Below are resources I find useful, site documentation, and my reading list. Items below have been explicitly read/used by me.

This section is undergoing reprogramming so that books and resources are displayed neatly. My reading list is not complete and will be updated once I get around to it after the A-level May/June series of exams.

Useful Resources

  • The Art + Science of PCB Design @ MIT
    Open-source resources for learning PCB design.

  • NandGame.com
    Cool game that teaches computer architecture in a fun way, start with only two logic gates and from there build a complete computer. This resource is free.
  • Turing Complete
    Another cool game that teaches computer architecture in a fun way through puzzles, paid but very worth it.
  • Nand2Tetris.org
    Offers a course that allows you to build a 16-bit complete general purpose computer from the logic gates up using HDL in part 1, and part 2 teaches you on creating your own compiler assembler and creating some programs on it. The course is offered for free on coursera.org.

Site Documentation

Site documentation is available here.

Reading List

Electronics, Physics, and Mathematics

The Art of Electronics 3rd Edition by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill
A very good book giving a detailed yet non-boring overview of a huge range of electronics that provides a great introduction to making practical electronic devices.

The Art of Electronics: The X Chapters by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill
Additional chapters that have been omitted due to the huge length of the first book.

An Introduction to Mechanics 2nd Edition by Daniel Kleppner and Robert J. Kolenkow
Great book detailing A-level mechanics topics in the first few chapters and then 1st semester of university applied physics classes. Known infamously as MIT’s Mechanics for Masochists for the class 8.012.

Electricity and Magnetism 3rd Edition by Edward Mills Purcell and David J. Morin
Another great book if you have specific questions regarding A-level physics and would like to go beyond the syllabus and have them answered to an undergraduate level of physics.

Numerical Mathematics and Computing 4th Edition by E. Ward Cheney and David R. Kincaid
Useful for integrating niche and specific mathematics with computer programming, quite interesting to follow how the maths is integrated into code. While it is currently in the 7th edition, the 4th edition would be a good starting place for undergraduates as it is priced quite a bit lower than the 7th edition.

Computer Architecture

But How Do It Know? - The Basic Principles of Computers for Everyone by J. Clark Scott
An extremely useful book for learning computer architecture from first principles, helped me begin designing my own 16-bit computer by using the general idea of how a computer is exactly made right down to the logic gates. It also addresses the short-comings of A-level Computer science where they integrate too much “ICT” related information such as networking/communication and too little about computer architecture in my opinion.

The Elements of Computing Systems: Building a Modern Computer from First Principles by Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken
Complements the course that is offered here, again another great book giving the construction of computer from first principles. It includes the Design of the HACK 16-bit general computer which the authors have developed in HDL.

Digital Computer Electronics by Albert P. Malvino and Jerald A Brown An invaluable resource for those interested in computer architecture from the ground up. Offers deep dive into the inner workings of computers, helping readers understand how they are constructed, from logic gates to more complex components.

Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology by Chris Miller

Stoicism and Philosophical Premises

Enchiridion of Epictetus by Epictetus
Offers practical wisdom for a virtuous life, emphasizing control over emotions, resilience, and inner tranquility. Provides valuable insight into achieving self-mastery and balanced perspectives.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Structured as a set of personal notes, the emperors sayings are quite useful as insight into one’s own way of living. While most sections of notes may not be applicable, some sections can help foster self-reflection in one’s self.

Existentialism and our History

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and Derek Perkins
The book provides an overview of the history of Homo sapiens, the species to which modern humans belong. It presents a comprehensive and thought-provoking account of human history, from the emergence of Homo sapiens in Africa to the present day. Please read this before The Precipice as it really does give a “big-idea” style picture in your mind.

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity by Toby Ord “If all goes well, human history is just beginning. Our species could survive for billions of years - enough time to end disease, poverty, and injustice, and to flourish in ways unimaginable today.” While there are aspects that I do not agree with, it is a brilliant book by a brilliant author and definitely worth reading even if you disagree with what Toby Ord says as it really does get you thinking. I have also made a review in the blog here

Mechanical Design

Build Your Own Metal Working Workshop From Scrap by David J. Gingery
This series of books covering starting from basically nothing and creating precision machining tools through a set of 7 projects. You are able to buy in a combined book where all the books have been incorporated into one mega book or as a set of 7 separate books with each book coressponding to a separate project. The books are as follows:

  • The Charcoal Foundry
  • The Metal Lathe
  • The Metal Scrapper
  • The Milling Machine
  • The Drill Press
  • The Dividing head & Deluxe Accessories
  • Designing & Building the Sheet Metal Brake The 7th book is not really part of the series but can still be made if needed in your workshop. The books also have detailed technical drawings and BOMs allowing you to easily replicate what is in the books.

Just for Fun

Beyond the Lines by Daisuke Tajima
Awesome illustrations of immense scale and intensity, really gets you thinking sometimes.

The Entire Middle Earth series of books by J.R.R. Tolkien
While it is possible to read the whole of the Middle Earth Series is order of publication, it would make the most sense to read in chronological order of events:

  • The Silmarillion (1977)
  • Beren and Luthien (2017)
  • The Children of Hurin (2007)
  • The Fall of Gondolin (2018)
  • Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth (1980)
  • The Hobbit (1937)
  • The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)
  • The Two Towers (1954)
  • The Return of the King (1955)

If you do not have time to read the entire Middle Earth Series or would just like to read the books before you watch the Lord of the Rings movies (and now TV show), I would recommend to read the following books in chronological order:

  • The Hobbit (1937)
  • The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)
  • The Two Towers (1954)
  • The Return of the King (1955)

If you would like the entire history of the all of Middle Earth read the following books, they are not in order as the books take place in different time periods:

  • The Book of Lost Tales, Part I (1983)
  • The Book of Lost Tales, Part II (1983)
  • The Lays of Beleriand (1985)
  • The Shaping of Middle-earth (1986)
  • The Lost Road and Other Writings (1987)
  • The Return of the Shadow (1988)
  • The Treason of Isengard (1989)
  • The War of the Ring (1990)
  • Sauron Defeated (1992)
  • Morgoth’s Ring (1993)
  • The War of the Jewels (1994)
  • The Peoples of Middle-earth (1996)
  • The History of Middle-earth Index (2002)
  • The Nature of Middle-earth (2021)

Some last notes to make would be that The Silmarillion was quite a challenging read for me so I listened to it as an audiobook while following the text in a physical copy of the book. It should also be noted that The Fall of Numenor (2022) was recently released, it contains the same text as the books The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth, The History of Middle-earth, and The Nature of Middle-earth but has some additional art done to supplement the text.