But How Do It Know?: The Basic Principles of Computers for Everyone

but how do it know

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of computers and explore the book “But How Do It Know?: The Basic Principles of Computers for Everyone” written by J Clark Scott. This book review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the key concepts covered in the book and shed light on its significance for readers interested in understanding the basic principles of computers. So, let’s embark on this enlightening journey!


But How Do It Know?: The Basic Principles of Computers for Everyone by J Clark Scott

“But How Do It Know?: The Basic Principles of Computers for Everyone” by J Clark Scott is an exceptional book that demystifies the complex world of computers and makes it accessible to all. The author takes a reader-friendly approach to explain the fundamental principles behind computer operations, making it an ideal resource for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

Chapter 1: The Essence of Computers

What Makes Computers Tick?

Computers are remarkable devices that have revolutionized the modern world. But how do they actually work? This question forms the foundation of our understanding of computers. The book dives into the essence of computers, unraveling their inner workings and shedding light on their core components.

Inside the Machine

To comprehend how computers function, it is crucial to explore the various components that constitute a computer system. The book provides an in-depth analysis of the central processing unit (CPU), memory, input/output devices, and other essential hardware components. By understanding these building blocks, readers can grasp the magic that unfolds within the machine.

Chapter 2: The Language of Computers

Binary Code: A Digital Language

Computers communicate through a language of their own known as binary code. This chapter explores the binary system, which relies on the representation of data using only two digits: 0 and 1. Understanding binary code is crucial for comprehending how computers store and process information.

Logic Gates: The Building Blocks

Logic gates are the elemental components of digital circuits. These gates perform logical operations on binary inputs and generate binary outputs. By examining logic gates and their behavior, readers gain insight into the fundamental operations that underpin computer logic.

Chapter 3: From Logic Gates to Complex Operations

Arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU)

The Arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU) is a vital component of the CPU responsible for executing arithmetic and logical operations. This section of the book explores the ALU in detail, explaining how it performs calculations and manipulates data to produce desired results.

Control Unit: The Brain of the Computer

The Control Unit serves as the brain of the computer, coordinating the activities of other components and ensuring the smooth execution of instructions. Understanding the control unit’s role is crucial for comprehending the internal workings of a computer system.

Chapter 4: The Power of Programming

Introduction to Programming

Programming is the process of instructing computers to perform specific tasks. This chapter introduces readers to the world of programming, discussing programming languages, syntax, and the importance of algorithms in developing efficient solutions.

Machine Language and Assembly Language

Machine language and assembly language are low-level programming languages that directly communicate with the computer hardware. The book provides insights into these languages, allowing readers to understand the foundation upon which higher-level programming languages are built.

Chapter 5: Memory and Storage

Primary and Secondary Storage

Memory and storage are vital aspects of a computer system. This section explains the difference between primary and secondary storage, shedding light on the various technologies used for both types of storage.

Memory Hierarchy

The memory hierarchy is a concept that categorizes different types of memory based on their characteristics and proximity to the CPU. Understanding the memory hierarchy helps optimize computer performance and enhance data access speeds.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What makes “But How Do It Know?: The Basic Principles of Computers for Everyone” unique?

A: This book stands out due to its exceptional ability to simplify complex concepts and make them accessible to readers from all backgrounds. The author’s expertise and clear writing style make it a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the basics of computers.

Q: Is prior knowledge of computers required to benefit from this book?

A: No, this book assumes no prior knowledge of computers. It starts from the basics and gradually builds a strong foundation, making it suitable for beginners.

Q: How does this book compare to other computer-related books in the market?

A: “But How Do It Know?: The Basic Principles of Computers for Everyone” distinguishes itself by focusing on fundamental principles rather than delving into intricate technical details. It provides a solid understanding of computers without overwhelming the reader with excessive jargon.

Q: Can this book serve as a textbook for academic courses?

A: While it is not intended as a textbook, this book can certainly supplement academic courses in computer science or serve as a valuable resource for self-study.

Q: Are there any practical exercises or hands-on activities included in the book?

A: Yes, the book includes practical exercises and activities to reinforce the concepts discussed. These interactive elements enhance the learning experience and help readers apply their knowledge.

Q: How does the author’s teaching background contribute to the book’s quality?

A: J Clark Scott’s experience as a computer science professor shines through in the book’s pedagogical approach. His ability to simplify complex concepts and explain them clearly stems from years of teaching experience.


“But How Do It Know?: The Basic Principles of Computers for Everyone” by J Clark Scott is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to gain a comprehensive understanding of computers. The book’s accessible writing style, coupled with its focus on fundamental principles, ensures that readers can grasp the core concepts without feeling overwhelmed. Whether you are a beginner or an enthusiast, this book is a must-read. So, embark on this enlightening journey and expand your knowledge of computers.