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Learn to Program Paperback – Apr 7 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; Second Edition edition (April 7 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934356360
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934356364
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 1.3 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #200,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


""Thanks for "Learn to Program." My 10 year old son picked it up tonight, opened up my old MBP, and just started going at it. It's fun to see him so excited about something that I love and am lucky enough to make a living at. Though my son is in our school's gifted and talented program, they have not yet delved into computers in much detail. "Learn to Program" is turning out to be a fun way to share my excitement about programming with him.""--Scott Meade

About the Author

Chris Pine first discovered the programming language Ruby in early 2001 and immediately began using it to build tools for his day job: programming computer games. After hours, he volunteered with gifted children teaching them advanced mathematics. With Ruby, he began to teach his students programming as well. Once he saw how easily his students learned advanced programming concepts in this environment, he decided to expand his teaching materials into a book. Chris enjoys board games and juggling, and lives with his darling wife and two darling children in darling Oslo, Norway. He is very happy.

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My husband had this book, and "Ruby on Rails for Dummies" on his wish list this year. He is enjoying them both. He is new to Ruby, and these two books seem to form a good foundation. Note that he isn't new to programming, just new to Ruby.
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Format: Paperback
Great book for beginners. Pace is good - tone is good - examples are relevant! Highly recommended for anyone who would like to learn to program.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 50 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Great until chapter 8 May 11 2011
By Love to read - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was great until Chapter 8. Now it's going way too fast without enough examples. Also there are only a few practice exercises now and they start out too advanced so that you can't do them without looking at the answers. This does not inspire confidence! There should be more practice exercises at the end of the chapter, starting with easy ones and getting harder and harder.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
It's good if you use supplementary materials! May 26 2013
By Amin196 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
About a year ago, I decided to pick up Learn to Program because I had very little programming experience (primarily characterized by copy-and-pasted AWK scripts and some web design via HTML/CSS)and I wanted something that would provide a truly introductory text to programming as a skill (the Ruby language is a plus). Learn to Program kind of falls short of that expectation. While the first first seven or so chapters are written well, the latter half of the book jumps the boat. The assignments were too difficult to solve without peaking at the answers and there were very few assignments at that. Although the anecdotal approach that Pine takes to develop a concept through a chapter is helpful and appreciated, the book can be improved through the addition of more examples that increase in complexity as well as more assignments. However, the experience can be improved by completing related exercises on CodeAcademy (Ruby), RubyMonk, and Ruby Koans (a bit more advanced).
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Never thought I could program Jan. 26 2014
By Liana Burnside - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To start out with, I have tried to learn programming before, but it never really stuck. Mostly I looked up tutorials on Youtube and poked around in forums, but it all seemed so confusing and insurmountable. I am absolutely not a math person, so I thought programming would always be beyond my reach. However, my little nerd dream of making video games took root, and so I bought this book.

Two weeks later, I made my first video game. Yes, it's a piece of crap, but it's just the beginning. This book teaches you from square one, in a way that is very approachable and friendly (and includes a ton of nerdy references to everything from video games to Buffy). So if you have never tried programming before, this is a great book to start out with.

A note that a lot of reviewers bring up is about the learning curve of the book. Yes, the later chapters cover some advanced stuff, and it can really throw you for a loop. However, you don't NEED to understand everything all at once. Having trouble understanding recursion? Just skip that section. You can come back to it later as you need it. The great thing about this book is that it is both a guide and a reference. Once you get the basics, if something seems overwhelming or unimportant, you can skip it and come back to when you need it. I would definitely recommend this book to people interested in learning to program.

And for anyone interested, you can check out a copy of the simple game I made using this book. This is a good example of the kind of stuff you will be able to do after just about 7-12 hours with the book. (Note: you will need ruby installed on your computer for it to work)[...]
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Great introduction to programming Sept. 23 2011
By Ryan P. Moser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I tried and failed to learn to code several times before finding Mr. Pine's excellent book. He gets two things overwhelmingly right in this book. First, the problems he includes are "just right" - difficult enough to make you think and really understand the material, but not so hard that they become discouraging. Second, he shares a piece of himself and brings levity to what could be very dry subject matter and does it in a way that enhances learning.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent but ramps up quickly. July 20 2011
By David - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is great.

From my perspective of having very little exposure to programming and just rudimentary math the first 5-6 chapters were perfect and I felt on top of it all.

Things really start to ramp up some from then on and by the time you are working on the chapter 9 exercises, you are really being challenged. From then on you'll need to dig deep and source some other examples, make up your own questions and explore alternate ways of describing and understanding Ruby from the web. I had to revise some chapters on a few occasions but this is what I liked about the book and I think might be one of the authors intention as well. I enjoyed the books conversational and humorous style.

Be advised but not discouraged, programming and logic are not simple and breezy concepts, you just can't get the 'gist' of it and away you go (except if you're a genius) and it's not for everyone. But if you are indeed curious and ready for a new challenge then I feel you can't go wrong with Chris Pines text.