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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) Paperback – 1 Oct 2013
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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.
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Top customer reviews
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!
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.
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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On the one hand, the author's insistence for you to take your time, complete every drill, and strictly avoid copy/paste for each...Read more