Top positive review
Workbooks are great learning tools
on May 23, 2012
The vast majority of computer language texts are textbooks, designed to "cover the material": what are the basic component parts, and the various tricks you can do with those parts, as well as pitfalls of those tricks, then more advanced topics involving looping, maybe O/O principles where appropriate...
I personally don't learn well from that kind of text. See, people who already program at an advanced level are already perfectly used to telling computers how to solve a problem. But first, a person needs to get used to asking computers to do things.
Thus, you need a workbook integrated with your textbook. The more exercises a book commands you to do with what you've just learned, the better you'll internalize how it feels to do programming.
This is not the best introductory workbook I've encountered (that would be an old edition of Learning Perl). But for learning Ruby, specifically, after years away from the world of programming, this was the only book that made sense out of how to use Ruby to tell the computer what I want. (I read several chapters deep into three other well-reviewed textbook-style intros before seeking out this one.)