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Learn Python the Hard Way: A Very Simple Introduction to the Terrifyingly Beautiful World of Computers and Code (Zed Shaw's Hard Way Series) [Kindle Edition]

Zed A. Shaw
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £24.99
Kindle Price: £11.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

You Will Learn Python!


Zed Shaw has perfected the world's best system for learning Python. Follow it and you will succeed-just like the hundreds of thousands of beginners Zed has taught to date! You bring the discipline, commitment, and persistence; the author supplies everything else.


In Learn Python the Hard Way, Third Edition, you'll learn Python by working through 52 brilliantly crafted exercises. Read them. Type their code precisely. (No copying and pasting!) Fix your mistakes. Watch the programs run. As you do, you'll learn how software works; what good programs look like; how to read, write, and think about code; and how to find and fix your mistakes using tricks professional programmers use. Most importantly, you'll learn the following, which you need to start writing excellent Python software of your own:

  • Installing a complete Python environment
  • Organizing and writing code
  • Basic mathematics
  • Variables
  • Strings and text
  • Interacting with users
  • Working with files
  • Looping and logic
  • Data structures using lists and dictionaries
  • Program design
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Inheritance and composition
  • Modules, classes, and objects
  • Python packaging
  • Debugging
  • Automated testing
  • Basic game development
  • Basic web development

It'll be hard at first. But soon, you'll just get it-and that will feel great!


This tutorial will reward you for every minute you put into it. Soon, you'll know one of the world's most powerful, popular programming languages. You'll be a Python programmer.


Watch Zed, too! The accompanying DVD contains 5+ hours of passionate, powerful teaching: a complete Python video course!

Product Description

About the Author

Zed A. Shaw is the author of the popular online books Learn Python the Hard Way, Learn Ruby the Hard Way, and Learn C the Hard Way. He is also the creator of several open source software projects like Mongrel, Lamson, Mongrel2, and has been programming and writing for nearly 20 years.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 23729 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 3 edition (27 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FGUS948
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #88,708 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn by doing 16 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is totally different from other programming books. Firstly you're not introduced to terms, instead you're drilled in "how to code". So if you're scared of coding - this is an amazingly fast way to learn.

If you use Windows, you'll be made to code in notepad++ and the windows powershell terminal.
It forces you to code by hand - and to run the program from the terminal.

Exercise 3 introduces numbers and maths. The trick to understanding the code here is to know BODMAS - the order of precedence. Python does Brackets first, Orders next, Division third, Multiply fourth, then Add and Subtract. This is stuff you learnt at school.. but he makes you revisit it and puzzle it out all over again.

The book is like an army drill sergeant... which is a great way to learn. No waffle allowed, by order of the boss.
The exercises are clear, precise and a dramatic improvement on other coding books, which are a bit of a nightmare to be honest.

I'll be buying more books from Zed, it's rare to find an author that can teach coding with ease. You'll achieve coding with this book, even if you've failed several times before.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh new approach to programming 4 Jan. 2015
By Hom
this book is an absolute must for beginner python programmers. Its gets you to code straight away and keeps you on your toes. Its different to some of the other books I have read in that it doesn't go through the theory in depth, its a much more practical approach and makes learning fun. I hope the author writes one for Java because I want to learn that next. I noticed a review below where someone says the author talks to you like your an idiot (the author sounds a bit like an army general in the book), I think this is unfair because Zed Shaw does explain this at the beginning and explicitly say this tone is because the book is aimed for absolute beginners who have no programming knowledge. The author also makes you go away and research a lot of things online, I like this approach because I have been told this is how programmers are trained. Whenever I ask questions on programming forums like stackoverflow I am told to go and read the python documentation, so thats the nature of the game. I think the author tries to embed this habit in the reader from the beginning. I am about half way through and really enjoying it!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars its brilliant. 10 Sept. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very approachable, if not a touch patronising in places. I think if you ignore that and consider its intended audience, its brilliant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for learning 25 Jun. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you are thinking of learning python, then this book it ideal. As the title says, it teaches you the best way, by actually typing code in, You feel a sense of achievement each time you finish each section. I am currently half way through, and already I feel if I have learned some much already.....
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Not great really, firstly I personally found that the guy has a very "acquired taste" and I found myself getting quite frustrated with his attitude at times. Secondly, as a complete beginner in Python, I would rather somebody hold my hand until I start to "get it". The problem is, the first few exercises are fine, I understood them, but the moment you don't, and something makes no sense, he just tells you to "Google it" which lets be honest, you could get any old person telling you one thing, and any old person telling you another thing, (and I found that to be the case) when your starting out the Python documentation doesn't help explain things either.

At the end of the day the book is called "Learn Python the Hard Way" and he certainly made it far to hard for me, I'm going to go look for a book that will actually explain "why this does this, and that does that"! I don't recommend it, unless you want to get a head for some of the more basic stuff, and how to set up python etc on your computer. But if thats the case just go look at the online version of the book!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book 28 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is really good and worth getting. The chapters are well paced where you can do one a day ( or rather my 11 year old son did). About half way through he suddenly he throws open ended projects and says to take a week doing it. This almost put the brakes on his progress and he would have completely stopped had I not been mentoring him. What I am trying to say is that some of the later projects could be more defined so that the target audience knows when they are finished or how much they have to do.

I would also say that some of the lists he says to memorise by rote are better off being understood. Eg. bolean expressions: ( true and true = true, true and false = false....)

There is method to his teaching madness in most places (such as asking you to build a program and then explains what it does afterwards)
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4.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book to anyone 5 Sept. 2015
By Taylor
Unlike some learning to program books it keeps you interested. You are repeatedly using what you are learnt so you it is imprinted to your brain. A lot of coding books you will learn a function and do one exercise of it and then do another exercise doing something else without having full understanding of the previous function. I recommend this book to anyone...

The only reason this hasn't got 5 stars and I even thought about giving it 3 is that it has no mention that it is using an older version of Python. The awful even knows this and explains why... but decides not to bother clearly declaring it anywhere, so you end up buying it before you know. Because of this I have had to convert the code used from Python 2 to Python 3.

Python 3 code is getting used more and more and eventually Python 2 will be deprecated code.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book, for getting started with programming.
Published 20 days ago by Tim Mu
1.0 out of 5 stars Crap
Arrogant man, acting like he built facebook or something. I suggest beginners to buy 'mike dawsons' introduction to python programming, much better
Published 24 days ago by Mohammed Adam
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to programming with python. Requires more from...
Zed requires you to start with the basics. He walks you through installing Python on your machine. Everything is done with the command line. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Richard D
5.0 out of 5 stars Great material.
If you're new to Python, this is THE book you need to learn Python.
Great material.
Published 2 months ago by GARY GRANT
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to digest
Easy to digest, and a fun read. I am happy with my purchase. It was good value for money.
Published 2 months ago by Mr A.Omorojor
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
The guy who wrote this is a bit of a "character"
Published 3 months ago by Dr John P Cole
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book with great instructions and easy to follow would recommend for anyone wanting to learn Python!
Published 3 months ago by Stu
5.0 out of 5 stars The best beginner's book on Python I've researched
The best beginner's book on Python I've researched. Simple format, drills and exercises and doing as well as preparing the environment around programming covered, essentially for... Read more
Published 4 months ago by the lazuli
1.0 out of 5 stars May well be a good book on Python 2
May well be a good book on Python 2. However I am learning Pythin 3, and nothing in the product description descibed which version it covered.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars ... sure you intend to use Python 2 before purchase good if you intend...
Make sure you intend to use Python 2 before purchase good if you intend to use Python 2
Published 5 months ago by George
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