For this problem, a height-balanced binary tree is defined as:

a binary tree in which the left and right subtrees of *every* node differ in height by no more than 1.

This problem is an easy-level at Leetcode. I probably did it more than five times, once and once again. Just like a muscle memory.

However, I found an interesting solution today, which literally changed my mind about Python…

Here is the code:

# Definition for a binary tree node.
# class TreeNode:
# def __init__(self, val=0, left=None, right=None):
# self.val = val
# self.left = left
# self.right = right
class Solution:
def isBalanced(self, root: TreeNode, h = 1) -> bool:
if not root: return h
l = self.isBalanced(root.left, h + 1)
r = self.isBalanced(root.right, h + 1)
return abs(l - r) <= 1 and max(l, r)

I am very confused at the last line, the max(l, r) part.

I thought that max(l, r) should be converted as a bool value even it returns a integer type value, because as the second component of the operation AND, max(l, r) should represent as a bool variable.

Following by my worst idea, I supposed that the function isBalanced would return either 1 (True) or 0 (False). However, I found a crazy truth after experiments, that Python executor actually return a integer value (the maximum value of l and r) if abs(l – r) <= 1 is matched.

So, it really makes sense. Gain new knowledge of Python 🙂