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Which is better for training in a particular language?


Which is better for a short intensive self study?  

  1. 1. Which is better? This is for learning Python in a short period of time. It's in addition to plenty of free online/digital resources, of course.

    • $30 Python for Dummies book
    • $50 7-hour interactive DVD Python Course with a little booklet?
  2. 2. Which is better? This is for polishing existing MATLAB skills.

    • $52 High quality, 100 - 200 page glossy readable MATLAB book by some West European profs
    • $16 Little MATLAB pocket sized guide book by some prof from like North Carolina or some middle class research university?

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What helps one person learn something doesn't always help others. The best advice I can give would be to see if they are available at your local library first and if so then borrow them and see which works best for you. If they aren't available at your local library then see if they can get them for you (there may be a small charge for them to order them but no where near the cost of buying it yourself).

When looking for a good book on a subject I personally would start with O'Reilly as I have always found their books to be both very useful to learn from and an excellent reference afterwards.

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In my opinion, you should never pay for books to learn programming languages. Perhaps if you want something in dead tree format (which is basically the reason why I have certain textbooks on my bookshelf even though I have equally good documents in .pdf), otherwise there is no reason to buy anything if you want to learn a language. That is especially the case for Python (which I can say from experience) and probably also for Matlab.

The secret to learning these things is unfortunately time spent using the language to develop something. I recommended this book a few days ago because I like the guy who wrote it (that is, I like the things he writes, don't know him personally)


Otherwise, the documentation on the Python website is excellent and all the other help you might need is available in irc://irc.freenode.net/#python (registered Nick required). The people there are excellent and unbelievably patient.

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