A Short List of Essential Books for Programming

The Self-Taught Programmer

The Self-Taught Programmer is a roadmap for aspiring programmers. Author Cory Althoff taught himself programming in a single year and landed a job at eBay as a software engineer. Here, he shares what he learned, emphasizing technical skills but also covering the interview process and professional skills.

Python Crash Course

Best for people who learn by doing, Python Crash Course offers a fast-paced, project-based introduction to the programming language. The book starts with basic concepts. Readers then put their training to the test by programming a game, a web app, and a data visualization program.

Learning Python

Now in its 5th edition, Mark Lutz’s hefty book (it’s over 1,500 pages) has gained fans over the years. Learning Python covers coding basics, both for beginners and those experienced in other languages. The book incorporates quizzes and exercises to strengthen coding skills.

Learn Python the Hard Way

Some people like to jump in the deep end, and Learn Python the Hard Way promises to challenge readers. Using a tutorial-based method, the book offers 52 exercises to build coding skills. It may appeal most to readers with some prior programming experience.

Python Cookbook

Less a teaching book and more a reference, Python Cookbook offers recipes for people with moderate or advanced Python skills. The book incorporates code samples to update Python 2 code to Python 3, along with recipes to create algorithms, design web programs, and more.

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