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on 17 February 2016
I've read this book in my final year of Electronic Engineering degree, so I was already familiarized with all the concepts but the perspective that this book gives to the subject is so unique. I wish my course was taught in this way, I would understand it much better and faster. Even though I knew about all the content I still gained so much because I never thought about it this way. Is an amazing book and I couldn't put it down after I started. Plus the paper on this book is so amazing, don't buy the Kindle edition, only paperback.
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on 25 April 2017
Perhaps needs a new edition to ensure that younger readers connect properly with some of the analogies and examples but if you are happy to recall the heady year of 1999 when CDs were still state of the art then the solid, paced core of the book will delight anyone who wonders just how computers actually work. Just how do a bunch of electronic switches (albeit miniaturized and presented in their countless thousands on a single chip) get organised in such a way that they can load and execute programs? The answers are beautifully presented here at a level of detail that will satisfy the most demanding reader.
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on 25 April 2015
This is an exceptional book. Petzold's writing style and passion, combined with his intelligence and ambition to create a truly profound work, make this one of the finest books I have ever come across. I bought this looking for a greater understanding of programming concepts with the hope that I would better understand the internal processes of computers. What I actually received was a logical and scientific explanation of why computers are the way they are based on the human need to communicate using codes.

As an example of this book's greatness, it introduces the concept of binary mathematics through simple, intuitive examples (e.g. trying to communicate with someone in the dark using a torch). By the end of the first chapter you feel as though you understand the base-2 system—not as some kind of arbitrary standard chosen by figures from the past, but because of the immense power available from just two states (on/off, etc.). Petzold explains the logic behind Morse code and Braille, before one of the best introductions to basic physics I have ever read.

The greatest pleasure of this book, I think, is that after each chapter you never know whether you're going to learn about hardware or software—and that leads to the kind of excitement that can only be generated by a truly wonderful teacher. It is no exaggeration to say that this book is a masterpiece, and you should pick it up whether you're interested in understanding the inner workings of the technology inside the tools you use every day, or whether you want to continue your scientific education.
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on 8 May 2017
I would say this is very detailed and so useful for a good reference but definitely not something you would pick up and read - it is not what I thought.I wanted a book to learn from but I think you need to already know it to use this book and then use this to reinforce/further explain. NOT a beginners book.
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on 18 July 2017
Want a run down on the development of computers and an easy understanding of how they work? Get this! (It's all 0's and 1's and our ability to store vast quantities of them in small spaces). Really easy and absorbing read.
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on 17 June 2017
Very well written. As a network engineer I wanted to know more about the underlying fundamentals of computers. That I got. The beginning of the book may seem oversimplistic at first but it all comes together and it's all relevant. Charles Petzold teaches you to think of numbers in a different way to how you have been thinking of them your entire life, all necessary for you to truly understand the language of computer hardware and software.
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on 17 April 2014
In spite of having a few years of programming experience under my belt, I often felt frustrated at my lack of lower layer knowledge of computer function. This feeling was reinforced by my relative absence of mathematical or engineering knowledge so I felt a little apprehensive about tackling a book purported to explain the inner workings of computer.

However, thanks to the clear, ground-up approach of this book I didn't feel out of my depth or lost for a second, it assumes next to no prior knowledge of any of the concepts (though it definitely sped things along) and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone with an interest in how computers actually work.
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on 17 February 2017
Great until it gets complicated
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on 3 August 2016
A++
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on 1 August 2017
Starts well but then gets bogged down in extensive detail. Not really for amateurs or enthusiasts
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