If you’re planning to enhance your programming skills, there’s no better time than right now. 

Whether you’re a beginner or you have some expertise in Python, investing in Python learning can pay rich dividends. Currently, the demand is booming for Python in a wide range of fields that stretch above and beyond conventional web development. 

It is now considered to be the dominant language choice in the data science and machine learning fields. Its appeal lies in its simple structure and uncomplicated syntax both of which make it a boon for beginners. 

With the rise in demand for Python skills across many industries all over the world, it’s only logical that people are eager to add it to their repertoire of competencies. 

There are hundreds or even thousands of resources available online, and you will find a huge volume of Python courses and tutorials on the Net. However, there’s still nothing to beat learning from a well-structured and reliable book, authored by an expert. 

While the range of books could confuse and overwhelm you, it’s important to choose the best Python books  right at the start. Otherwise, you may find that your foundation is weak and your knowledge is patchy. 

What Is Python?

Before we plunge into learning, tutorials and books, a brief catch-up will help you to know a little bit more about Python. Launched more than two decades ago, it retains its position in mainstream programming. 

  • It is an object-oriented, high-level, interpreted (not compiled) programming language
  • It has dynamic semantics, high-level built-in data structures, dynamic binding and dynamic typing (not statically typed like Java or C++)
  • The emphasis is on code readability and significant indentation
  • These qualities make it suitable for Rapid Application Development, scripting or glue language
  • It comprises easy to learn syntax and supports extensible modules and packages
  • It increases productivity for programmers because it’s versatile, efficient, reliable and fast
  • Debugging is very easy in Python
  • It is also a lot of fun to learn and use and there is a large community of experts/users
  • Python has a large, standard library which is one of its big strengths
  • There is a mature and highly-supportive community of users, across a range of skills from beginners to experts
  • Backed by prestigious corporates such as Facebook, Google, Amazon Web Services, etc.

How To Find The Best Python Books

Before you begin your search for the best Python books, it’s important to analyze your own needs and learning goals first. You also need to evaluate your skills and categorize yourself as a beginner or a more advanced expert.

In terms of learning goals, you can skew your learning towards your final goal, whether it’s web development, game-programming, network programming, system admin, scientific programming, etc. 

Introspect on your individual learning style and select books that match it. If you prefer to learn in smaller, bite-sized chunks, pick a series that progresses across different levels. Some learners prefer a less text-heavy approach, while others actively want lots of theory. 

Books that have lots of illustrations, tables and graphs, and use plenty of examples, interesting side-bars and trivia, and are easy to read and hold your attention will hold everyone’s interest, regardless of age or experience. Look for books that give you lots of tasks to complete so that you lose your fear of writing code and programs. 

If you prefer a less frivolous and more serious style, look for articles and expert pieces online and in blogs as well as books. These books are for people who think logically and like to learn in a more step-by-step, linear way. 

Introductory Books:

These books offer a very broad and general introduction to the language itself. They may have some chapters on specific interfaces such as Web programming or GUI. However, no topic is gone into in detail and you won’t be able to use it alone as a learning tool. Some take a light-hearted approach, with the use of playful terms and fun projects. These books can give you a great foundation in the basics, and spike your curiosity and interest in Python. Introductory books are also useful when you plan to learn or teach your kid. 

Beginner Books:

This class of learners may have a lot of questions and doubts about the right book to select. Some beginner books plunge straight in at the deep end and leave the learner frustrated and confused. Others are so slow that you fall asleep. You want to feel somewhere between excited and in control. But that’s a subjective issue, because everyone learns differently. As the old adage says, it’s only with the second book that the first book makes sense! Talk to experts and beginners who have crossed the bridge recently and get recommendations. 

Advanced Books:

These are books for professional programmers and experts. They already know the ropes and are looking to write clean, well-organized and low-maintenance code. Advanced level books are chock-full of tips, tricks and useful techniques to take your programming to the next level. Some advanced level books use the case-study method to explain and teach. They contain practical guidance and realistic data. They may focus on specific areas such as machine learning, or using Python in finance, building scalable software, AI and neurorevolution, using features from the Python library such as pandas, or developing full-stack apps. Some advanced level books have tests for self-assessment of your skills. 

Reference Books:

These books are for specialists and experts who need to get in-depth information about Python features and new modules. They may contain detailed descriptions, with examples and functions. Some books termed “pocket guides” are quick ready reckoners and reference manuals with a glossary of terms and definitions, explanations, special operator overloading methods, tips and tricks, hints and standard library modules. 

Books For Kids:

With kids as young as three learning to code, teaching them Python can be a breeze with the right approach. Books designed for teaching kids Python generally start at the age 9 or 10 level. However, these books are not to be self-learning and they require parental involvement. Kids’ books are generally colorful and full of illustrations, and have lots of interesting activities, guessing games, graphics and fun projects. They teach kids to build video games or exciting apps. 

Once you’ve chosen your level, you can browse online resources and bookstores, both brick-n-mortar and online, check your local library, speak to experts in the field and kick start your coding career with Python. 

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