Revision 31 as of 2019-12-02 01:05:18

Clear message

The following books aim to be definitive references, either by publishing the Python documentation or by writing new reference-style material, and therefore should be useful throughout your Python programming career.

Most of these books will contain short, highly condensed introductions to Python, and if you're an experienced programmer these titles may be all you need. See the list of IntroductoryBooks if you'd prefer a book with more examples and a slower pace.

Python Phrasebook

Sams Publishing, 275 pages (November 2006)

Essential Code and Commands Python Phrasebook gives you the code phrases you need to quickly and effectively complete your programming projects in Python. Concise and Accessible Easy to carry and easy to use—lets you ditch all those bulky books for one portable guide. Flexible and Functional Packed with more than 100 customizable code snippets—so you can readily code functional Python in just about any situation.

Home Page

Review by James Pyles

The Python Language Reference Manual (version 2.5)

Network Theory Ltd, 120 pages (Revised November 2006)

This is a printed edition of the official Python language reference manual by Guido van Rossum. For each copy sold $1 will be donated to the Python Software Foundation.

Home Page (includes electronic version)

Python Essential Reference

ISBN: 0672329786, Sams, 717 pages (June, 2009)

Just released in a fourth edition... features numerous improvements, additions, and updates. (Amazon)

17 page on Python 3.0

ISBN: 0672328623, Sams, 626 pages (February, 2006)

The third edition that covers Python 2.4 language features and a variety of new modules added to the standard library. The comments below apply to the 1st and 2nd editions.

A concise reference for Python 2.1, about as close as you can get to the K&R for Python. The first hundred pages are a complete but very compressed introduction to the language; the rest of the book is reference material on all of the standard library modules.

Some of the reviews below are for the first edition of this book. The second edition updated it without losing any of the first edition's virtues.

Review by Jonathan Corbet Review by Phil Hughes Review by AMK Review by Danny Yee

Python Pocket Reference, 4th Edition

(Mark Lutz, O'Reilly Media, September 2009, 200 pages)

A reference-only book, designed to serve as a companion to both Learning Python and Programming Python. This edition is updated to cover both Python 3.X and 2.X. It is specifically based on 3.1 and 2.6, but is applicable to other releases.

Links: author, publisher.

Python in a Nutshell

ISBN: 0596001886 O'Reilly, 654 pages (March 2003)

A concise desktop reference for Python 2.2. Covers the language itself, built-in types and functions, the standard library, and crucial third-party extensions such as Numeric, Tkinter, twisted.internet, Cheetah. Also covers Extending and Embedding Python, with C, Java, and other languages and tools.

Includes information on what parts were new in Python 2.2 (doesn't cover 2.3, as it was not yet finalized when the book was published, but does mention a few 2.3 additions that were already known at the time).

The second edition, published in 2006, covers features of the language introduced since the publication of the first edition.

Review by Cameron Laird Review by Danny Yee Reader reviews at Publisher's page, with a link to the sample chapter &c Publisher's page for the second edition, with a link to the sample chapter Slashdot discussion

Python 2.1 Bible

Unable to edit the page? See the FrontPage for instructions.