Teach Yourself Python in 24 Hours

Teach Yourself Python in 24 Hours, by Ivan Van Laningham, SAMs, 2000, 510 pages.

This book is a typical "teach yourself in 24 hours book", and it is basically a good book for only $25. It does a good job of teaching the basic Python language, but it has an eclectic approach that includes using the author's passion for ancient Mayan calendar symbols as material for programming examples.

The book covers the basics, plus Tkinter programming. The Tkinter portion of the book is one of the highlights, and is actually one of the better introductions to Tkinter programming for beginners that I have read. This part of the book may be worth the price of the whole book, if you are a beginner who is very interested in Tkinter event-driven GUI programming.

Another strong suit of the book is its explanation of classes and object oriented programming. This part of the book is particularly well suited to beginner's, I think.

Unfortunately for me, much of the code samples were given in the form of screen shots that were virtually unreadable by someone without 20-20 vision. This one flaw alone would turn me away from what otherwise might be a really good book.; but it is a serious flaw; check out the code in the actual book before buying.

Some will not appreciate the use of the author's passion for Mayan symbols as fodder for almost all the examples. However, authors of introductory computer books must use something for examples, and Mayan calendars are more interesting to me than yet another calculator. The author also uses a lot of quotes from Zen Buddhism to make his philosophical points.

If you have good eyes and can read the code printouts, and you are willing to spend a lot more than 24 hours to absorb the authors Zen wisdom and also his Mayan Icons (which are actually quite beautiful) then this could be a great introductory Python book, with an attitude. Otherwise, steer clear.