Friday Freebies: 5 E-book Copies of Beginning Python Visualization

Beginning Python VisualizationIt’s Friday! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the weekend, and what better way to start with some free stuff? I have five free e-book copies of Beginning Python Visualization to give away.

I reviewed this book last month, and I thought it was really useful. In fact, I still have it in arm’s reach on my desk.

How to Win a Copy

As usual, I’ll make this really easy. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me why I should give you a copy. Make up a reason if you like. I could use a good laugh. Do this by 11:59pm EST today (Friday, July 24), and I’ll select five random winners. Good luck!


  • I want to learn Python to visualize data! I have been using Flex/Flare and want to expand my learning.


  • I want a copy because I thought the book would contain a centerfold full visualization of John Cleese from Monty Python.

  • Dear Nathan,

    I am a poor, broke graduate student who is working hard to find ways to create visualizations of non-profit cultural heritage collections. I am familiar with basic Python, but could use something like this to take my skills to the next level. By all accounts this is a most noble effort that would benefit from the gift of Beginning Python Visualization.

    Thanks for a great blog that is full of inspiration!

  • I’m teaching Python in a senior-level journalism course this fall. This could be a useful text to help my students better communicate numbers.

    It is funny (in a sad way) how poorly journalists communicate numbers. Help me help them help themselves.

  • AnonymousCoward July 24, 2009 at 10:54 am

    I’d love to enter, but a retweet contest is just bad form. Improve signal, don’t add to noise like a filthy spammer.

  • You should give me a copy so I can learn a little Python and stop doing ALL my visualization in R.

    Plus I’m a sexy data demigod. And I’ll smile well on your family if you comply with my request.

    Shit, I just read the other comments and now feel guilty. Give it to the friggin starving grad students first then, if you have some left over, throw one my way. *sigh* salary guilt is the green version of white guilt

  • I’m a journalist who’s teaching herself programming. And I believe the future of journalism is data visualization!


  • Nathan, this book would be helpful because I’ve had trouble visualizing pythons lately — seems this would be a good way to begin. ;)

    But in all honesty, I’d just really like to tinker around with something new in the realm of online media.

  • I’ve been wanting to learn Flex/Flare, so if I learn how to visualize in Python, Don and I can give each other lessons! Just be sure not to give him a copy, or I’m boned.

  • I’d use a copy to visualize myself winning a copy winning a copy winning a copy winning a copy…


    Sorry, got caught in a loop. I’d love to win, it’d make my weekend. Love the site; great resource.

  • I’m a whore for freebies, but this prize is especially interesting.

  • book good … i want it, i deserve it.

  • I’m getting my PhD in information retrieval and working with large distributed datasets. Pretty pictures make my adviser happy. Think of the baby seals!!!

  • I’d rather free beer but that’s always being offered tomorrow. The book will do in the meantime… ;)

  • because i do not deserve it but i need it to rock the shit.

  • I visualize me leafing through a python reference book I’ve received from posting a comment. Thanks!

  • I’ve just finished reading “Thinking About Python Visualizations” and i’d like to actually begin something.

  • I’m a journalism student hoping to move the industry forward. I’ve begun to learn Python with the goal of both presenting data to readers in a better way and to help spread information more effectively. I would really, really like a copy of the book.

  • I deserve this because for every copy of this book you give me, Edward Tufte dies a little

  • Because python rocks and visualizing data rocks and the two of them together is just awesome. :)

    That and I could seriously use it for work.

  • Samuel L Jackson July 24, 2009 at 11:26 am

    I need this! If I can’t visualize the pythons, how in the world will I escape them? Snakes on a plane are one thing, but *invisible* snakes on a plane are beyond even my ability to handle.

  • I’m a grad student in computational biology and I think it would be extremely helpful to learn how to use Python to visualize high dimensional data to attempt to gain insight that data mining and machine learning approaches alone don’t yet achieve.

  • An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You would never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.

  • I’d love to read those books. As I have no idea what Python Visualization is. I’m going on Paternity leave in a few weeks and would love to sink my teeth into some more programming languages (if that is indeed what it is).

  • Would just like to have a play with somehting new and interesting.

  • i actually need this book for a class: please give me one.

  • A book about how snakes learn to see must surely be a fine accompaniment to anyone’s technical library! ;-)

  • Nathan,

    I work in state government. They can barely afford to pay my salary right now, so forget buying books. I work with a lot of data that is maintained in GIS datasets. Since ArcView supports Python, it would be nice to learn some visualization techniques.

    Plus, I need something to read on my upcoming “furcation.”


  • Hi,

    I would like this book simply to learn something new!


  • Fake Guido van Rossum July 24, 2009 at 11:37 am

    I bought this E-book, but my dog ate it.

  • I will be traveling to India for a year with my Macbook Air and my Kindle. I have three goals: build a killer app for understanding data, learn transcendental meditation and not get eaten by snakes.

    This book will help me because I will learn about visualizing, I will learn about pythons, I will learn about visualizing pythons in order to avoid getting eaten by them and I will learn about visualizing data using pythons. You should not give this book to someone who won’t have ready access to pythons because learning is best when it can be applied.

    If I build a data visualization website out of pythons, that will truly be a killer app.

  • Chris Brown July 24, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I would like this book, because recently Chris Brown became famous. Sadly, my name is Chris Brown, but i’m the GIS analyst, not the rap star. I am constantly reminded of this terrible fact with his constant ridiculous behavior all over the news! I formally apply for this free Python book to lessen the woe felt with each new day, and also to apply to my emerging need to parse many GIS files into other GIS files to satisfy the needs of my agency!!

    Thanks and have a good weekend,

    Chris Brown

  • I forgot to mention that I am an amateur screenwriter so I am already familiar with scripting languages.

  • I need a companion to Ben Fry’s book to start building my library. Thanks!

  • Zombie No. 3 July 24, 2009 at 11:46 am

    me. book. now. brains.

    – aurrrrghaagghh

  • I’ll be teaching an undergraduate course on advanced cartography using Geographic Information Systems. Python is the language of choice for this software and this book would teach ways to go beyond the built in visualizations.

  • I am learning some information visualization, though mostly with Processing. This book would give me another perspective and also an excuse to learn Python in more detail!

  • I’m a CS undergrad with an interest in data viz and would love to check it out. Also I believe it will come in handy when I’m wrestling real pythons so I hope there is a section for that.

  • good trade off for spending lots of time on your site in a daily basis ;)

  • If I win this book, I’ll have enough money to buy a python, put him on a large piece of graph paper on my lawn and wonder aloud whether he’ll stay in position or start eating small dogs off the sidewalk before I can take a picture. I’ll consult the book for help with the dog situation…to no avail.

  • aha, what better way to start a friday?

  • I like snakes!

  • My little dachshund eats all manner of little critters from the yard. Cicadas, chameleons, beetles of various kinds (though she does not like the green shield-shaped ones.) A housefly appearing indoors keeps her on the alert for hours. Even if she does not catch it herself, she’ll eat it when I kill it.

    Snakes are a different thing. Sometimes she finds a little one, and before it scurries under the wood chips or behind a rock, she will poke at it a bit with her nose, but she doesn’t try to eat them. Maybe it’s respect, maybe it’s fear, maybe there’s an innate knowledge that snakes are not as tasty as the common fly.

    However, I am confident that if a python were to show up in the yard, the dog would be very interested. If she understood the danger posed by the thing, she’d call over the hated cats from across the street and invite them into the waiting coils of the python. More likely than not, she’d bark an poke her nose at it and it would ignore her thoroughly.

    A book on python would be even less welcome. My readings of VBA books to her have fallen flat. Reading in general leaves her bored and asking for a snack (for a dog does not live on flies alone.) She doesn’t even care for read-alouds of The Decline and Fall, so she’s obviously a philistine.

    And yet, I’d relish this python book for all the reasons she’d hate it.

  • I want a copy because I’m officially a minute late.

  • I’m a broke highschool student. I want to learn python! I like data visualization and statistics! If I get this book then I might finally have a good excuse to not do my homework.

    Three statisticians go hunting. After about a half hour, they happen upon a duck in a pond. The first statistician fires his gun, but the shot is too high. The second fires as the duck is taking off, but his shot is too low. The third statistician puts his gun down and says “We got it.”

  • I’m a herpetologist, and I hope there is a chapter on visualizing other primitive snakes, such as Boidae spp.

  • Would love a free copy of Beginning Python Visualization to give me a jump start on my data-visualization career! needs sooooooo much help…

  • I need this because quite frankly I’m unemployed and this is all I have going for me. This book could hold the key to success!

  • I currently use Excel for data vis. There has to be a better way, and hopefully it’s in this book. If not, at least I will learn something.

  • Because Python is pretty

  • Snakes on visualization… That can’t be a bad book. gimme… ;-)

  • With the book, I can start learning to create data visualizations for business and pleasure.

  • There once was a poor grad student named me
    lost on a stat-tossed, data-frothed sea
    if only I could Viz
    like a Python wiz,
    I could p-lot home albatross-free.

    How many men on a dead-man’s chest?
    R said the pirate, or S.
    on the number sea,
    drowns all together: least, worst and best.

    So to plot the sinuous sea-serpent path
    Avoid crashing, rocks and Charybdian wrath
    I’ll use python,
    block the siren song
    and plot all datanaut’s golden fleece math.

  • If you dont give me a free copy, i will buy one!

  • I suck at python. I need this book.

  • Gina Wilson July 24, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I would appreciate a copy of Python because after finally learning how to write AML’s for ArcInfo, ESRI went and changed it up to add Python. Now I desparately need to learn this language. Hard to keep up with the Joneses in this field!!!

  • I was just accepted as a computer engineering major at the University of Washington. I’m considering double majoring in statistics, so this book is right up my alley. Plus, I’d like to learn more Python. It would go nicely with the Tufte stack I’ve worked through lately.


  • I have worked on visualization of security data over the past 4 years. I wrote the book Applied Security Visualization about it and am still playing with a lot of different ways to visualize security data. I’d love to see how I could use Python with all the libraries some more.


  • I’m looking for ways to extend the Django Codebase we currently use to build artist website apps – we all need to put the possibility of data visualization into the hands of creatives looking to make representations of statistics we didn’t think were necessary until they serve(d) a purpose.. Let the data flow!

  • If I can get started on Python visualization, I can wean my users away from the awful, awful languages they’re using right now! I wouldn’t have to support IDL anymore!

  • I too am a broke grad student. I’m basically a computational ecologist at this point (surprising where your career can go), and I am *bloody tired of R*. I write most of my code in Python anyways, but I’d love to learn more about visualization using snakey-script….

  • I once saw a clown start with a balloon snake and turn it into a little balloon dog. I’d like to visualize that.

  • Because I was awake for 3 hours last night trying to visualize something in Python…

  • Michael Quill July 24, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Well I have been meaning to write a statistics package for 15 years – with a applied business point of view.
    smpl 1 100 ;
    est (model=ols,nn,dtree) depvar indep1 indep2 indep3; Estimate 3 models
    effects; automatically calculate response/elasticities for 3 models and present comparison
    smpl 101 120;
    predict; automatically calculate post sample perfromance for 3 models and present comparison

    and much much more ideas. The orientation would be for commercial practitioners rather than academics. Have to work fast.

  • Quite coincidentally, I was recently abducted by aliens. I was able to escape, but only under the following condition: I must provide them with a copy of the book “Beginning Python Visualization”. One other catch, it must be a freely obtained copy; if I pay for it in anyway, my life is forfeit just as if I hadn’t got the book at all. Since no one else seems to be giving away free copies of this book, this seems to be my only shot. I understand if there are 5 others who need this book more than I do, but if that’s the case, I’m afraid you’ll have one less reader. Since I’ll be dead.

  • Alessandro July 24, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Hi, i’m italian i would like to learn Python charting and visualization and also english.

  • I’m trying to fix a recent rodent infestation but can’t quite get my arms around how big an issue it is. I need some help getting the big picture. Maybe the combination of a python and visualization would help??? ;)

    Thanks for the chance.

  • Looks like a great book! I’ll probably buy a copy, but before I do, a free one would be extra nice!

  • I’d like to see how Python can help me make sense of the “data soup” that is my 787 eats, 268 drinks, 180 gmornings and gnites, and other random items collected via yfd over the past seven months. :)

  • Carlos Santos July 24, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    My reason: I don’t have this book and I need it.

  • Does a live snake come with the book? That sounds just dangerous enough to want.

  • I dig python; I dig data visualization, and I dig free stuff.

  • Save trees, save me money…free ebook. Thanks!

  • Python visualization will sharpen my already sharp python skills. I make a living using Python on a daily basis.

  • Nathan,

    I have legal access to an account containing US $50,000,000, but the account is password-protected. I have learned that the password is hidden in a code fragment in Beginning Python Visualization. Your assistance will be handsomely rewarded.

  • I’ve tried Excel and other spreadsheet tools, but they are too limited. I’ve tried Flex and Processing, but my skills are too limited. My experience with Python has been great – I’ve never had a language bend to my wishes and will as quickly as Python. I want to use it to visualize data!

  • I need to learn more Python.

  • Did you say the winners were selected randomly? Excellent – I can stop wasting time trying to think of a wittier response than all of those above, and instead get back to teaching myself data visualisation and graph construction in Python (a task that would surely be simplified with this book…)

  • I’m obsessive about visualizing data. Winning a book probably won’t help with my obsessive tendencies. Please don’t pick me. :0()

  • I’ve had this book on my radar for a while, but I’ve never gotten around to grabbing it.

  • Yes please! Win Win Win!

  • Because it’s Friday!

  • I need this book because I suck at visualization. And I suck at Python. And I suck at photoshop (and I know it).

  • I’m looking for a visualization solution and would really love to know the advice the book will provide.

  • I would love this book until it felt smothered and needed some time to think.

  • I have trouble seeing over my virtual dashboard. When I’m in my car, I can use the phone book. However, I don’t own any good, thick e-books yet!

  • I’ve been struggling with coming up with the $$ to purchase a copy. I’ve been working on some data visualizations to help my community determine elementary school locations. I have the sense that some of the techniques in the book would help my effort.

    Thanks, in any case.


  • Dear Nathan,
    You are GOD. God please give me a free copy of this book.

  • Because i didn’t make a reptile reference. And i went to the trouble of typing this on a touch screen. Ugh!

  • Hi Nathan,

    I’m a soon-to-be PhD student so finances will be tighter and I could use some free stuff. I’m active on your YFD section and have helped find a bug there. Maybe the best reason you should give a free copy to me is because my visualizations are likely to help explain climate change to people. This is an important issue (not so funny though) and the more people learn about it the better, and that is what I intend to do during my PhD.

  • I’m out of work and attempting to increase my marketability. I’m fascinated by visualization methods, but need a good place to start (and I’m excited about learning Python).

  • John Garrett Martin July 24, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Python for free?!
    last time this happened we lost the dog.

    I need the book to help grieve the loss of my poor spot.

  • Please enter me in the raffle. It will be good for my mental health. They claim brain stimulation delays Alzheimers, and I’m an old white woman, already at risk.

  • Looking into the crystal ball…I can visualize a knot of slithering pythons. Could a free e-book be in my future?

  • I’m going to eat my third donut today. Please enter me in the raffle for this free book.

  • umm, because i really really want it?

  • and because of a freaky quirk of nature, i am posting this through bleary hungover eyes @ 9 AM on Saturday morning, and my comments are STILL happening here last night.. if thats not creative visualisation, then I don’t know what is :)

  • Seth Watson July 24, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    This book will be one of many steps of world domination. First learn python (already done), Second take data that no one likes and turn it into pretty pictures (aided by the book), Third in the midst of my graphs and analysis I will come up with conclusive proof that me running the world would make things a better place. Mathematiclly the logic will be flawless. The plan will be simple yet genius, and it will all start from this book. (Tear)

    Seriously, I’m a Com Sci geek who just wants to shore up my graphic skills with some practical data and analytic know how. Ruling the world… meh, don’t want the headache =)

  • IHelp me learn to dog-ear the pages of an e-book.

  • Because it is a random pick and I could be one of 5 lucky commenters. Yay and thanks!

  • I would like to win this book so I can develop infographic visualizations of the airspeeds of African vs European swallows. Both unladen and with coconuts if you must know.

  • I am getting old, and I need to see my Pythons better, so that I don’t mistakenly feed them something I shouldn’t.

  • I’m starting graduate school for a Masters program in Computation Sciences this fall. One of the two courses I’m taking is on scientific databases and visualizations, so, this book would definitely be put to use.


  • Michael Waisberg July 24, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    The copy should be mine because it visualized it in my shelve ;-) and visualizing data is everything. The rest are just details.

  • Because I have the look and cocky stride of a winner. Gimme.

  • Jules Miller July 24, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Donate to the arts! I’m a glass artist and numbers geek specializing in seemingly abstract art that is actually based on interesting statistics. I need a new way to visualize data so that I can make even more beautiful art and spread statistics love to the world!!

  • I have a pet snake that likes pickles. I need this so I can get him more pickles.

  • I had a chance to study information visualization while in graduate school. I instead chose information architecture. I wish now I had chosen differently, but with this book I guess it wouldn’t be too late to start learning about infoviz.

  • Always looking to expand my repetoire in the data visulaization space