I love this topic being that recently there has been a surge of new Ruby 
/ Rails books published.  Here are my two cents (and three books) that I 
whole heartedly recommend:

1. Agile Web Development For Rails, 2nd ed.

  Yes, I've read the comments of "but it's not RUBY Ruby", however I 
feel that it's a great intro to practical Ruby as well as exposing you 
to a great web development framework.  From here, I usually then point 
an aspiring mind to . . .

2.  Ruby For Rails

  This book is the perfect complement to the Agile book.  After gaining 
a basic understanding of Rails, you may start asking yourself questions 
of "ok, so how does that piece of code REALLY work?"  This book is great 
for getting into some of the guts of how Rails works as well as straight 
Ruby itself.  Instead of it just being a reference, the author really 
touches upon deeper aspects of Ruby in the abstract, such as why Ruby is 
such a great OOPL, the uses of singleton methods, and the dangers / 
practical uses of eval.  Overall you will gain tons of knowledge of Ruby 
through constant rereading of this book.

3.  The Ruby Way

  It was a tossup between this and the highly practical "Ruby Cookbook". 
The reason this one wins is that it provides a deeper view into Ruby. 
Instead of question -> recipe -> explanation, there's more of a 
conversational / almost philosophical approach to the reading (question 
-> solution -> explanation -> further explanation and insite).

Lastly, nothing beats these forums, IRC, and local Ruby meetings.  Check 
meetup.com or rubygarden to find a group close to you.  Probably one of 
the friendliest user communities you'll run by.  Have fun!

Best regards,

Eckie


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