Zed A. Shaw's Learn Python 3 the Hard Way

Author Zed A. Shaw makes a simple promise in his Hard Way series of books from publisher Addison-Wesley Professional: "It'll be hard at first. But soon, you'll just get it—and that will feel great!" Shaw's latest book in the series is called Learn Python 3 the Hard Way: A Very Simple Introduction to the Terrifyingly Beautiful World of Computers and Code.

In the book, readers learn Python by working through 52 "brilliantly crafted exercises" in a purposefully proscribed manner. After reading the exercise, readers type the code precisely—with no copying and pasting! Then readers fix their mistakes and watch the program run.

The process teaches essentials of how a computer works, what good programs look like, and how to read, write and think about computer code. Shaw teaches even more in 5+ hours of video where he shows readers how to break, fix and debug code—live, as he's doing the exercises.

Lessons cover topics from installing a complete Python environment to working with code, basic mathematics, variables, looping and logic, object-oriented programming, Python packaging, automated testing and much more. Readers bring the discipline, commitment and persistence to Shaw's formula, and the output will be a Python programmer!

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James Gray is Products Editor for Linux Journal.