A couple years ago I was very new to hardware hacking, hadn't touched a solder in over a decade, never used an Arduino or Raspberry Pi.I wanted to play around with an Arduino but I didn't know where to begin. In the Fall of 2012 I joined Tindie as the first employee; Tindie is a marketplace for all things electronics (printed circuit boards to robots to drones) and that fueled my interest in hardware even more.I'm a software engineer, love programming and preferred to program in Python on my Arduino instead of learning another new languague. This was partially because all the cool third party libaries I love have Python bindings.Arduinos are awesome! But an Arduino doesn't in and of itself do anything. In some ways it's like a whiteboard: the whiteboard doesn't write on itself, it’s what you do with the whiteboard that makes it a useful tool.This is why Arduino is called a platform. It enables you to build all kinds of amazing things, but it's a blank canvas.If you feel the need to purchase a book and have no electronics background I would suggest Getting Started with Arduino. It's very basic and I read it cover-to-cover in one afternoon.