Beginning Ruby was the first English language Ruby book specifically focused at teaching Ruby from the ground up. The first edition came out in early 2007. Other books did cover Ruby basics but weren't tutorial books, per se. There have been quite few books attempting to fill this hole since. One notable one would be David A Black's "The Well Grounded Rubyist." The Well Grounded Rubyist is a great book to learn about Ruby at a more technical level. It covers a lot of meta programming and structural stuff you'd find useful in higher end Ruby coding but.. it doesn't really cover the basics in any depth.
It is hard for me to sell my own book as I'm going to naturally be a little biased about it, but so far it has 27 5 star reviews on Amazon which go into pretty good detail about why it might be a good book for you. I'd say if you're a very experienced coder and confident about learning new languages, Beginning Ruby isn't really for you, and you should perhaps go with The Well Grounded Rubyist or the O'Reilly Ruby book. Beginning Ruby covers a lot of things from a basic level, even databases, SQL, network daemons, etc, and if you want to learn all of that stuff as you go, it's a good choice.
Author of Beginning Ruby (Apress): http://bit.ly/t31ag Editor of Ruby Inside and RubyFlow
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