Charles Petzold's Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software is widely recommended as one of the best books about how computers work.
Computers are everywhere, most obviously in our laptops and smartphones, but also our cars, televisions, microwave ovens, alarm clocks, robot vacuum cleaners, and other smart appliances. Have you ever wondered what goes on inside these devices to make our lives easier but occasionally more infuriating?
For more than 20 years, readers have delighted in Charles Petzold's illuminating story of the secret inner life of computers, and now he has revised it for this new age of computing. Cleverly illustrated and easy to understand, this is the book that cracks the mystery. You'll discover what flashlights, black cats, seesaws, and the ride of Paul Revere can teach you about computing, and how human ingenuity and our compulsion to communicate have shaped every electronic device we use.
No previous experience required; you just have to do the reading, and think about it.
Please read (at least) the first half, and come prepared with observations, questions, etc.