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Learn to Program

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  533 ratings  ·  52 reviews
It's now easier to learn to write your own computer software than it has ever been before. Now everyone can learn to write programs for themselves--no previous experience is necessary. Chris Pine takes a thorough, but light-hearted approach that teaches you how to program with a minimum of fuss or bother. Starting with small, simple one-line programs to calculate your age ...more
Paperback, 149 pages
Published January 23rd 2006 by Pragmatic Bookshelf (first published January 20th 2006)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  533 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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May 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: smart kids, programmer's wives, CS students
I *ahem* know the person who wrote this, so... just so you know. But I think it's a great book, and I know how much time, thought, and effort he put into it. I served as a guinea pig of sorts through all the drafts and earlier versions. I was a non-programmer to begin with, and Chris actually tried to teach me to program a couple of other times before he started writing the book. The book worked! I don't program by myself these days, but I got enough understanding from the book to be able to lis ...more
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012
I wish I had read this earlier in my career. Absolutely recommended for anyone getting started with programming or anyone who thinks maybe they could be - you won't be intimidated by this book. It truly is for beginners and it lays an excellent foundation to build on.
Mary Dickson
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What can I say? I wrote a Chris Pine Appreciation Post here: This is a great teaching companion. For one, the book has great examples and challenge problems — they’re fun, whimsical, not too easy or difficult, and reinforce key ideas from the chapters. What’s more, they’re the type of programing challenges that a more advanced student could take and build on (make it better, make it live on the web, etc). I also especially admire the way he introduces an ...more
Jul 10, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Rather lazily written intro to programming through ruby. Bizarre examples and sample code that one gets bored of sorting through.

Beginners won't find it very difficult, but there isn't enough time spent on flow control or classes or basic OOP concepts for it to be that useful.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I initially loved this when I first discovered it. It seemed like a gentle and carefully crafted introduction to programming with Ruby. The examples were thoughtfully done, if sometimes a little humorously silly, and the text surrounding them carefully transitioned from concept to concept.

So I decided to use it to teach a class of new programming students. Their reactions were quite a bit more mixed. Most couldn't handle actually reading all the text, not necessarily a fault of the book itself,
Oct 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some classmates are being driven crazy by the author's inner monologue but I think it's fine- I'm glad it's not a dry book, I like that there's a little personality.
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: programming
Great book for anyone who wants to learn how to program.
Mike Riess
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The best tutorial- print or electronic- I've found for beginning coders. Clear explanations for those without a tech background and practical application of ideas with exercises that include 'how you could do it' and 'how I [the author] would do it' that demonstrate better/best practices. The book is humorous, entertaining, and engaging such that it never overwhelmed me as a student. Not only does the book cover the basic science of code, it also gives the reader a sense of how code can be beaut ...more
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for anyone with no prior programming experience. If you're ambitious, this is a great weekend project. Chris Pine really knows how to answer the questions anyone brand new to programming is wanting to ask.

The work is very easy and the hand-holding really helps you get a good grasp on the basic concepts or programming, as well as the Ruby language.

Look at this as a bare-bones startup to your learning. Finish this book, and then decide if you want to be a programmer, as well a
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good introduction to Ruby. Touches on a lot of basic functionality and offers interesting and humorous challenges to practice programming. If you're looking to get started with Ruby, this book is a good jumping off point without too much intimidation. As an added perk, he has it available online to read for free! But you'll have to work out the answers to the challenges yourself because those are only offered in the print edition. But that's ok. As Chris Pine himself so aptly put it, "Programm ...more
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book for any newbie Rubyist! No previous experience required. The best part in my opinion is the answer key that provides two versions of scripts! One that the reader could write with the knowledge they've read from the book thus far and another version which the author as an experienced programmer would write. The author's version motivates me by reminding me how much more is there to learn ahead of me.
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Beginning programmers, people interested in learning Ruby
Recommended to Cody by: Girl Develop It, The Odin Project
Shelves: web-dev
Really good for a solid understanding of basic Ruby programming. I highly recommend everything up to Chapter 9 or 10. If you are new to programming in it's entirety, I don't think he does a great job explaining what lambdas or procs are and why they're useful. It's kind of a weird concept to wrap your head around. But everything else was very well written and the exercises were easy to understand and helped build the fundamentals.
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tech
I can't say enough good things about this book, about the way it teaches programming, the examples it gives, the approach it takes.

It made programming about solving puzzles, word problems and challenges- not about crunching numbers. I wish there were more in this series, as I have yet to find more advanced books that follow the same approach.
Rich Fuller
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great intro book to programming in general with a Ruby focus. I loved the author's tone and writing style. Chapter 9/10 seemed to take a pretty big jump and I found myself struggling to understand the concepts though. Overall great intro book, gets you writing some code and feeling the sense of excitement at making some things happen with programming.
Peter Baker
Oct 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: comp-sci
Used this book to help a friend learn to code. Reminds me of the Learning Perl series. Good examples of Ruby. Good explanations of basic constructs. Not the greatest to teach some of the core CS theories.
Colin Dabritz
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: programming
An excellent introduction to programming, through Ruby. It's concise, so you have to unpack concepts, but he does a great job of introducing things and covering related ground, while sticking to a single topic at a time.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It never occurred to me that a book on programming for beginners could be as approachable and engaging as this one is. Its one of the first two textbooks we use at Ada Developers Academy. Highly recommended.
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ruby-ror
It's an ideal book to start with, especially when we are talking about Ruby. However, this book is an introduction-type, so be ready to read a couple of others for getting the ground.
I found it a bit too easy for me, but it is so well written that I just couldn't put it aside.
May 14, 2015 added it
A very non-programmer friendly introduction to the Ruby programming language, as well as some common programming concepts. However, you'd certainly need to read through other material because this is just the tip of the Ruby iceberg.
Dec 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
awesome book, though would have been much improved if the author had made example solutions available from somewhere
Jim Evans
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a great book to read If you have never done any programing. It gives a solid base in the Ruby language.
Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great book. Clear, funny, effective, and it progresses at just the right pace to challenge the reader, without plunging you into despair.
Dirk Smith
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Good introduction to programming, very humorous
Jaret Manuel
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dev
Awesome introductory book to Ruby.
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended by a coworker as a great primer on Ruby--and it is! I bet it would also makes a great introduction to programming in general.
Seth Crosby
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book. If you are remotely interested in computer programming-read it.
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
A good first book to learn programming with.
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech
Solid introduction to Ruby.
Enrique Sánchez
Nice and fun introduction to the basics of programming and Ruby. That being said, you're gonna need more than this book to start writing real programs.
Jun 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: computing, 2013
Very accessible, a bit outdated, definitely learn-to-program more than learn-ruby. Quick read but I prefer more meaty texts
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