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Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold

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Preface to the Paperback Edition

Code rattled around in my head for about a decade before I started writing it. As I was contemplating Code and then writing it, and even after the book was published, people would ask me, "What's the book about?"

I was always reluctant to answer this question. I'd mumble something about "a unique journey through the evolution of the digital technologies that define the modern age" and hope that would be sufficient.

But finally I had to admit it: "Code is a book about how computers work."

As I feared, the reactions weren't favorable. "Oh, I have a book like that," some people would say, to which my immediate response was, "No, no, no, you don't have a book like this one." I still think that's true. Code is not like ...

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