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Zed's Learn Python the Hard Way. https://learncodethehardway.org/python/

It wasn't what I used to first learn (Larry Ullman's first PHP5 & MySQL book which I still have, with a spine held together by duct-tape) but it showed me a simple method to help absolute beginners (and helped me realize my ideas on teaching concepts in an unorthodox manner don't work at all for that target group) and to refer to acquaintances whose intro programming course professors were failing them in acquiring understanding.

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