Learning Python, 5th Edition
Powerful Object-Oriented Programming
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: June 2013
Pages: 1600

Get a comprehensive, in-depth introduction to the core Python language with this hands-on book. Based on author Mark Lutz’s popular training course, this updated fifth edition will help you quickly write efficient, high-quality code with Python. It’s an ideal way to begin, whether you’re new to programming or a professional developer versed in other languages.

Complete with quizzes, exercises, and helpful illustrations, this easy-to-follow, self-paced tutorial gets you started with both Python 2.7 and 3.3— the latest releases in the 3.X and 2.X lines—plus all other releases in common use today. You’ll also learn some advanced language features that recently have become more common in Python code.

  • Explore Python’s major built-in object types such as numbers, lists, and dictionaries
  • Create and process objects with Python statements, and learn Python’s general syntax model
  • Use functions to avoid code redundancy and package code for reuse
  • Organize statements, functions, and other tools into larger components with modules
  • Dive into classes: Python’s object-oriented programming tool for structuring code
  • Write large programs with Python’s exception-handling model and development tools
  • Learn advanced Python tools, including decorators, descriptors, metaclasses, and Unicode processing
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oreillyLearning Python, 5th Edition
 
4.0

(based on 16 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

93%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Helpful examples (12)
  • Easy to understand (9)
  • Well-written (9)
  • Accurate (8)
  • Concise (4)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate (10)
    • Student (10)
    • Novice (9)
    • Expert (5)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Developer (7), Designer (5), Maker (4), Sys admin (4)

    Reviewed by 16 customers

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    4.0

    Learning Python, 5th Edition

    By Clay

    from Minneapolis, MN

    About Me Educator, Maker

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Concise
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Expert
      • Intermediate
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

      Haven't really had time to peruse too deeply but looks good/concise.

       
      5.0

      All you ever needed to know about Python

      By Ianto

      from Cambridge

      About Me Developer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Comprehensive
      • Easy to understand
      • Exhaustive
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

      • Heavy

      Best Uses

      • Bodybuilders
      • Expert
      • Intermediate
      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

      I've been dabbling with Python for years. This book has helped coagulate the bits I half knew into concrete useful understanding. Just don't expect to put it in your pocket.:-)

      (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      great book for beginners and advanced.

      By Bighead

      from Harvey, LA

      About Me Designer, Developer, Sys Admin

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Expert
        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

        One if the best Python books I've read.

        (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Perfect Text for Beginning Programers

        By Rod

        from Gonzales, LA

        About Me Programming enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Easy to understand
        • Huge Volume
        • Well-written

        Cons

        • Huge Volume

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

        As a beginning programmer, I found this book to be just about perfect. I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone just starting out, or moving from another programming language to Python. It is very comprehensive, though it covers on the basics of programming in Python. As my comments show, the size of this volume is considered both a Pro and a Con.

        I believe this is the only book on basic Python programming I will ever need.

        (11 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        !my_favorite && starting_to_appreciate

        By SiSandman

        from Dallas, TX

        About Me Designer, Developer, Maker

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Helpful examples
        • Knowledgeable

        Cons

        • Not Well Organized
        • Wordy

        Best Uses

        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

        This is not my favorite book but I've stuck with it and found it to deliver. First up, I am Python beginner, but not a programming beginner.

        The author is very knowledgeable but this is not a concise book. The author states that the book was not written as a reference. It's meant to be read. And I tried to take that approach. The problem is that it's a 1594 page tome. It takes a huge time commitment to read cover-to-cover (as it's meant to be read) and truly absorb. I've stuck with it and highlighted the parts that I felt were most important, and here is my take away.
        1) The first time through I felt the author was way too long winded. He gave too much detail that wasn't necessary for the initial learning experience and therefore created a book that could easily turn people off. It seemed wordy. I was definitely turned off and could've easily given up. Somehow I stuck with it, though, mainly to get to the object oriented sections near the end of the book. As I got over halfway through, I decided to compiled my notes in a separate document and so started to re-read the earlier chapters.
        2) The second time through the book, reading mostly my highlights from the first read, I found much more context for the information presented. Only with this context did I truly appreciate all the information that was being conveyed. The second time I was impressed with how much every sentence was really trying to teach some (relevant) topic about the language. I found myself having to read a lot of text that I hadn't highlighted the first time around and finding really important information in virtually every sentence.

        So, my bottom line is... This book CAN do a very detailed job of teaching python. But you will have to be tenacious to read it more than once. If this book were reorganized to gradually introduce the 'right amount at the right time' then I think it would be much more popular. But there is no question that the author knows his stuff and the stuff is present in this book. It's up to you if you're fast enough to pick it out the first time through or have enough time to dig it out in possibly two passes.

        One more comment... The book has an interesting and informative perspective for object oriented programming that I haven't seen elsewhere. Maybe this is just python but the author's explanation of classes and a search tree of inheritance, with the "class object" and "instance objects" was very helpful and clarifying for OOP concepts -- for me. I've seen this glossed over in other python tutorials so I have to give credit for really making this important concept clear.

        Final analysis: There's a ton of detail here. The only question is whether you'll have the time and patience to wade through it.

        (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        A good course book

        By joat

        from Virginia Beach, VA

        About Me Maker, Sys Admin

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Easy to understand
        • Explains Everything
        • Helpful examples

        Cons

        • Explains Everything

        Best Uses

        • Course Textbook
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

        The vendor's blurb about the book is quite accurate; it is formatted more as an in-depth text book, rather than a reference. Mark Lutz goes into great detail about various facets of the language, even explaining the ongoing support and development for both versions (2.x and 3.x) of the language.

        Beginner's will find the book quite valuable, especially if they don't already know another computer language. More experienced programmers may find themselves skipping ahead in various sections but the book is still a "good read".

        The amount of detail in the book can also be viewed as a disadvantage. I acquired the book at the same time that I was taking a Python programming class at a well known MOOC. Because the class wasn't using the book, the reading bogged down a bit. This was because the class tried to squeeze the topic into 12 weeks and the book expanded on quite a few topics (lengthy explanations of details, to ensure the reader knows why, as well as how).

        Reading a 1500+-page book, while taking a class which requires 4-6 hours of homework, is not an easy task. However, having the book helped me understand much of what the MOOC's class material assumed the I (as the student) already knew. The quizzes at the end of each chapter (with answers) also helped by reinforcing each chapter's reading.

        Using it as a reference may be a bit unwieldy, due to the detail attached to each topic (i.e., there are Python books available which are formatted as language references).

        That being said, I highly recommend having the book, either to self-teach the language or having it as the text book for a formal class. However, you'll probably want to set aside more than three months to wade through this lengthy book.

        (0 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Good book

        By antuan R.

        from Boston, MA

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Concise

        Cons

        • Not comprehensive enough

        Best Uses

        • Expert
        • Intermediate

        Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

        I purchased this book (actual printed book) about a week ago. I'm just learning Python so this was a nice reference for me.

        I cannot write anything bad about the book but I can suggest more practical examples perhaps in the next release.

        (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Learning Python, Powerful OO Programming

        By AHansen

        from Chattanooga, TN

        About Me Developer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples
        • Thorough

        Cons

        • Repetitive
        • Verbose

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

        In the 5th edition of this book, author Mark Lutz takes you on a comprehensive tour of the Python language. In this book he covers a lot of ground, and does so in an easy-to-understand way, making this book great for beginners, or for someone coming from another language. Moreover this book covers both Python 2.7.X and 3.X which is a big plus.

        Learning Python lives up to its title: after reading this book, someone new to programming altogether will walk away with a solid understanding of the Python language basics, including some advanced features. As mentioned this book covers a lot of ground, which is to be expected when it is 1600 pages long, however, it does so in an engaging manner. The author manages to convey the more complex concepts in a good way by breaking them down and walking you through a large range of examples. Furthermore, the writing style is very clear and it is obvious from the text that this author has a lot of experience teaching classes on Python as he seems to "preempt" any confusion before it arises.

        Compared to similar books, Learning Python goes deeper into each topic, and covers more topics than any one "Learning" or beginners' book that I have seen. I believe that's a real plus, as you are not left hanging with questions regarding a topic as one sometimes might be when reading books that just scratches the surface and gives a brief example of some language feature. Even though this book is appropriate for beginners, it introduces what is sometimes thought of as more advanced topics, such as list comprehensions, decorators, descriptors and generators. It is nice to see these features and more included in this comprehensive text as they have become more prevalent recently.

        There is only one negative that I can think of with regards to this book, and that is the author's tendency to repeat himself. This is partly due to how the book is organized, and it would benefit from merging similar or identical topics into fewer sections. That is, a topic is covered, and then covered again, and once again but each time the topic is elaborated on more in-depth. Although I understand the idea behind this 'build on what we've learned' style I nevertheless think the book would benefit from having one more "superficial" introduction to the topic, and then a single more in-depth look at the topic rather than multiple, briefer in-depth discussions over multiple different sections which partly overlaps with the previous discussion of the topic.

        All in all I would highly recommend this book to someone wanting to learn the Python language, whether a complete newcomer to programming, or a seasoned programmer wanting to pick up the syntax and style. In my opinion it compares favorably to Think Python as well as Introduction to Computation and Programming Using Python.

        Disclosure: I received a copy of this ebook for free via the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program.

        (11 of 18 customers found this review helpful)

         
        2.0

        ebook only, please don't PRINT!

        By Monty P.

        from JO

        About Me Developer, Sys Admin

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

          Cons

          • 1600p For 300p Of Info

          Best Uses

          • Weapon For Self Defence

          Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

          Do not be fooled by the 2 stars, the book does have some good material, and the author is a really knowledgeable man. But the problem is that the writing style of the author needs some improvement.

          The author spends lots of pages explaining very simple concepts, and then keeps repeating this explanation whenever that concept is mentioned again. Sometimes the same concept is explained in several ways after which you just can't resist closing your eyes and falling into deep sleep.

          Surprisingly, some crucial concepts like Regular Expressions and it's usage in text processing are almost ignored "to save space!!"

          I think it is possible to make a smaller version of this book that is around 350-400 pages and provides the same information that the original 1600 pages version provides.

          I do encourage everyone to check the "ebook" version of this book. But """ I consider printing this book as a crime against nature! """ Please guys do not print it! It's 1600 pages with 300 pages of real information.

          (9 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

           
          1.0

          Killjoy

          By teak

          from Jyväskylä, Finland

          About Me Designer, Developer

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Helpful examples

          Cons

          • Full Of Irrelevant Stuff
          • Repetitive

          Best Uses

            Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

            This book is a total killjoy for Python and programming. I had to stop reading it after 800 pages, which is about a half of this monster. The book tries to be all inclusive introductory to Python 2.7, Python 3, and to programming in general and fails miserably in all accounts.

            In the beginning the book felt OK and even good for the first few hundred pages. Then the bad features started to overcome the good parts of the book. The good parts are following: the book does follow the standard O'Reilly typographic convention, the level of material is suitable for a total beginner, it has quizzes and exercises, and it also introduces good coding practices to the reader. The author also understands limitations of Python and tells them.

            Then there are the bad parts. The book really believes in repetition, it is full of forward references, there is lots of repetition, lots of wasted pages (for example one page devoted for changing colors in PyDoc), repetition, irrelevant stuff (are we really interested to hear that the author made a wrong joke for the wrong audience while giving a lecture), my way or highway attitude of the author, the author is underlining own jokes and explaining them, and did I mention that the book has lots of repetition in it. This makes the book an unreadable. The book is not suitable for learning Python.

            The book is also unusable as a reference book as there are no reference section for built in functions like "sin". Then there is the Index, it has total length of 33 pages. This includes page full of different class related stuff. Do the few lines mentioning that Eclipse IDE has a Python module deserve a place in the index? The author thinks so, I don't.

            This author needs a firm editor who is ready to put 75% of the material into a shredder. Then we could have a good book in our hands (first edition was with a co-author and it had less than 400 pages).

            I cannot recommend this book to anyone.
            1/5 (at least it doesn't have incorrect information)

            ps. I received this book free via O'Reilly blogger review program for review purposes.

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