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I'm a newcomer to C++ and by no means intend to sound like an expert but I think the key to working with it is to treat it not like one language in which you should try to learn most of the features (like say Python) but instead treat it as a smaller language (e.g. C) with a bunch of optional extensions that you can choose to use if you wish (like classes, templates, smart pointers etc.).

If you pick a subset of C++ and keep some discipline (e.g. follow one of the existing style guides from LLVM, Google, Mozilla etc.), I've found it to be a very nice, pleasant language to work with.

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