Learning Python, 5th Edition Fifth Edition
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About the Author
Mark Lutz is a leading Python trainer, the author of Python’s earliest and best-selling texts, and a pioneering figure in the Python world.
Mark is the author of the three O’Reilly books: Learning Python, Programming Python, and Python Pocket Reference, all currently in fourth or fifth editions. He has been using and promoting Python since 1992, started writing Python books in 1995, and began teaching Python classes in 1997. As of Spring 2013, Mark has instructed 260 Python training sessions, taught roughly 4,000 students in live classes, and written Python books that have sold 400,000 units and been translated to at least a dozen languages.
Together, his two decades of Python efforts have helped to establish it as one of the most widely used programming languages in the world today. In addition, Mark has been in the software field for 30 years. He holds BS and MS degrees in computer science from the University of Wisconsin where he explored implementations of the Prolog language, and over his career has worked as a professional software developer on compilers, programming tools, scripting applications, and assorted client/server systems.
Mark maintains a training website (http://learning-python.com) and an additional book support site on the Web (http://www.rmi.net/~lutz).
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Until I met Python.
It was love at first sight the moment I saw its syntax. It was like reading English. I felt like New in the Matrix. So I started watching tutorials on YouTube, taking courses on Udemy, and Lynda.com, but none of them provided insightful information about the ins and outs of Python; you know, like 'the devil's in the details' kind of stuff. (Sure there are some programmers who create video tutorials on YouTube but they cover only small parts of Python programming in depth and many of them left me wanting more.
That's until I decided to google 'Best Python books'.
I found many videos that were talking about Python Crash Course, and Python the Hard Way being better than this book, but just the fact that this is a 1600 page book left me curious.
I gave it a try, and oh boy was I right.
This book doesn't let you go to the next page without explaining in details what a particular concept means. And if it doesn't clarify it right on the spot, it lets you know that it will be covered on another chapter (sometimes I skipped the chapter to see if it was right -it was).
I'm only on page 98 and can tell you that I have learned more by reading this book than what I've learned by watching video tutorials.
Don't get me wrong. Video tutorials are fun, and many people learn from them. For instance, I've learned how to create an authentication webapp using Django. No book required.
If you are a true beginner, buy this book. Don't be afraid about being 'old' and not having studied Computer Science. This book teaches you a lot of concept in a fun, user-friendly way.
I'm planning on buying the other books that follow this one. (I wish the author be writing a 6th edition of this book, since we're moving to Python 3.7 now. Then, I'll buy two Django books. And then I'll start digging into tutorials to create my portfolio; the Django way.
First of all, I've read many of the other well reviewed, up-to-date, Python books (yes, all of them were shorter), and being new to Python, I ended up spending most of my time searching online trying to fill in the gaps that the other authors failed to fill in. With this book you don't need to reference anything else because the author does a great job of answering every question. You can tell he's dedicated his life to teaching Python and knows what problems his readers will run into.
While this books is long, it doesn't feel long. It's not just page after page of code samples. Each concept comes with a few code samples and is followed up by very well-written, clear explanations so it's actually a fairly quick read (for a 1600 page book). Does he repeat himself as other reviewers have noted? Yes, but it feels like when he does it's purposeful.
Even though you often hear that Python is easy to learn, it's an incredibly deep language that requires time and effort. I believe that by having read this book that I'm starting out far ahead of other new Python programmers, I appreciate the language even more and I'm very comfortable even with Python's advanced topics.
"advanced concepts" book. All in one. My biggest gripe is that you need to read about the first 300+ pages in order to have enough information to be able to write your first "real" program. This is primarily due to the fact that many introductory chapters also contain some advanced topics and show the differences between Python 2.x and 3.x.
Top international reviews
To tell you the truth, I probably wouldn't recommend the book as a person's first programming book, or, for that matter, their first Python book. The sheer density of the text will probably put a lot of first programmers off. However, for those who wish to master the basics of the language, and learn some tools easily transferable to other languages, no book compares. As other reviews have said, Lutz does tend to repeat himself quite a bit, but I think that repetition is pretty necessary to make concepts stick. I'm currently on page 568, I've been coding in Python for about 7 years, and this book seems to teach me something new every time I turn the page.
Highly, highly recommend. Incredible book, incredible author. Just don't make it your first.
- Very in-depth for 2.x and 3.x, really like how the author tackles subjects.
- Clear examples and goes in depth in all of them.
- So full of information that I feel I learn more than expected.
- Excellent as a reference as well.
- Excellent to learn how things really work in python, not a tutorial, not a simple guy, an in-depth killer book.
- Good set of quiz questions and also exercises.
- Good value for money.
- Can be slightly dense.
- Some things are not extremely necessary and going too in-depth can cause the reader to think "when are we writing some code? c'mon".
Buy it, have it on your desk.
Upon reading it, you'll see that much of the size comes from repetition. Many of the chapters present alternative ways to do the same thing, often using this technique as an explanatory device; yet somehow, the author manages the doublethink of continually repeating the Python "There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it" mantra.
The order in which the material is presented is wrong. The book explains Python's basic types before its syntax; this means it's 300 pages in before you can actually start writing code that does anything. It's 473 pages in before the concept of a function is introduced; even if this text was written for those who had done no previous programming at all, this seems bizarre. Obviously the sections on types have to talk a little bit about syntax and functions (otherwise you wouldn't be able to say anything about what those types actually do in the first few chapters), which is yet again a recipe for repetition.
Exercises are few and far between. There are "quizzes" at the end of each chapter, but they're very simple, knowledge-based questions which don't require you to write code. Programming is learned by doing, so you'll need to invent your own projects to do if you want to learn with this book.
If you can ignore the structural defects, the book is beautifully written at the detailed level, and the code examples are of a high standard. It is highly readable - you won't need to continually re-read to understand what's going on - but the repetition means you will find yourself skimming or skipping large sections of the text.
The book is a broad overview of a vast language; it is not a detailed API reference, and doesn't have examples of every possible API call. And neither should it be; all that stuff is online. It does explain the concepts well and give you an insight into why Python has evolved to be the way it is. However, if you're an experienced programmer looking for a quick way to break into the Python world, you might want to look for something a little more concise.
I may return to it now and then, but I'd have to be in the mood.
The author would have done well to instead look at something like "learning Perl", which gives you everything you need in a fraction of the pages and time while doing so with style and aplomb. I think there is a balance that could/should be struck.
Overall, it clear a lot of work and passion went into this, it's just not very "consumable" , in my view.
But if you were looking to learn a programming language, to understand programming or to learn by doing, this is not the book for you. It would be better titled "Become a Python Expert"!
I've studied the first 300 pages and have decided to look for something a bit more practical and snappy!
Lot of people see the size of the book as the downside, and I have to say it is depressing, but on the other hand I think see that as a benefit because book cover everything beginner need to learn to start to do some real quality programming, and I don't have to search for another sources. Anyway I don't think programming can be learned in one week after reading a 300 pages book, and shorter books don't cover this many topics.
There is a lot of repetiton in the book which for me personally is not bad because I see them as a reminders and if the topic is something I feel I really understand I simply skip it.
The only thing I don't like is that book's code which can be downloaded from publishers website is a complete unorganised mess, and poorly referenced in the book. So most of the time when I want I can't find the example code there, which make it completely useless.
So, if you have time and want to learn Python I recommend this book, but if you have a short deadline or you don't have a lot of patients you should definitely skip it.
Creo que este libro es perfecto para quien sepa programar en Python pero quiera abordar el tema en algo de profundidad. Pasar del punto meramente práctico, tapar lagunas y entender lo que se está haciendo realmente: por qué la sintaxis es una manera y no otra, qué hace Python cuando lee tu código, etc. También puede ser útil para quien esté aprendiendo con un profesor y quiera expandir lo que va dando en clase.
Pero este libro definitivamente no es para una persona que no tenga ni idea de Python y quiera aprender por su cuenta. En teoría podría servir, cubre todo desde lo básico, pero lo más probable es que no llegues a la página 200. Sencillamente tarda demasiado en arrancar (sé lo que digo, en el momento de escribir estas líneas he leído aproximadamente medio libro).
También es importante mencionar que este libro no cubre ninguna librería que no sea estándar, y por tanto deja fuera cosas como Numpy, Scikit Learn, etc. Para eso hay otros libros de todas formas. Este es un libro sobre Python base estrictamente.
Así que dependiendo de tu perfil este puede ser un gran libro o una pésima compra. Por eso he hecho esta pequeña review. Ojalá sea útil.
PD: Vamos por Python 3.6 y los cambios no afectan prácticamente en nada a este libro y en todo caso en la página web del autor hay actualizaciones de lo poco que cambia.
For these reasons, a smaller and more relevant book would be best for most people, I think.
It is based on lectures given by the author and feedback from the students. I am proceeding by leaps and bounds and find the code examples excellent. One can, of course, skip any which one does not need to do.
I read it on the train to work (despite its size) and find it possible to practise the exercises when I get home. Python is simpler to learn than C or C++ and the structure of the objects is natural. If only I'd structured my exam question as clearly!
That being said its detail is good, but wouldn't recommend it for learning python(great reference though, although bit gutted it costs so much)
The author states that this is not a reference book but a book on understanding the workings of Python.