Head First Python is an excellent intro to the language. The book’s teaching method keeps the pages turning, and by the end you will have built apps on three platforms (PC, Android, Web). You will also have good familiarity with Python’s bundled editor and command interface.
I was pleased with the inclusion of Android interface coverage and Google App Engine (GAE). I had not yet deployed a project on GAE and that experience added value to the book. The example projects were good enough for instructional purposes, though after a couple of chapters on the same project I found myself losing interest… luckily the author changes the sample project a few times. The exercises had a varied style to them, which helped maintain interest. Some of the exercises are straight coding to solve a problem, but others present some code and have you piece code blocks together from a pool of provided code lines.
The teaching method used aids retention… before I completed the book I ran into a need to modify a python program that pulled stock quotes from Yahoo in order to help Microsoft Money update quotes following Microsoft’s sunsetting of the product, and I had learned enough to diagnose and fix the issue.
Many language tutorial books are hard to read from cover to cover and maintain interest and attention… I didn’t have that problem with Head First Python and was able to read the whole book easily. Anyone needing an intro to Python should consider this book.