found. A phone call to their customer service was unproductive. "Our editorial staff will contact you by e-mail". Didn't happen.
Was this review helpful to you?
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting thoughts, lack of structure August 4, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Python Programming by Michael Dawson is a very well written book intended to enthuse amateur programmers into the world of video game programming. By the time you finish chapter 12 of this book you will be ready to create your own mini games much similar to games you find on apps on phones and such. For those of you who want this immediate pleasure I have to say, this is the book for you and disregard my poor rating. But for those who really want to get down to the nitty-gritty basics of python and develop a solid understanding of it, this is not the book for you. So if you're a programmer who dreams of being a game developer one day, I say buy this book right away - it's fun. But if you're looking for a more formal approach to programming and aren't necessarily interested in the gaming aspect of Python Programming read on.

Let me tell you why I think this book deserves only 3 stars. A bit of background, I started researching with particle physicists and astronomers at my school and programming python was much required so I decided I wanted a solid understanding of creating basic python scripts. What I ended up getting was a unorganized book that seemed to toss in information only for the soul purpose of creating a game at the end of each chapter. This was very bearable for the first 3-5 chapters but after that I couldn't get through a single chapter without having to scroll through multiple pages to find what a certain thing does because of it's lack of structure. It also lacks direction, it teaches you enough to get through the chapter but doesn't let you spread your wings and become creative with the script, by this I mean that it teaches you the very basics and moves on without getting a bit creative with the code.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Helped me get a programming project for the Mfg Eng Dept done in just...
I needed to replace all of our old file management software that was programmed in a dead programming language called REXX that would no longer run on 64 bit windows 7 systems.
Published 1 month ago by TheWad
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
It help you visualized programming as if you were a game programmer. So it's great for someone
who needs to get his head wrap up around solving problems, even if it's not for... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pascal
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book.
One of the easiest to understand programming books I've ever read. The programs in the book are all games in one way or another. This makes the learning process more fun. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dave Frazier
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but one minor flaw.
This book is extremely well written, it's almost a shame the author is writing about programming. It's very clear, paced very well, it's easy approachable. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ryan McNamara
4.0 out of 5 stars Not really a 'beginners' book
Let me start by saying I have been a programmer for over 30 years. I started with Cobol, PL/I, Assembly and RPG in an IBM 360 environment and self taught myself on Turbo Pascal,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alan L. Bull
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Transaction.
What I have found about using Linux is that it is best to pick one OS and stick with it. This book will guide you through Python enough to get it working quite well. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mack
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Supplement to the Course I was taking
It clearly goes through each subject and shows how to use the techniques in real aspects of programing! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kyle Denis
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but had some drawbacks
This was my third "go" at trying to grasp Python. The first was via an online tutorial, the second was from a different book that I had borrowed. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Gene A. Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Very good easy to learn, a good read, lack only part of the database connection and socket, Examples could be more complex.
Published 4 months ago by reinaldo mateus rossetti junior
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book to learn Python!
This is the best book I have used to learn Python (and I tried 5 other good books too).
The author teaches Python by developing command-line based games (and GUI games in... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jmaster
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews


Topic From this Discussion
lost CD
Downloads (for the 3rd edition anyway) are here:
May 10, 2010 by Brian LaShomb |  See all 2 posts
Have something you'd like to share about this product?
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for Similar Items by Category