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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2011
Matt clearly knows his Python. He has peppered the book with helpful tips that compelled me to whip out my Python interpreter to experiment. Many of the tips were very handy, even for a semi-experienced Python programmer such as myself.

Matt is pleasingly frank in his recommendations to avoid certain approaches, and after reading the book, I feel like I have a better eye for assessing how "Pythonic" something is. In fact, now that I have finished the book, I can look back on Python code I wrote before reading the book, and critique the heck out of it. Prior to reading this book, my Python code looked a lot like my C++ code, which is just a shame. This book can help inoculate you against such behavior.

The book reads smoothly and quickly. Matt is very careful to keep his explanations succinct and clear, such that you don't feel like you're reading a college text book or a reference manual. Even still, the book does contain a high information density.

If you can already crank out Python list comprehensions and lambda expressions, this is probably not the book for you. If you are an experienced programmer and want to learn Python, this is a fast way to start. If you are a total programming novice, this may be a good way to begin, but I'm not a great judge for this audience.

The current edition has a smattering of typos that I suspect will be corrected in future versions, but they don't impact the book's readability (unless you are a complete Grammar Nazi).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2012
I have written small python scripts with the help of Google. I always felt that I had to look up too much online to write a simple script. This book explained a lot of basic things about Python clearly and also some neat tips and tricks. It also gives a hint of what to study after you finish the book. I really like this book. I definitely learned a few new things from this book along with clear understanding of Python basics.

Note: It doesn't cover advanced topics like generators and list comprehension.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2012
I have been telling myself I need to learn Python for about two years, but just never got started for one reason or another. I bought this book for Kindle on a whim while on a trip, read it on the plane back home and on my layover, trying the code on my laptop, and wrote a couple of useful scripts the next morning.

I'm not saying it'll take you from 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds, but in my case, the style of the book exactly fit my learning style; that is, the use of simple, short code segments directly in the interpreter, plus frequent reminders of Python's help functions and dir(object) usage to discover new functionality, got me going where other sources haven't. I won't be writing anything earth-shattering any time soon, but I'm already scripting some easy parsing, carving and decoding/conversion tasks that I had to do by hand before.

I could think of at least 7 worse ways to spend nine bucks.

On a side note: this book focuses on Python2, but I used Python3 and had very few issues.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Treading on Python Volume1: Foundations of Python by Matt Harrison is a very good primer on Python. The author did a very good job on distilling the key aspects of the language in a succinct manner.

The author provided excellent code snippets and tips on "the python way of doing things". I could tell that the author is a practitioner with real world experience based on the snippets that he provided. For instance, the author discussed the enumerate function which makes the combination of range and len unnecessary. He explained why using the enumerate function is a better way of iterating through a sequence.

I would recommend this book to any person with some programming experience. The reason for 4 stars is that I wished the author would've had more exercises throughout the book to ensure that the reader understands the material.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2013
I was the technical editor for "Treading on Python". There are two things that are great about this book. First, Matt Harrison's a really good Python programmer, and his writing is very crisp. Secondly, the book is really short! It's weighs in at a mere 183 pages. It's definitely worth a shot if you're new to Python, and you want a quick intro!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 9, 2014
I really just want to get started with Python. Coming from several years of experience with Perl, I just wanted something that would enable me to learn the basics so I could read and comprehend the Python documentation or other sources online. I actually own several Python books, but was always frustrated to have to scour through too many Monty Python jokes or endless rambling about how Python is supposedly 'easy' as there is less typing and punctuation that makes the code easier to read and Python works 'out of the box'.

Baloney. Python has its ugly warts, there are multiple ways to do things, and, what seems to me, an almost endless array of module imports to facilitate even simplistic Python functions. I really want to take advantage of some of the great capabilities of Python, but slogging through Python books has really been dreadful.

Matt Harrison gets it, admits there are undeniable flaws and schisms in Python, and guides you through it in short and to the point examples. I bought both Kindle and paperback editions to always have at the ready for continuing to learn to code in Python.

My only complaint is in regards to a few sections that need some editing for content and wording, but overall this is not a bad reference.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2013
I'm about halfway through this book, but I have to say I am really enjoying it compared to other Python books. It is written in a way that I feel helps you transition from another language. When I'm done with this one I plan on buying the other volumes in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2012
Very good for a beginner, I really enjoyed and I have a bunch of python books that are too big or too advanced. The only glaring omission for an get started book was he seemed to cover all the basics but totally left out while loops, like they don't exist. But overall very clearly written and short enough to get through. Great little book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2014
5 stars++

Last time I was using Python when Lutz's book Learning Python had only 300 pages. For whatever reasons, I have to return to Python right now. I have discovered that the same book today has 1600 pages.

No, thank you. "Teach yourself Python fast in just 1600 pages" has no sense. Last edition of C++ standard has less pages. Last edition of Ada Rationale has less pages. Both books together have less pages.

Fortunately, I discovered Harrison's books. I purchased all of them, both Kindle and paper. Just few days later I was on track.

Harrison's presentation is just right. Short and clear. There is no 50 pages about the Zen and philosophy of using if-then-else construct. Just facts

The only complain I have is the quality of binding (paper edition). You cannot put book flat. I went to Kinko. asked to cut the binding and put the book in spiral binder.

Recommended for everybody who wants to learn Python quickly and without pain. And to learn that Python is actually SMALL language. When I say PYTHON, I say the LANGUAGE. Libraries are not discussed.

The above comments apply to ALL Harrison's books about Python
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on August 4, 2015
Here's 3 things you ought to consider before buying this book as an audiobook:

1) It's about a dated version of Python, i.e. Python 2. It's awkward the author made this decision back in 2011 when Python 3 already existed. I can't call it anything else but irresponsible to publish the same text as audiobook in 2015!

2) The text doesn't work as audiobook. It contains LOTS AND LOTS of code, read out loud for you, which makes for a frustrating listening experience. An audiobook adaptation should minimize the code content and focus on other ways of educating the listener.

3) This book is not for the beginner. It's for someone who already knows a lot about coding in other languages. In many occasions the book assumes the listener is familiar with many concepts it doesn't explain.

All in all, it seems that publishing this one as audiobook was done by other reasons than the benefit of the listener. I've listened to dozens of audiobooks, and I think this is only the second ever that I wasn't able to listen till the end. It became obvious very fast that this book wouldn't be worth it.
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