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What Python book do you recommend for someone who wants to start learning the language? Thanks.

If you aren't new to programming at all, then I'd suggest Python Essential Reference.

Otherwise, I'm still recommending against learning Python the hard way. That might depend on a person, but I don't think typing some samples can make an interesting task, and AFAIKT doing things that are not interesting for you makes learning process a lot less efficient.

Judging from my experience, the best way to start learning the language is having some actual work done (e.g., building a site with Django). Correspondingly, books you'd need are references—Python's docs, Python Essential Reference. You can use LPTHW as a reference, too, just do something more useful than its samples.

Learn Python The Hard Way.

LPtHW is a great book for learning how to program. If you're already a competent programmer looking to pick up python, then you'll probably find it very slow going, and probably better served by something better. I personally learned python from The Quick Python Book, which I thought was quite good.

Does it cover Python 3? I cannot tell from reading http://learnpythonthehardway.org/ - maybe I missed something.

Heh, not exactly:

"A programmer may try to get you to install Python 3 and learn that. You should tell them, "When all of the python code on your computer is Python 3, then I'll try to learn it." That should keep them busy for about 10 years."

http://learnpythonthehardway.org/book/ex0.html (under Warnings for Beginners)

Is that actually good advice?

Yes, that is a good advice.

Someone wanting to learn Python (or any other language) will be better served if they are helped to focus at most important and least painful things first: in this case, python 2 is everywhere with huge number of libraries. Whatever you need is 'pip install' away.

Learning Python 2 is not a waste of time: whatever you learn and is changed in Python 3, will be easily relearned once it becomes needed.

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