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Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner, 3rd Edition Paperback – January 1, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1435455009 ISBN-10: 1435455002 Edition: 3rd

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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.
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Product Details

  • Series: For the Absolute Beginner
  • Paperback: 455 pages
  • Publisher: Course Technology; 3rd edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1435455002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1435455009
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,315 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 four 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

Very easy read and very well written.
S. Hansen
This book will guide you through Python enough to get it working quite well.
Python is a great language to learn programming on.
Shawn C. Gross

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Teresa on November 28, 2010
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.
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Sanford on August 4, 2010
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?
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82 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Richard Wanat on 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.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By CutzmanX on August 4, 2011
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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.
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Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner, 3rd Edition
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