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4.4 out of 5 stars14
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 4 September 2009
When I bought this book, I noticed there were eight reviews on Amazon, all of them giving it five stars. I thought at the time this was too good to be true, and so it proved. The book is full of errors.

Some of the errors are merely an irritating distraction. For instance, on pages 14 and 17, there are headings with three superfluous thorn characters, "þþþ". Some are simply baffling, like the distinction between the 2-parameter full syntax of the range() function on page 301 and the 2-parameter abbreviated syntax on page 302. Some are more serious. For example, page 81 has what purports to be a discussion of Example 3.1 on the facing page; unfortunately, much of the discussion concerns the use of the os.linesep attribute, which doesn't appear anywhere in the example.

Those errors could be forgiven; others are unacceptable. As a newcomer to Python, I struggled with the eval() example on page 104. The preamble suggests that it is an example of the use of repr(), when it isn't - it uses backquotes. Granted, we've just been told the two are equivalent, but there's no need to complicate what should be a straightforward illustration. But that's not all; the point of the example is to show that some values passed to eval() will return an "invalid syntax" error. Unfortunately, the "invalid syntax" error demonstrated is not the one intended; it arises from an extra parenthesis in the code.

The most glaring error is that many of the page numbers in the index are wrong. That renders the book almost completely useless as a reference.

A little effort could make the third edition (if there is one) a useful text, but I would not recommend the second edition.
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on 17 July 2008
I learned Python basics thanks to this book. It is divided in two parts. In the first one, all the foundations of the language are clearly explained, whereas in the second one more andvanced stuff and applications are presented. Thanks to the many small scripts and examples, which you can try out on the fly, you can master all the basic syntax very quickly. Highly recommended reading for newcomers, it makes you appreciate the beauty of programming in Python.
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on 19 March 2008
I got this book as a Christmas present (Christmas 2007) as I had been curious about Python for some time. I found the book really interesting and helpful and have read the book from chapter to chapter, beginning to end as I found the book that interesting. I found the book can be used either just purely as a reference as well as an interesting read. The book covers all of the core basic Python programming skills needed to use Python confidently with really good examples along the way so you can quickly get into Python scripting. The author covers advanced / additional topics such as regular expressions, widgets, socket programming among others if you're interested in learning further, again with excellent examples. This book is a must for any C/C++ programmers wanting to learn Python.
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on 29 April 2008
I have been very happy with this book as an introduction to Python. The pages are well laid out, the writing is clear and concise, good examples have been chosen to illustrate the features of Python and there are interesting exercises at the end of each chapter to consolidate ones knowledge. Highly recommended.
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on 21 November 2007
The author details information on the language and it's internals in a very clear way. The book never kept me wondering "why is it like this" for too long, most of the time the answer to the question I had been asking myself could be read in the next paragraph or on the next page.

I found useful things in this book that wouldn't be easy to get a hold of on the internet, nowadays that's my number one criterium for a good technology book. Love it!
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on 17 April 2009
I read the previous reviews in which statements like "It brings beginners from no previous programming skills up to being adept programmers" were used and thought this is the book for me. However within 30 pages this assumption was dispelled. No doubt Chun has written a very comprehensive tome on Python, but even he says that "This book is meant for you if you are a programmer completely new to Python..." not as some reviews stated above. Hence do not buy this book, if like me your last programming experience was on a BBC computer using BASIC over 15 years ago. Why a curate's egg? Because it does introduce the basics of Python, but then refers to user-level threading libraries or using examples in which jargon obscures the purpose of the example. I'll keep on with this and let you know how it goes.
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on 13 May 2009
I bought this book while on holiday, i'm from a Perl / Java / *nix background and I found this book excellent. I'd recommed it to anyone looking to try Python out, and its been an invaluable reference ever since. I couldn't be parted from this great book! I was so impressed with Wesley Chun's writing style, i'm about to buy his (co-authored) Django book.
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on 12 July 2010
Wesley Chun has written an excellent book, which is useful as both an introduction to the language, and as a reference.
The style is easy to understand, concepts are explained clearly, and there are many examples to illustrate the ideas.
Well worth the money.
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on 4 October 2011
A reasonable book; Although I have mastered several programming languages, I needed to learn Python, as I wanted to some fairly complicated mathematical analysis; Having retired and lost access to Matlab, and found Octave too slow to be practical I decided to use Numpy, and Scipy within Python. The book covers all of the basics, although to be honest now I have got started, I find myself spending more time on web based tutorials than delving into the book.
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on 30 January 2016
Quiet a big book, but if you're like me and are interested in practical details (not abstract concepts that aren't put into practice) then get this book! for a more light read get Think Python.
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