Book Review : CODE – Charles Petzold

If you are coming from pre .NET era of programming, I’m sure you should encounter this name: Charles Petzold or at least the book ‘Programming Windows’. In those days he was a ‘superstar’ on Windows Programming and VC++. When I browse through a book shop in San Francisco last year I chanced upon one of his book ‘CODE – The hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software’.


I grabbed and purchased the book without a second thought though a bit costly for my standard ($18.00. Though Leigh’s Books San Francisco has good collection of used books,

I couldn’t find one for CODE. Nobody will ever sell this book. So I purchased the only remaining copy in there). I read the book in one week without placing it down. And Petzold again proved that he’s still superstar in this new generation.

I took the book for reading the second time last week. Code is a book about how computers work. I’m sure no one can resist the temptation of completing the book at once. The roller-coaster ride starts from the cover page itself. The name ‘CODE’ written in four representations in a white background .viz. English, Morse code, Braille, and binary coded ASCII. It’s very basic that he’s explaining the Morse codes and Braille and developing the concepts to binary codes and number representations. He has very well explained binary representations using flash light bulb circuits. He greatly explained logic circuits, flip-flops, memories and even shown how to build a binary adding machine gradually in each chapters.

Though the books technical Petzold has ingeniously infused history of computers and evolution of programming languages in this wonderful book. Every software professional should have this book in their shelf in a handy place.

I’m rating this 10/10.


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