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Head First Python: A Brain-Friendly Guide 2nd Edition
Explore your book, then jump right back to where you left off with Page Flip.
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Want to learn the Python language without slogging your way through how to manuals? With Head First Python, you’ll quickly grasp Python’s fundamentals, working with the built in data structures and functions. Then you’ll move on to building your very own webapp, exploring database management, exception handling, and data wrangling. If you’re intrigued by what you can do with context managers, decorators, comprehensions, and generators, it’s all here. This second edition is a complete learning experience that will help you become a bonafide Python programmer in no time.
Why does this book look so different? Based on the latest research in cognitive science and learning theory, Head First Pythonuses a visually rich format to engage your mind, rather than a text heavy approach that puts you to sleep. Why waste your time struggling with new concepts? This multi sensory learning experience is designed for the way your brain really works.
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About 'Head First' Books
We think of a Head First Reader as a Learner
Learning isn't something that just happens to you. It's something you do. You can't learn without pumping some neurons. Learning means building more mental pathways, bridging connections between new and pre-existing knowledge, recognizing patterns, and turning facts and information into knowledge (and ultimately, wisdom). Based on the latest research in cognitive science, neurobiology, and educational psychology, Head First books get your brain into learning mode.
Here's how we help you do that:
We tell stories using casual language, instead of lecturing. We don't take ourselves too seriously. Which would you pay more attention to: a stimulating dinner party companion, or a lecture?
We make it visual. Images are far more memorable than words alone, and make learning much more effective. They also make things more fun.
We use attention-grabbing tactics. Learning a new, tough, technical topic doesn't have to be boring. The graphics are often surprising, oversized, humorous, sarcastic, or edgy. The page layout is dynamic: no two pages are the same, and each one has a mix of text and images.
Metacognition: thinking about thinking
If you really want to learn, and you want to learn more quickly and more deeply, pay attention to how you pay attention. Think about how you think. The trick is to get your brain to see the new material you're learning as Really Important. Crucial to your well-being. Otherwise, you're in for a constant battle, with your brain doing its best to keep the new content from sticking.
If you answer 'yes' to all of these, this book is for you
- Do you already know how to program in another programming language?
- Do you wish you had the know-how to program Python, add it to your list of tools, and make it do new things?
- Do you prefer actually doing things and applying the stuff you learn over listening to someone in a lecture rattle on for hours on end?
Here's what we do:
We use pictures, because your brain is tuned for visuals, not text. As far as your brain's concerned, a picture really is worth a thousand words. And when text and pictures work together, we embedded the text in the pictures because your brain works more effectively when the text is within the thing the text refers to, as opposed to in a caption or buried in the text somewhere.
We use redundancy, saying the same thing in different ways and with different media types, and multiple senses, to increase the chance that the content gets coded into more than one area of your brain.
We use concepts and pictures in unexpected ways because your brain is tuned for novelty, and we use pictures and ideas with at least some emotional content, because your brain is more likely to remember when you feel something.
We use a personalized, conversational style, because your brain is tuned to pay more attention when it believes you're in a conversation than if it thinks you're passively listening to a presentation.
We include many activities, because your brain is tuned to learn and remember more when you do things than when you read about things. And we make the exercises challenging-yet-do-able, because that's what most people prefer.
We use multiple learning styles, because you might prefer step-by-step procedures, while someone else wants to understand the big picture first, and someone else just wants to see an example. But regardless of your own learning preference, everyone benefits from seeing the same content represented in multiple ways.
We include content for both sides of your brain, because the more of your brain you engage, the more likely you are to learn and remember, and the longer you can stay focused. Since working one side of the brain often means giving the other side a chance to rest, you can be more productive at learning for a longer period of time.
We include challenges by asking questions that don't always have a straight answer, because your brain is tuned to learn and remember when it has to work at something.
Finally, we use people in our stories, examples, and pictures, because, well, you're a person. Your brain pays more attention to people than to things.
About the Author
- Publisher : O'Reilly Media; 2nd edition (December 27, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 622 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1491919531
- ISBN-13 : 978-1491919538
- Item Weight : 2.7 pounds
- Dimensions : 8 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #119,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on March 8, 2022
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Before getting this book, I had picked up a copy of "Automate the Boring Stuff With Python" and "Python for Data Analysis". Both books do a solid job of introducing you to the areas of interest, but neither do a very good job of teaching a novice like myself how to start programming in Python (in my humble opinion). In those two books, I would struggle to get through the end-of-chapter test programs, because they required a lot of information that either wasn't addressed, or wasn't discussed until later in the book.
That's where this book comes in. The explanations are intuitive, easy to follow, and the topics are covered in a way that facilitates (successful) user experimentation. Right now, I'm using all three books in tandem and things are starting to click and my code is starting to work with a lot less Googling and a little more tinkering on my part. Head First Python is a pretty quick read because of all of the graphics and generous spacing. Although I tend to prefer a sense of order, the cartoonish-looking page layouts really do aid the learning process. I believe that there is a psychological effect experienced by some people, wherein turning a page imparts a sense of progress. You will certainly turn a lot of pages quickly when reading this book, because of the layouts. This may give some people the fuel to keep going for longer stretches than they would if they were reading 50-page chapters of dense, verbose material.
At the end of the day, I highly recommend this book, especially if you want to supplement it with something that pushes you a little more toward a specific application of Python. In my spare time over the last three weeks, I've cleared about 200 pages of each of the 3 books and I've written around 20 or 30 little programs (on top of dozens of hours in the iPython shell). By the end of week 4, I expect to start producing code for some of my medium-scope projects, and I'll continue to build on it as I learn.
By TYanna Morrison on March 7, 2022
Top reviews from other countries
I will say this - do not attempt to read the kindle version - not available in UK anyways. The book uses various visual tools to enhance stickiness of what it teaches. There are "snippets" - hand-written-note-style text and all, which is impossible to read on a kindle. Perhaps you can if you are using an iPad to read kindle book. But still not as functional as the actual book, which makes me feel like I am back in college. It's a good feeling to have in mid-30s.
Content wise, absolutely top notch for a beginner.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 13, 2020