This simple book is meant to get you started in programming. The title says it's the hard way to learn to write code, but it's actually not. It's only the "hard" way because it uses a technique called instruction. Instruction is where I tell you to do a sequence of controlled exercises designed to build a skill through repetition. This technique works very well with beginners who know nothing and need to acquire basic skills before they can understand more complex topics. It's used in everything from martial arts to music to even basic math and reading skills.
This book instructs you in Ruby by slowly building and establishing skills through techniques such as practice and memorization, then applying them to increasingly difficult problems. By the end of the book you will have the tools needed to begin learning more complex programming topics. I like to tell people that my book gives you your "programming black belt." What this means is that you know the basics well enough to now start learning programming.
If you work hard, take your time, and build these skills, you will learn to code.
I would like to thank Angela for helping me with the first two versions of this book. Without her I probably wouldn't have bothered to finish it at all. She did the copy-editing of the first draft and supported me immensely while I wrote it.
I also want to thank Rob Sobers for suggesting I make a Ruby version of my Python book and doing the initial work helping me convert it to use Ruby.
I'd also like to thank Greg Newman for doing the original cover art, Brian Shumate for early website designs, and all of the people who read this book and took the time to send me feedback and corrections.