This blog post is going to show you the top 8 best python books for beginners to learn how to read and write code. If you want to learn Python in 2022, books are one of the best ways to do so. Check out our guide on how to read programming books so that you can get the most out of the ones that I’ll suggest in this list. Before you move on, below are some reminders of why you need to learn Python in 2022.
This post contains affiliate links. This means that for every purchase you make through those links, I’ll get a small commission. The products I recommend are, however, genuine and I’ve tried them on my own.
Table of Contents
- Why Should You Learn Python In 2022?
- How We Chose The Best Python Books For Beginners.
- Quick List.
The Best Python Books For Beginners – Top 8 List –
- 1. Python Crash Course: A Hands-On, Project-Based Introduction to Programming.[2nd Edition]
- 2. Think Python: How To Think Like A Computer Scientist.[2nd Edition]
- 3. Python By Example: Learning To Program In 150 Challenges.
- 4. A Smarter Way To Learn Python: Learn It Faster. Remember It Longer.
- 5. Learn Python 3 The Hard Way: A Very Simple Introduction to the Terrifyingly Beautiful World of Computers and Code.
- 6. Head First Python: A Brain-Friendly Guide. [2nd Edition]
- 7. Learn to Program with Python 3: A Step-by-Step Guide to Programming.
- 8. Illustrated Guide to Python 3: A Complete Walkthrough of Beginning Python with Unique Illustrations Showing how Python Really Works.
- Conclusion: Best Python Books For Beginners.
Why Should You Learn Python In 2022?
Let’s learn some reasons why you may want to learn the Python programming language in the first place. If you’re tired of being told why Python is a great programming language(and you already know), then feel free to skip this section and start with The Best Python Books For Beginners section.
Moving on… Python is a programming language that was created by Guido Van Rossum in 1991. On 20 February 2022, it turned 31 years. Over the past recent years, it has become one of the most popular programming languages. And obviously, there are a few reasons behind its popularity. Below are some of them, they will also help you decide if Python is the language you are looking to learn.
- Compared to other languages, Python is both easy to learn and easy to read. This means that even if you wish to learn other programming languages in the future, Python is going to provide you with a basic understanding of programming concepts faster.
- Python is used in many industries. That is, if you learn it, you will be able to use it for many different applications including web development and data science.
- Python is used by many people, which means that it is going to be high in demand, and you are more likely to find solutions to the problems you face faster.
- If you consider taking the employment route, Python programmers are paid really well compared to other developers. If you plan to take the freelancing route, you are still going to get many projects to work on.
Of course, this was just a summary of one of the blog posts that explains the benefits of learning Python very well, check it out to learn more.
How We Chose The Best Python Books For Beginners.
All of these books I have, but I’ll be honest with you, not all of them have I finished reading yet. When we were choosing these best Python books for beginners, we had a few points kept in mind. Below is a list of them:
- They are short books; the average number of pages these books have is about 300 pages. The smallest is 191 pages big (but it will give you everything you need to learn Python). To get started with anything, you would not need very large books. Most of the time, the book will be large for nothing and include information that you will never need to know or utilize in real life.
- They have questions and answers so that you can check your progress. (there are a few exceptions)
- They are not boring to read. The authors have a good sense of humor that keeps your face bright and focused.
- They are not too technical. As they are for beginners either to Python or to the whole programming world, they have to be very easy to understand.
- They cover everything you need to know to be an intermediate Pythonista.
- They are written in the English language, but some of these can also be found in different languages.
- And last but not least, they are up to date.
Before you get into the details, below is a quick glance at the list of the best Python books for beginners I’ll cover in this post:
- Python Crash Course: A Hands-On, Project-Based Introduction to Programming.[2nd Edition]
- Think Python: How To Think Like A Computer Scientist.[2nd Edition]
- Python By Example: Learning To Program In 150 Challenges.
- A Smarter Way To Learn Python: Learn It Faster. Remember It Longer.
- Learn to Program with Python 3: A Step-by-Step Guide to Programming.
- Learn Python 3 The Hard Way: A Very Simple Introduction to the Terrifyingly Beautiful World of Computers and Code
- Illustrated Guide to Python 3: A Complete Walkthrough of Beginning Python with Unique Illustrations Showing how Python Really Works.
- Python Basics: A Self-Teaching Introduction.
The Best Python Books For Beginners – Top 8 List –
Below are the best python programming books for beginners.
1. Python Crash Course: A Hands-On, Project-Based Introduction to Programming.[2nd Edition]
First published in 2015, the Python Crash Course book has become the best-selling python programming book over the years. It is actually the first programming book I’ve ever read back when I was learning how to read and write code. Now the 2nd edition has been published which has been thoroughly updated to include the new Python features and best practices.
As the subtitle suggests, ‘A Hands-On, Project-Based Introduction to Programming,’ the book dedicates the last 9 chapters (PART 2 of 325 pages) to three coding projects namely the alien invasion game (using the python game dev library Pygame), Data visualization project, and finally a web development project with Django (a python web development framework).
The first 11 chapters (PART 1) explain the basic concepts of the Python programming language with amazing code snippets, case studies, and questions at the end of each chapter. This makes the total number of all chapters in the book to be 20. Below is a summary of what each chapter covers.
- Chapter 1 will show you how to get things ready (i.e installing Python, text editor, etc.). You are also going to write and run your first program.
- Chapter 2 focuses on variables and the simple datatypes[Strings, Numbers, etc].
- In Chapter 3 and Chapter 4, you will learn about lists.
- Chapter 5 introduces conditional statements which are popularly known in Python as
- In Chapter 6, you will get to know Dictionaries. Known in other programming languages as maps or key-value pairs.
- Chapter 7 focuses on a special type of programming loop called While loops. In addition, you will also learn how to get input data from users.
- In Chapter 8, you will learn about Functions.
- In Chapter 9, you will get into OOP (Object Orientated Programming). A large portion of this chapter will be dedicated to Classes.
- Chapter 10 will teach you about exceptions, which is a Python way of handling errors. You will also learn how to work with files.
- In Chapter 11, you will be introduced to tests. Which allows you to verify that the programs you’ve written actually do what you want them to.
The book also has got a dedicated web page where you will get more information about the book like the source code, updates, cheat sheets, etc(you’ll get the address in the book).
more information about the book:
|Amazon Rating:||4.7/5||My Rating:||5/5|
|Author:||Eric Matthes||Number of Pages:||548|
|Year Published:||2019 (Second Edition)||Publisher:||No Starch Press|
|Best For:||Best Project-Based Python Programming Book for beginners.|
2. Think Python: How To Think Like A Computer Scientist.[2nd Edition]
The quest for the Think series started when Allen noticed the failure of the students he taught as a professor. It wasn’t the pupils’ problem, as he learned, but rather the books’. They were too large and contained unneeded information. As a result, Allen decided to create a book using the following criteria:
- A book that was not big but covered all the information the reader would need.
- Clearly explains the terminology of concepts in computer programming.
- Programming book that builds gradually with the difficulty of the programming concepts.
- A book that focuses on programming concepts, not a programming language (that will teach how to think like a computer scientist).
Think Python: How to Think Like a Computer Scientist fulfills all of the conditions I’ve just mentioned. It starts out with the basic programming concepts, then follows advanced topics like data structures, functions, and classes. This all is divided into 21 chapters that explain the concepts as clearly and straightforwardly as possible with projects and case studies here and there. At the end of each chapter is a glossary of new programming concepts and their definition then exercises.
Below is a summary of what each chapter covers:
- Chapter 1 contains high-level explanations of basic programming concepts. From ‘what is a program,’ to ‘debugging’. This is also the chapter where you will write your first program.
- Chapter 2 is about variables, operations, expressions, and statements.
- In Chapter 3, you’ll learn about functions. Then in Chapter 4, you’ll put all the knowledge learned before into a case study of creating functions that work together.
- From Chapters 5 to 9, you’ll learn about conditionals and recursion, more functions, and Strings.
- Chapters 10, 11, and 12 will go deeper into other Python data structures(Lists, Dictionaries, and Tuples), Then Chapter 13 delves into a case study to put this knowledge into practice.
- Chapter 14 will teach you how to work with files.
- The next 4 chapters dive deep into Object-Oriented Programming.
- Chapter 19 is titled ‘The Goodies;’ and as the name suggests, it teaches you other extra Python features that are cool.
- The last Chapter is about debugging.
|Amazon Rating:||4.6/5||My Rating:||5/5|
|Author:||Allen B. Downey||Number of Pages:||292|
|Best For:||Best To Learn The Programming Concepts Using the Python Programming Language.|
You can also get Think Python for free for ten days from O’Reilly.
3. Python By Example: Learning To Program In 150 Challenges.
191 total pages of this book will take you from a complete noob to an intermediate ‘Pythonista’. If you struggled with finishing technical books, especially books on programming, then this book might be your biggest bet.
Nichola believes that the best way for people to learn to program is through self-experimentation, so instead of explaining the programming concepts as thoroughly as possible, she provides many questions to answer for yourself. So after a few readings, the reader is then provided with some questions to answer. And it’s not just one or two as other books do, but it’s a plethora of them, 150 in actuality, throughout the whole book.
This book gives you a big opportunity to explore the Python programming language on your own. It will also then provide some answers after the questions so that you can check if you are doing it the smart way.
|Amazon Rating:||4.5/5||My Rating:||4.5/5|
|Author:||Nichola Lacy||Number of Pages:||191|
|Year Published:||2019||Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Best For:||Best Question-Based Python Programming Book For Beginners.||*||Might not cover everything on Python but enough to get you started.|
4. A Smarter Way To Learn Python: Learn It Faster. Remember It Longer.
So what’s actually the ‘smarter way to learn Python?’ the answer is embedded right on the cover page. Let me explain.
➊There are 77 chapters in this book and each one of them takes about 10 minutes to read (as the title suggests). I think this is a really good way to learn since the work is divided into small chunks that are easy to manage. Very good for people who struggle finishing books on programming.
➋Then after you finish reading a chapter, you’ll then have to go to http://www.asmarterwaytolearn.com/python to answer the questions that are associated with the chapter. The full link to the exact page of the questions for that chapter is given at the end of the chapter.
These questions and answers are interactive. You are provided with a question, then a form to fill in the answer, and then some buttons below the form field to check if the answer you have written is right or wrong.
The 77 chapters of this book will take you from the very beginning to the very complicated. Here is a summary of what the chapters will be covering:
- Chapters 1-8 deal with variables, operations, and expressions.
- From Chapters 9 to 14, you will learn about if statements.
- Chapters 15 to 40 dive deep into Python Datastructures. (Lists, Tuples, and Dictionaries)
- The next 10 Chapters will be about Python Functions.
- Chapters 51 and 52 are about While loops.
- From Chapter 53 to Chapter 61, you will learn about Python Classes.
- Chapters 62 to 77 will teach you how to work with different types of files. You will also learn about Python exceptions.
And Oh man I love the font of this book!
|Amazon Rating:||My Rating:||4.5/5|
|Author:||Mark Myers||Number of Pages:||234|
|Year Published:||2017||Publisher:||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform|
|Best For:||It is granular and very Interactive.|
5. Learn Python 3 The Hard Way: A Very Simple Introduction to the Terrifyingly Beautiful World of Computers and Code.
Don’t freak the hell out with the title of this book. Surprisingly, it’s much easier to learn Python the ‘hard way.’ And by ‘hard way,’ Zed is talking about an instruction-based learning technique where the reader is given a series of carefully timed exercises aimed at improving something (in this case, that’s coding).
There are 52 chapters in this book. For each chapter, there are about 3 sections. You are first given a brief explanation of the programming concepts you are learning in that chapter, then you’re provided with some code to write into your text editor. The next section is titled ‘What you should see‘ which provides you with the output of the code you’ve just entered into your code editor.
‘Study Drills‘ is the next section which is more or less some notes to put into your mind so that you will get the bigger picture and the most important concepts. Then the last will be ‘Common student questions‘ which is a series of questions and answers to answer the questions that you may have had when you wrote the code into the text editor.
By this, Zed’s goal is to teach you the following things: reading and writing (code), paying attention to detail, and sporting the difference. If you like this method of teaching, you can then continue learning Python with the next book in this sequence called Learn More Python The Hard Way.
|Amazon Rating:||My Rating:||4.5/5|
|Author:||Zed A. Shaw||Number of Pages:||320|
|Year Published:||2017||Publisher:||Addison-Wesley Professional|
|Best For:||Unique but Productive Way of Learning.|
6. Head First Python: A Brain-Friendly Guide. [2nd Edition]
The Head First series has become one of the best in teaching almost any kind of technology out there, and that includes one of the best programming languages on the planet.
For most of this post, I’ve been talking about books for absolute beginners that have never written a line of code before; if you are one of those, this book is definitely not for you! It’s for beginners to the Python programming language but not necessarily to the programming concepts as a whole. It’s either you are moving from a different programming language or you know a little bit about coding in general.
With that being said, the book will take you through Python, from the first to the last, assuming that you know somewhat of what you are reading. That includes the basics (variables, data structures, etc) and the advanced(loops, functions, classes, etc). You will also work on a few Python projects, some of them are a web app with Flask (a Python web dev framework) and a database project.
|Amazon Rating:||My Rating:|
|Author:||Paul Barry||Number of Pages:||624|
|Year Published:||2016(2nd Edition)||Publisher:||O’Reilly Media|
|Known For:||Best for Python newbies who are moving from another programming language.||*||can get really complicated|
You can also get Head First Python for free for ten days from O’Reilly.
7. Learn to Program with Python 3: A Step-by-Step Guide to Programming.
Although it does not offer questions at the end of each chapter for you to work on, it does provide good summaries of the most important concepts. What I like about this book is that Irv tries to explain the programming concepts as well as he possibly can. He provides real-life examples and case studies that can be understood by anyone.
The book takes the reader from the very beginning of installing Python to the intermediate topics like functions and data structures. Each topic building from the previous. Unfortunately yet again, it does not get into the profound concepts of programming like Object-Oriented Programming. If you are a beginner and you just want to grab the basics, then this book might be for you. You can then get another one if you wish to progress.
Though you do not really need these to be a Python programmer, Irv recommends the reader have a basic understanding of algebra and some sense of logic. These, of course, you can learn as you’re learning Python.
The book is divided into 12 chapters. Below is a summary of what you’ll get from each one of them:
- Chapter 1 provides a gentle introduction to Python and a few resources to get you started.
- Chapter 2 introduces you to variables, statements, and expressions.
- In Chapter 3 you’ll learn about built-in Functions and In Chapter 4 about User-defined Functions.
- Chapter 5 teaches you about if, else, and elif statements.
- From Chapters 6 to 11, you’ll learn the following respectively: Loops, Lists, Strings, Files I/O, Internet Data, and Data Structures.
- The Last Chapter provides you with more resources to continue with Python.
|Amazon Rating:||My Rating:||4.3/5|
|Author:||Irv Kalb||Number of Pages:||371|
|Known For:||In-depth Explanations To The Programming Concepts.||*||May not cover everything but enough for beginners.|
8. Illustrated Guide to Python 3: A Complete Walkthrough of Beginning Python with Unique Illustrations Showing how Python Really Works.
In an Illustrated Guide to Python 3, Matt takes the reader from the very beginning to the very complicated concepts of programming like Object-Oriented Programming.
The structure of the book is similar to some of the books on this list. As for each chapter, there are some explanations of the programming concepts, then a summary of the chapter, and lastly a few questions and exercises on what you’ve been learning in the chapter.
What is different about this book is the way Matt explains the stuff. As the title of the book suggests, there are many illustrations and case studies that try to explain the concepts as much as possible.
|Amazon Rating:||My Rating:|
|Author:||Matt Harrison||Number of Pages:||256|
|Year Published:||2017||Publisher:||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform|
|Best For:||In-depth Explanations To The Programming Concepts.|
Conclusion: Best Python Books For Beginners.
As I’ve noted in how to read programming books, as a beginner, relying on the books alone can get you in the danger of giving up on them. A solution to that is to get auxiliary learning resources that can help you understand some concepts that are too technical for you. These can be free online resources like blog posts and youtube videos. Make sure you get them by your side as you read the books I’ve mentioned in this post.
Otherwise, I’ll see you in other CodingGear programming resources. Happy Hacking!