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Top (max 10) reviews: Learn Python 3 the Hard Way: A Very Simple Introduction to the Terrifyingly Beautiful World of Computers and Code (Zed Shaw's Hard Way Series).

3.7 out of 5.0    33 total reviews.

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5.0 out of 5.0 -

by Janette on July 20, 2017

I purchased this book from his website. I must say this is the best book I've ever used to learn Python thus far. I've tried Udemy,, Code School tutorials and I couldn't stay interested. The instructors were boring, monotone voices, some videos were 20 minutes long explaining experience that you wouldn't face till way later farther down the road. Not to mention all the jargon and odd IDEs they try to make you use such as; IDLE and Anaconda. I've even read first few chapters of many O'Reilly books and the layout of the lessons and exercises were cluttered. LP3THW is great. This book teaches you Python from scratch. Has lots of lessons, exercises, projects, quizzes, debugging techniques etc. The book's layout is excellent and well planned. The lessons and exercises are pleasing to the eye and spaced out well. It makes you feel like you are progressing fast. And you actually are. The IDEs he suggests for the book are easy setup and use. Use them without plugins to help you type everything instead of the IDE doing all the work for you until you reach level where you know the language. I bought the book which comes with videos. The videos are short and to the point which has lots of tips. And what really makes these videos great is the fact that Zed is a great guy and fun to learn from. There's also a community that follow him which are very helpful. I totally recommend this book and I can't wait to buy Learn More Python the Hard Way next.

4.0 out of 5.0 -

by Timothy W. on Jan. 16, 2018

I like this book as an introduction. The object oriented part is really basic and doesn't create a deep understanding. He does get you writing simple programs right away. I like his dry sense of humor also.

5.0 out of 5.0 -

by Dhruv Malik on Jan. 17, 2018

Very helpful book to get you started with Python. I am not a programmer and this book made me start learning it. By no means this book will teach you everything about Python, but will get you started for sure.

2.0 out of 5.0 -

by corona79 on Nov. 15, 2017

Unlike almost all programming books, this one is generally free of typos that are especially annoying when "close doesnt' count". That fact brought this one above one star.
Otherwise, it's about as poorly written a programming book I've ever read (and that is saying something). Generally, the entire "type it yourself" strategy is counterproductive. No one will read this book to practice typing. The book is nearly 300 pages, but covers so little in such a shallow manner. For example, there's not one word on variable scopes.
I'm not going to cover every particular bad bit of writing here, but here a few signicant ones.
On page 3 (ex. 6), you (a Windows user) are instructed to run PowerShell (twice!) before installing python and adding it to your path. It wil be impossible to run the python in step 7, because PowerShell won't recognize a path modification made elsewhere while it is running. A user will have to start PowerShell again before python can be run.
Exercise 44 (Inheritance vs. Composition) is nonsensical, showing that the author (who also wrote a similar book about Ruby) has a poor understanding of object-oriented programming. Inheritance is a pillar of OOP. Composition is not. They are not interchangeable and do not provide a one or the other choice in OO design.
On page 196, line 19 of the first code ( is
Nowhere before or after does the ** appear and it is never explained.
A C progammer might have an idea, but I'm sure it wouldn't be what ** does in Python.
"Look it up", the author continually nags.
That's not why someone who wants to learn a programming lanugage would buy a book.

2.0 out of 5.0 -

by Justin on Jan. 4, 2018

I read a lot of books about Python. The language is so dynamic and interesting that you can always learn a new way of doing things, even the basics. Reading books written for beginners also helps me teach others how to write Python. So I was excited to find a copy of Zed Shaw's "Learn Python 3 the Hard Way" at my local library. The book attempts to take you from absolute beginner through to the basics of writing games. In that effort I think it succeeds. The chapters are short and the examples are relevant. If you read this book you will learn something.
My problem was with the tone of the book. To me, it felt like the author was being rather condescending. For example, it is repeated multiple times in the first chapter not to use IDLE, the default Python editor. Shaw never attempts to explain why you should not use IDLE, you just have to take his word for it. This admonishment is repeated in chapters two and three in the questions section at the end of the chapter, with an "I told you so" attitude.
This may have been Shaw's attempt at humor, by I found it troubling. I recommend John Zelle's "Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science" over this title.

4.0 out of 5.0 -

by Commander Fun on Sept. 28, 2017

This is a tough book to rate. The writing style is fun and I certainly am learning some Python. However, the book is really targeted at coding beginners. Having at various times programmed in C/C++, Java, Mathematica, Matlab, Linux shell script, and now Python, the examples are a little simplistic for me and I could go at a faster pace. I didn't look closely enough at the title, I guess, mostly going off other readers' review - the subtitle is "A Very Simple Introduction to the Terrifyingly Beautiful World of Computers and Code". That's a pretty good description.
So overall - I would highly recommend this for coding beginners , not recommended for experienced coders. That's why I'm giving it 4 stars, as it's not a book that everyone will find useful.

5.0 out of 5.0 -

by Philip M. Mccartney on Dec. 1, 2017

I've tried multiple tutorials from multiple sources (Udemy, Lynda, Tuts+, Codecademy, YouTube, etc.), but none of them compare to the LP3THW method. You'll get your hands dirty right away by diving straight into the exercises from the very beginning. You're not bogged down with a ton of theory up front. Instead the theory is gradually revealed as you progress through each exercise. Unfortunately there is one down side, if you want the accompanying videos, you will still need to purchase directly from his website. The Kindle version doesn't provide access to any of the online videos. I know many reviewers wrote negative reviews because of this, but it's how Zed has things set up. When you purchase LP3THW directly from Zed's website, you will be able to get any and all updates related to that purchase, including any new videos. And for those who seem to think Zed has a bad attitude when it comes to teaching, they fail to understand that he clearly states in one of his lessons, it's his goal to ensure that his students can move forward into a PROGRAMMING environment without the need of his ongoing help. I mean, that is the whole point of learning to program, isn't it?

4.0 out of 5.0 -

by Prescott on Sept. 11, 2017

I got the kindle edition, which overall I think is better for learning a language, but in a lot of the examples, it's hard to see whether there is a space between two tokens, or whether there is not. I don't know whether or not it is easier to see in the paper edition.
I thought it was pretty good up to exercise 47, when he stops explaining how to do things, and starts telling the reader to figure it out for themselves. That's not what I want, so I stopped at that point.

5.0 out of 5.0 -

by ok2chatt on Nov. 30, 2017

Amazing introduction to Python. It really does a great job of teaching you and making it fun at the same time. It also enforces that you do the work and research, which is paramount in learning anything. I would recommend anyone looking for an introduction in Python programming pick this book up.