You know how sometimes you come across a book and you go “I wish I had read this years ago!”. CODE is just that book. It’s a book about how computers work and the way in which Charles Petzold flows through the topics is pure artistry. Those electronics class lessons in college would have been much more interesting if I had read this book then ;)
The book starts off with two best friends trying to communicate from across the street using only flashlights. This is how the idea of ‘code’ is introduced. It then takes you through a journey involving Morse Code, Braille and how telegraphs and relays were used to send codes over long distances. For me, the most interesting part is when he starts building logic gates from relays and switches. This lays a solid foundation for things to come. These logic gates are then used to build half-adders, full-adders (using two half-adders), oscillators, flip-flops and latches; finally getting assembled into a unit of Random Access Memory. Towards the end, a simple computer with processing, input and output systems is designed. The book might be a little old but still very relevant.
The most amazing thing about this book? It teaches you concepts at such a fundamental level that your mind will be blown. And before you know it you will be building ripple counters from flip-flops! If you have anything to do with computers go read this book. You won’t be disappointed.