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Looking for a Python book
Posted 2017-08-06, 11:11 AM
I picked up R a while back but was pretty frustrated with the experience. Since R is a language mainly used for data science, all of the resources I found were oriented towards people looking to use R as a tool to manipulate data as quickly as possible. However, this approach did not do much to teach you about R as a programming language -- it taught it as basically a tool with a list of commands you could use to manipulate data.

I generally prefer to learn things from the ground up. While I could use R to get things done, I didn't feel like I really understood what was going on under the hood. This left me pretty frustrated. For instance, initially I didn't understand what the plus sign meant in R. We just used it without explanation. Initially that was fine. It did what you would expect from basic math and other programming languages. In other words it was essentially a function that took two numerical values and returned their arithmetic sum. Then we started using a library called ggplot2. All of a sudden the plus sign was being used to concatenate various graphical elements which ultimately affected the way your graph came out looking. I had no idea what was going on.

I found a book called the Art of R Programming that treated and taught R as a programming language instead of as a data manipulation tool, and that helped me feel like I understood R better quite a bit. I'm now planning on moving on to Python. I understand that Python is much more of a general-purpose language than R is, but I want to avoid the same pitfalls I had with R. So could anyone recommend a book that teaches Python from the ground up?

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