Recommendations for a Python book?

Hello all,

Well, first… Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year’s Eve celebration.

Posting here to seek some sound advice.

I’ve recently begun learning Python in tandem with Panda3D.

Thing is, I’ve picked up a book, “Learning Python”, from O’reilly, which seems to have gotten excellent reviews for the most part; I figured it would be a solid place to start.

Thing is… for me anyway… it isn’t.

The thing is, the book does what I call “teaching in a vaccuum”. It explains different things, but never applies them to anything, such as a project.

There is no, “Here’s what we’re teaching you, here’s how it works, and now here’s a sample project to demonstrate when, how and why you would use it in a real project”. Also, each lesson should build on the last, so that you’re always using and re-using what you’ve already learned as the projects become more complex, etc.

This book only covers the “Here’s what we’re teaching you and how it works”, and then moves on to the next lesson. There is no context, which makes it very difficult for me to fully understand or retain what I’m learning.

Soooo… I’m curious if anyone here can recommend a good book to learn Python that approaches it as I explained above, with contextual sample projects where each lesson is implemented, and previously learned elements are reintroduced, etc?

Any suggestions would be very helpful.

Thanks a bunch in advance…

This blendernation article links to a number of python books that you can download freely: … on-e-books

I think “Dive Into Python” is close to what you want. If you like it, you can also buy a printed copy.

Thank you for the recommendation :slight_smile:

I looked into it, and it appears that Dive Into is geared toward people with previous programming knowledge. I don’t think I pointed it out in my first post, but I"m pretty new to programming, so I’d be more geared toward something for new programmers.

There is one I’m going to check out, “Python Programming For The Absolute Beginner”. It seems to go through on a more project-oriented basis and, from what I’ve read, even seems to spend time with making small games, using PyGame, if I’m not mistaken. Though I know that’s not the same as Panda, if it teaches me enough for me to utilize the rest of what I learn to Panda, that should be fine.

I’m going to track down a copy in person this time, though, and skim it through before buying it… to make sure I do like it.

In any case, if there are any other suggestions, please feel free to share them. Can never have too many options :slight_smile:

That book is definitely my recommendation for someone who has never programmed before and wants to learn Python. More generally, here is my full list of good resources for learning Python: … nline.html
free pdf book
free pdf book
free pdf book
book “python programming for absolute beginner” … index.html
introduce real-time 3D using vpython?

You’ll notice that the book you mentioned is on the list (it’s the only actual book, the rest are online resources, many of which are free pdf books such as laurens mentioned.)

I might also recommend the coffeeghost book to someone who has never programmed before and wants practical exercises rather than just abstract descriptions of programming principles. That one is a great beginning but is only a beginning; basically, it’s a great way to quickly get enough momentum so that the other books become useful.

ADDITION: Incidentally, if you are wondering why I have that list, I teach programming to artists and that is part of my notes for a future class I’m planning. I also agree that too many programming books are fairly abstract and that beginners need concrete examples to latch onto. I’ve been striving to focus more on practice and less on abstract concepts in my beginning classes.

“Python for the Absolute Beginner” is by far the best book for starting Python if you don’t have a lot of experience with other languages. It does everything you asked for, each chapter has new functions, applies them to a program, and gives you challenges on expanding the given programs yourself. I’ve done most of my previous projects using DarkBASIC and Blitz, and even done a little bit of C# (just the basics really), and other books still didn’t give me much of a clue where to begin with Python. I have an e-book version of it if you want to check it out. I hate reading on the computer, but I did lots of research before I chose a book to go with.

A Byte of Python
Abstract This book will help you to learn the Python programming language, whether you are new to computers or are an experienced programmer.

Python Documentation Index

Dive Into Python
This book lives at . If you’re reading it somewhere else, you may not have the latest version.

How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Learning with Python

Learning to program

Python Rocks! and other rants

The Python Tutorial — Python v2.6 documentation


Software Carpentry (Version 1122)

Thank you all, Wolfsong73 for asking the question I’d like to ask (and in a very specific manner, I also feel that many books ‘teach on air’), and jhocking, AamesxDavid, apocalypse2012, Laurens for giving such good references. I’m learning Panda3D in a workshop in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for gamemakers wannabes and I was surprised that learning Panda3D is also an opportunity to learn Python. All the reference you gave will be very very useful, thanks again. BTW, the workshop is very good, free, has lots of classes, about 20 PCs for students and… it’s almost empty. Looks like most people love games but don’t care to create them.

Wow, thank you for the replies.

Been a bit AWOL the past week or so here… real life stuff.

I have not been able to track down a copy of the book I’m going to get, but the positive comments of it here echo what I’ve read elsewhere (, etc), so it seems like a “go” for that one :slight_smile:. Might have to put an order in at Amazon for a copy.

I’ll also check out some of the online resources recommended as I’m sure they can help in their own way (sometimes a different tutorial will explain something in just such a way that it “clicks”, whereas other explanations don’t).

I noticed a “Quickstart Guide” book at the local Barnes and Noble as well, but learned it’s for Python 3.0… so I don’t konw if that would be a good choice as well as, if I’m not mistaken, Panda uses 2.6 as its standard and I think I remember reading that there are some significant changes in Python 3. Though I could be confusing what I read with something else.

In any case, thank you all again for the feedback/advice :slight_smile:

Hope to be in there bugging you… err… I mean… sharing what I’ve learned with you all :slight_smile:.

Thanks again!