Best Python books

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Best book to learn Python

In this article, we highlight the best books for learning Python through a collection of book reviews. Each review offers a taste of the book, the topics covered and the context used to illustrate those topics. Different books will resonate with different people, depending on the style and presentation of the books, reader backgrounds, and other factors.

Python is an amazing programming language. It can be applied to almost any programming task, allows for rapid development and debugging, and offers support from what is arguably the friendliest user community.

Best Python book for Beginners

Getting started with Python is like learning a new skill - it’s important to find a resource that you can connect with to guide your learning. Fortunately, there is no shortage of excellent books that can help you learn both the basics of programming and the specifics of programming in Python. With an abundance of resources, it can be difficult to identify which book would be best for your situation.

If you are new to Python, one of the introductory books will give you a solid foundation.

Maybe you want to learn Python with your kid, or maybe you want to teach Python to a group of kids. Check out the best Python children’s books for resources aimed at a younger audience.

As you progress through your Python journey, you’ll want to dig deeper to maximize the efficiency of your code. The best intermediate and advanced Python books provide information to help you improve your Python skills, thus enabling you to become a Python expert.

Best Python book for Programmers

After reading these reviews, if you’re still not sure which book to choose, publishers often provide a sample chapter or section to give you an example of what the book has to offer. Reading a sample of the book should give you the most representative picture of the author’s pace, style, and expectations.

Whichever book stands out the most, consider this anecdote from one of our book reviewers, Steven C. Howell:

"A favorite teacher once said to me, ’It doesn’t matter which book you read first. It’s always the second that makes the most sense. "

I can’t say it has always been that way for me, but I have certainly found that a second referral can make all the difference when the first has left me confused or frustrated.

While learning the Python lessons, I had a hard time understanding the examples used in the first two books I collected. It wasn’t until the third book I referred to that the concepts started to click.

The important lesson is that if you’re stuck or frustrated and the resources you have aren’t helping you, don’t give up. Look at another book, search the web, ask questions on a forum, or just take a break. "

Note: This article contains affiliate links to retailers such as Amazon, so you can support Real Python by clicking and making a purchase on some of the links. There is no additional cost to you to purchase from any of these links. Affiliate links do not influence our editorial decisions in any way.

The best books to learn Python

If you’re new to Python, you probably find yourself in one of two situations:

You are new to programming and want to start learning Python. You have good experience programming in another language and now want to learn Python. This section focuses on the first of these two scenarios, with reviews of books that we consider to be the best Python programming books for readers new to programming and Python. Therefore, these books do not require any previous programming experience. They start with the absolute basics and teach both general programming concepts and their application to Python.

Python crash course

Eric Matthes (No Starch Press, 2016)

It does what he says on the box, and it does it very well. The book begins with an overview of the basic elements and data structures of Python, using variables, strings, numbers, lists and tuples, describing how you work with each of them.

So, if the instructions and logical tests are covered, followed by a dip in the dictionaries. Next, the book covers user input, loops, functions, classes, and file management, as well as testing and debugging code.

This is only the first half of the book! In the second half, you work on three main projects, creating smart and fun apps.

The first project is an Alien Invasion game, essentially Space Invaders, developed using the pygame package. You design a ship (using classes), then plan how to fly it and make it fire bullets. So you design different classes of aliens, move the alien fleet and allow them to be shot down. Finally, add a scoreboard and a high score list to complete the game.

Next, the next project covers data visualization with matplotlib, random walks, dice rolling and some statistical analysis, creating graphs and tables with the pygal package. You learn how to download data in various formats, import it into Python and view the results, as well as interact with web APIs, retrieve and view data from GitHub and HackerNews.

The third project walks you through creating a complete web application that uses Django to create a learning diary to keep track of what users have studied. It explains how to install Django, configure a project, design your own templates, create an admin interface, configure user accounts, manage user access controls per user, model the entire application with Bootstrap, and finally deploy it to Heroku. .

This book is well written and well organized. It features a large number of useful exercises and three challenging and fun projects that make up the second half of the book. (Comment by David Schlesinger.)

Head-First Python, 2nd edition

I really like the Head-First series of books, although their overall content is certainly lighter than most of the other recommendations in this section. The trade-off is that this approach makes the book more user-friendly.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to learn things a little at a time and you want to have lots of real-life examples and illustrations of the concepts involved, then the Head-First series is for you. The publisher’s website has the following to say about their approach:

"Based on the latest research in cognitive science and learning theory, Head-First Python uses a visually rich format to engage your mind, rather than a text-rich approach that puts you to sleep. Why waste time struggling with new concepts? This multisensory learning experience is designed for the actual functioning of your brain. (Source)

Packed with illustrations, examples, parentheses and other information, Head-First Python is always engaging and easy to read. This book begins its Python tour by delving into the lists and explaining how to use and manipulate them. So it goes into modules, errors and file handling. Each theme is organized around a unifying project: building a dynamic website for a school sports coach using Python via a Common Gateway Interface (CGI).

Next, the book spends some time teaching you how to use an Android app to interact with the website you created. You will learn how to handle user input, encode data, and explore the implications of deploying and scaling a Python application on the web.

While this book isn’t as comprehensive as some of the others, it covers a good range of Python tasks in a way that is arguably more accessible, painless, and efficient. This is especially true if you find the topic of writing programs a little intimidating at first.

This book is designed to guide you through any challenge. While the content is more targeted, there is plenty of material to keep you busy and learn. You won’t be bored. If you find that most of the program books

Think Python: How to Think Like a Computer Scientist, 2nd Edition

If learning Python while making video games is too frivolous for you, consider Allen Downey’s book Think Python, which takes a much more serious approach.

As the title suggests, the purpose of this book is to teach you how programmers think about programming, and it does a good job. Compared to other books, it is drier and organized in a more linear fashion. The book focuses on everything you need to know about basic programming in Python, in a very simple, clear, and comprehensive way.

Compared to other similar books, it doesn’t go as far in some of the more advanced areas, but rather covers a wider range of material, including topics that other books don’t come close to. Examples of such topics include operator overload, polymorphism, algorithm analysis, and mutability versus immutability.

The previous versions were a bit light on the exercises, but the latest edition has largely corrected this shortcoming. There are four reasonably in-depth projects in the book, presented as case studies, but overall it has fewer exercises of direct application than many other books.

If you like a step-by-step presentation of the facts and want to get a better idea of ‚Äã‚Äãhow professional programmers view problems, this book is a great choice. (Reviewed by David Schlesinger and Steven C. Howell.)

Efficient Computing in Physics: A Field Guide for Research with Python

This is the book I wish I had had when I was first learning Python.

Despite the name, this book is a great choice for people who have no background in physics, research, or computer problems.

It really is a hands-on guide to using Python. Besides teaching you Python, it also covers related topics, such as command line and version control, as well as software testing and distribution.

As well as being a great learning resource, this book will also serve as a great reference for Python, as the topics are well organized with lots of examples and exercises intertwined.

The book is divided into four aptly named sections: How To Start, How To Do It, How To Do It Right, and How To Get It Out.

The Getting Started section contains everything you need to start running. Start with a chapter on bash command line fundamentals. (Yes, you can even install bash for Windows.) The book then explains the basics of Python, covering all expected topics: operators, strings, variables, containers, logic, and flow control. In addition, there is an entire chapter devoted to all the different types of functions, and another to classes and object-oriented programming.

Building on that foundation, the How To section moves to the more data-centric area of ‚Äã‚ÄãPython. Note that this section, which takes up about a third of the book, will be more applicable to scientists, engineers, and data scientists. If that’s you, have fun. If not, feel free to continue by selecting the relevant sections. But be sure to read the last chapter of the section as it will teach you how to deploy software using pip, conda, virtual machines, and Docker containers.

For those of you who want to work with data, the section begins with a brief overview of essential libraries for analyzing and visualizing data. You then have a separate chapter dedicated to teaching you the topics of regular expressions, NumPy, data storage (including performing operations out of the core), specialized data structures (hash tables, data, D trees and kd trees), and parallel computation.

The Getting It Right section teaches you how to avoid and overcome many of the common pitfalls associated with working in Python. Start by expanding the discussion of software distribution by teaching you how to create software pipelines using make. You will then learn how to use Git and GitHub to track, archive, and organize code changes over time - a process called version control. The section ends by teaching you how to debug and test your code, two incredibly valuable skills.

Learn Python 3 the hard way

Learning Python the hard way is a classic. I’m a big fan of the book’s approach. When you learn "the hard way" you should:

The positive aspect of this book is the quality of the presentation of the contents. Each chapter is presented clearly. The code examples are all concise, well constructed, and straight to the point. The exercises are informative and the problems you will encounter will not be overwhelming at all. Your biggest risk is typographical errors. Read this book and you will surely no longer be a beginner in Python.

Don’t be put off by the title. The "hard way" turns out to be the easiest way if you are looking for the long haul. Nobody likes to write a lot, but that’s what programming entails, so it’s good to get used to it from the start. One good thing about this book is that it has been perfected through several editions now, so all the edges have been made nice and smooth now.

The book is built as a series of over fifty exercises, each based on the previous one and each teaching you a new characteristic of the language. From Exercise 0, by installing Python on your computer, you start writing simple programs. You will learn about variables, data types, functions, logic, loops, lists, debugging, dictionaries, object-oriented programming, inheritance, and packaging. You can even create a simple game using a game engine.

The following sections cover concepts such as automated testing, lexical user input analysis to parse sentences, and the lpthw.web package, to bring your game to the web.

Zed is an engaging and patient writer who doesn’t hide the details. If you work on this book the right way - the "hard way" by following the study tips provided throughout the text and programming exercises - you will be well beyond the beginner programmer stage when you are done. (Comment by David Schlesinger.)

Real Python course part 1

This eBook is the first of three (so far) in the Real Python course series. It was written with the goal of getting started and does a great job of achieving that. The book is a mix of explanatory prose, sample code, and revision exercises. Interval Revision Exercises solidify your learning by allowing you to immediately apply what you have learned.

As with the previous books, clear instructions are provided for installing and running Python on your computer. After the configuration section, instead of providing a brief summary of the data types, Real Python starts with strings and is actually pretty comprehensive - you learn how to split strings before you get to page 30.

So the book gives you a good idea of ‚Äã‚Äãthe flavor of Python by showing you how to play around with some of the class methods that can be applied. You then learn to write functions and loops, use conditional logic, work with lists and dictionaries, and read and write files.

Then things get really fun! Once you learn how to install packages with pip (and from source), Real Python covers interacting and manipulating PDFs, using SQL from Python, retrieving data from web pages, using numpy and matplotlib to perform scientific calculations and, finally, the creation of graphical user interfaces with EasyGUI and tkinter.

What I love most about Real Python is that in addition to covering the basics in an in-depth and intuitive way, the book explores more advanced uses of Python that none of the other books have covered, such as web scratching. There are also two additional volumes, dedicated to more advanced Python development.

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Best Python books __del__: Questions

How can I make a time delay in Python?

5 answers

I would like to know how to put a time delay in a Python script.


Answer #1

import time
time.sleep(5)   # Delays for 5 seconds. You can also use a float value.

Here is another example where something is run approximately once a minute:

import time
while True:
    print("This prints once a minute.")
    time.sleep(60) # Delay for 1 minute (60 seconds).


Answer #2

You can use the sleep() function in the time module. It can take a float argument for sub-second resolution.

from time import sleep
sleep(0.1) # Time in seconds

Best Python books __del__: Questions

How to delete a file or folder in Python?

5 answers

How do I delete a file or folder in Python?


Answer #1

Path objects from the Python 3.4+ pathlib module also expose these instance methods:

We hope this article has helped you to resolve the problem. Apart from Best Python books, check other __del__-related topics.

Want to excel in Python? See our review of the best Python online courses 2023. If you are interested in Data Science, check also how to learn programming in R.

By the way, this material is also available in other languages:

Javier Jackson

San Francisco | 2023-01-30

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Oliver Robinson

California | 2023-01-30

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Manuel Gonzalez

New York | 2023-01-30

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