Head First Python, Paul Barry

Front cover for Head First Python By Paul Barry

(Full disclosure: This book was provided for review at no cost to me)

What you need to know:

  • This book is geared towards a reader who has experience in at least one other programming language.
  • I had a hard time getting through the book due to previous experience with Python, so I would really emphasize that this is a book for Python newbies only.
  • This book is more for Python beginners, and not for those who want a Python equivalent of The C Programming Language; it is not a reference book.
  • This book covers Python 3.1.2, and briefly touches on Android 2.2 SDK Platform (API v8) and Python for Android (v2.6.2).

Good Points:

  • It has a lot of call outs which add helpful notes to walk you through what the code is doing. The topic, “Comprehending Lists” (via Google Books), is a great example of this.
  • The book uses a conversational approach to teaching, which newcomers should find less intimidating.
  • Illustrations are everywhere.
  • A common way of showing code is to first use a crude approach, then go back and show the right way, highlighting the mistakes made in the first attempt.

All in all, I would recommend this book to someone that is interested in learning Python and wants a high-level overview of the language. You won’t learn all that you need to know about Python from this book, but it is a good start.