About the Explainer's Guides

The Explainer's Guides are a series of short introductions to topics that I, and hopefully, you find engaging. All books introduce the subject from scratch with minimal expectations on background knowledge. I enjoyed writing them, and I hope you enjoy reading them.

Number Sets (2022)

An Explainer's Guide

This book is about number sets, specifically, the kinds of numbers that mathematicians, scientists, and engineers work with daily. Many of the number sets are undoubtedly familiar to you, though you may not use them by their names: the natural numbers, whole numbers, integers, and rationals (fractions). Others are less often used, and some are downright strange but have utility in certain places. Nevertheless, all are worth knowing.

By the end of the book, you’ll know the names, characteristics, and relationships between the major types of numbers. Additionally, you’ll have a good idea of where our number system came from and why it isn’t the least bit special.

Along the way, you’ll learn about sets, operations on sets, and even basic terminology from number theory and abstract algebra. Don’t be concerned if the terms are unfamiliar; they'll be explained to you as you go.

Computer Programming (2022)

An Explainer's Guide

Computers are everywhere, from obvious ones like those on our desks and in our phones to less obvious ones like those in our cars and washing machines. We use computers daily, but often in the way we use a microwave; we know how to use it, but we have no solid concept of what goes on under the hood.

We may be aware that computers are general-purpose machines, that they can be instructed to act in different ways. The same general computer architecture, for example, controls your television, microwave, and car. What’s different between these examples, at a superficial level, is the program, the set of instructions telling the computer how to interact with its environment.

Therefore, computer programming, the act of instructing a computer to perform a task, is the key that makes computers useful. Change the instructions while keeping the machine the same, and you go from a web browser to a word processor to a video game.

This book is for everyone who wants to learn more about what goes on under the computer’s hood and how to harness that power for your own purposes. If you are curious about how computers are controlled, this book is for you. All you need to bring to the table is your curiosity.

This book introduces the core concepts behind computer programming. By the end of the book, you’ll know the following:

  • What are the major components of a computer system.

  • What it means to program a computer using a programming language.

  • How the five fundamental control structures work.

  • How to write computer programs in Python, a popular programming language.

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