I’m totally obsessed with Code by Charles Petzold. The book starts out with very simple concepts, two kids trying to send a signal after bedtime to each other across the street. The author examines the various methods they could try and then goes into the methodology and history of Morse code. From there he branches out to an explanation of our base ten system of numbers and what would have happened if we didn’t have 1o fingers but instead had two flippers like a dolphin. It’s truly the most basic and yet the most clear explanation of binary or base two systems that I’ve ever come across. He then goes into basic electric circuits using a flashlight as an example.
I love how he takes seemingly abstract concepts and turns them into everyday examples that your mind can “latch onto” and remember. The next section deals with logic gates and, get this, kittens. Who doesn’t love a kitten? I think that 3/4 of the Internet is made up of kittens so it only makes sense. I haven’t finished the book, but flipping through the back, it seems to get much more technical as it progresses but I’m sure it will be amazing.
The book was published in 2000, so it shows its age a little when discussing chip speed and the sort of memory that is commercially available. However, he makes some predictions about the future that seem pretty darn accurate. Anyway, for anyone looking to truly understand exactly how a chip adds numbers, I totally recommend this book. I’ll be back with a longer review once I finish.