Learning Python, 5th Edition
Powerful Object-Oriented Programming
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: 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
Table of Contents
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oreillyLearning Python, 5th Edition
 
4.0

(based on 20 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (7)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (10)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

84%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Helpful examples (13)
  • Easy to understand (11)
  • Well-written (10)
  • Accurate (8)
  • Concise (5)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate (12)
    • Novice (11)
    • Student (11)
    • Expert (5)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Developer (8), Designer (5), Sys admin (5), Maker (4), Educator (3)

    Reviewed by 20 customers

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    (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    1.0

    Not a "Learning" Book

    By h follmann

    from NJ

    About Me Developer, Sys Admin

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Concise

    Cons

    • Difficult to understand

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate

    Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

    Not only is the text too repetitive the author also fails to understand to put himself into the student's mind. As an example I will use Chapter 26, OOP: The Big Picture. While he fails to explain the core concepts of OOP he goes into detail about how python handles lookups of attribute names. However he has not introduced classes or attributes yet. AND he calls that "OOP from 30,000 Feet".
    The author fails to build from the bottom up a solid understanding of python and from there expand to detailed insides of the language. Instead he often starts with confusing details before he even covers the basics.
    However there is a lot of useful information in this book. Make sure to pick it up as your second book though.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Best Python Book I've Seen

    By JSMc

    from Southern New Mexico

    About Me Exercising My Mind, Retired Programmer, Staying Current

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • In Depth Explanations
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

      As a retired programmer I've tried to keep my hand in using some more current languages. I have over the years picked up several books on Python because the power and flexibility of the language seems very attractive.

      The approach that Mark Lutz takes in presenting Python is the first I've found that is compatible with my personal style of learning. I think that I really appreciate that he builds the language slowly starting with the basics, but at the same time lets the student look under the hood to understand how and why the various elements work as they do.

      I have seen a criticism of the author's often giving a brief explanation of some feature of Python and then saying it will be covered in greater depth in a future chapter. I do not find this to be at all problematic or repetitive. I believe finding out that the current element has more depth which will be explained when the student has the perspective to fully understand it is valuable.

      One thing I would recommend about this book is to get the ebook version. I got the ebook because it was cheaper, but after seeing the size and weight of the print version I am happy I did. It is nice to be able to work along with examples on the computer, and it is much more practical to work in two window than find a place for a 5 pound book on the desk.

       
      5.0

      Good for Know Python

      By favendano

      from Santiago, Chile

      Verified Buyer

      Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

      Some things are not intuitive, then, this book have many ways to learn and do this language useful and operative.

       
      4.0

      Ok...but too verbose

      By Ofev

      from Mex

      About Me Educator

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to understand

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice

        Comments about oreilly Learning Python, 5th Edition:

        It covers all you need!!! But sometime I felt that the author spent too much time talking about what is coming, and not the current topic

        (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        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.

          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          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.

            (23 of 23 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.

            (6 of 7 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.

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