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on 24 October 2017
honestly, if you’re wanting to learn python, i wouldn’t recommend this book. i’m not saying this is a bad book, but i don’t think it’s what you should use to be learning in 2017-2018. This book is written in Python 2, which isn’t hugely different from Python 3, but it isn’t worth getting confused while you’re trying to understand things. Although there are Python 3 equivalents in the book, i think it’s hard enough learning a programming language without getting confused between version 2 and 3.

If you are familiar with python then this book is great, it pushes you to solve your own problems which can be a great way of learning for some people. I definitely recommend trying this book.
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on 18 January 2017
A little bit laborious..
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on 19 November 2017
This book is for anyone who wishes to get started in Python and go far. Just put effort and time into studying and you'll pick up programming easy.
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on 4 November 2017
Great!! A++++
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on 14 October 2017
Informative but not for me. I can see how it would be of benefit to others interested in programming.
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on 1 March 2017
Fantastic book teaching you Python, doesn't hold your hand all the way so teaches you some critical thinking right off the bat.
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on 24 March 2017
I have mixed feelings on this book.

On the one hand, the author's insistence for you to take your time, complete every drill, and strictly avoid copy/paste for each exercise really does pay off. If the lesson on practice and persistence is the only thing I take from this book, then it was worth the read.

Unfortunately it almost IS the only thing I take from this book.

The biggest obstacle to learning Python with this book won't be the subject matter, but the author. Before we even begin, in the preface, he says "read everything as if I’m smiling and I have a mischievous little twinkle in my eye". The problem is, at no stage did I believe Zed A. Shaw was capable of some mischievous and harmless banter. He comes across as insulting, loud, obnoxious and arrogant. I wouldn't be surprised if the editor who read this before publication insisted that this preface line be included, in an attempt to soften the aggressive nature of the author's delivery.

I'm currently studying for a CCNA; the official Cisco course-ware, in all it's dry, boring, matter-of-fact delivery, is far warmer and more endearing than this guy.

As the book progresses, he also increases his reliance on "Google it". I began getting very frustrated by Exercise 39, when he threw in a 'if not/get' line of code that he made absolutely no reference to in the chapter. This exercise is probably one of the longest pieces of code up until that point, and bizarrely has one of the briefest explanations. You would almost think the author doesn't really know what he's talking about himself. As a matter of fact, he says as much after telling you to Google object-orientated programming: "Don’t worry if it makes absolutely no sense to you. Half of that stuff makes no sense to me either".

From that point onward it's downhill. I constantly had to Google pieces I didn't understand, and would find explanations for them online in MUCH easier, simpler and less derogatory terms.

I still think this book is worth a read, but be prepared to notice the author more than the subject matter.
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on 7 December 2016
I'm giving this book five stars for one of the reasons some people seem to have not enjoyed it: Zed Shaw has character! I see some merit in the accusations leveled at him that he can be mildly patronising but this is a book aimed at the total beginner. TOTAL BEGINNER. His "learn by rote" oriented method won't be to everybody's tastes having had their teachers at school bore them to tears with it, but I think this is actually a very effective method for breaking people's habits and opening the mind to learn more effectively. If you don't normally learn well this way, then have a go anyway, as there is more to the learning methods than initially meets the eye here. As a juggling teacher myself I found that many of the techniques I use for complete beginners have parallels in Zed's method. He is particularly encouraging.

Zed often chats about why he's teaching you the way he is but there is a mature technique "under-the-hood" and his conversational, rebellious and amusing style belie the effective nature of the training method. His critics hate him because he takes a stand, often very vocally, on divisive issues. Whilst I found the sections on Object Oriented Programming mildly unhelpful initially (I don't usually like being told what to think about something before I try it) I have since found that it is indeed somewhat over-used, and as he puts it "just plain weird".

Remember, he's just got one opinion amongst many, many opinions out there. You don't have to throw the baby out with the bath water, to do so would be to be to miss a superbly enjoyable program for learning.

He's a good teacher, and entertaining too, and his more opinionated moments leave much space for your own research, What's not to like?

Oh, and I can now program in Python after just a couple of short months!
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on 22 August 2017
There are mixed reviews about this book and its author, and this is mine.

First, the subject matter. Zed A Shaw is clearly a man who believes in starting from the bottom, and working slowly up one step at a time, and I for one think that is the most effective way to learn. You start by printing "Hello, World!" (of course) and then very slowly, very gradually, creep forward, one step at a time.

In my experience, this is not a reference guide, or a dip-in-and-out guide. This is a formulaic, by the numbers program designed to replace a classroom environment. You do exercise 1, then 2, then 3. Naturally you will probably find that you start to experiment slightly as you progress, but generally Zed expects you to follow the lessons as outlined.

I can see how some might find the author a bit patronising - he writes as though he knows everything and you know nothing. But... he's an experienced programmer, and you're learning from scratch, so this is in fact the case.

In short, listen to him, read the book, follow the exercises and in just a few days you'll know everything you need to know. Then all you need is a lifetime of experience.
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on 16 May 2014
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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