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Blockchain Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction in 25 Steps

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In 25 concise steps, you will learn the basics of blockchain technology. No mathematical formulas, program code, or computer science jargon are used.No previous knowledge in computer science, mathematics, programming, or cryptography is required. Terminology is explained through pictures, analogies, and metaphors.

This book bridges the gap that exists between purely technical books about the blockchain and purely business-focused books. It does so by explaining both the technical concepts that make up the blockchain and their role in business-relevant applications.

What You Will Learn:

• What the blockchain is
• Why it is needed and what problem it solves
• Why there is so much excitement about the blockchain and its potential
• Major components and their purpose
• How various components of the blockchain work and interact
• Limitations, why they exist, and what has been done to overcome them
• Major application scenarios

Who This Book Is For:

Everyone who wants to get a general idea of what blockchain technology is, how it works, and how it will potentially change the financial system as we know it.

270 pages, Paperback

First published March 16, 2017

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About the author

Daniel Drescher

1 book5 followers

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5 stars
249 (32%)
4 stars
316 (41%)
3 stars
161 (20%)
2 stars
32 (4%)
1 star
12 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 102 reviews
Profile Image for Muwaffaq.
138 reviews
August 23, 2017
The book is NOT entertaining. It is however one of the best books I have ever read in terms of explaining a complex idea or system. The continuous metaphors and repetition and summaries are what allow any somewhat patient reader to understand the basics of the blockchain with very very limited mathematics. It is not very long either. If you are interested in learning about the concepts behind the blockchain I cannot recommend this more highly
Profile Image for Elvin.
7 reviews
January 15, 2018
The book delivers the non-technical introduction it promises in a clear way with metaphors in each step. My most favourite metaphor in the book is the one where author explains how Blockchain algorithm implements consensus in a distributed peer to peer system. It compares it to the way dirt pavements are naturally evolved in parks in addition to existing pre-planned ones.

If you have a technical background and understand at least the basics of distributed systems and security(authentication, authorisation, asymmetric cryptography) you will find it too verbose to read. If you are someone familiar with these concepts I'd recommend to find a book that's more to the point and concise than this one so that you save your valuable time.

Another thing worth highlighting in my opinion is the outlines after each section. They are merely the repetition of what's described in the given section in a concise manner. I'd suggest reading the respective outline first before reading the section - that way you'll know if you really need to read the chapter.
Profile Image for Ahmad hosseini.
274 reviews67 followers
March 12, 2018
This book teaches the basic concepts that make up the blockchain in a nontechnical fashion and in a concise and comprehensible. It addresses the three big questions that arise when being introduced to a new technology: What is it? Why do we need it? How does it work?
It creates interesting metaphors for each of the major components that I liked them.
What is blockchain?
The blockchain is a purely distributed peer-to-peer system of ledgers that utilizes a software unit that consist of an algorithm, which negotiates the informational content of ordered and connected blocks of data together with cryptographic and security technologies in order to achieve and maintain its integrity.
With this definition, I do think that for the non-technical person, the second half of the book might be a challenge - it spends some time in some deeply technical concepts.
Profile Image for Steve Sarner.
Author 2 books352 followers
June 11, 2022
I've read or at least scanned numerous books on blockchain seeking a comprehensive yet concise and non technical yet thorough explanation of this technology and concept. Blockchain Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction in 25 Steps is by far and away the best of the bunch.

Like a class, the book goes step by step, starting out very basic and simple laying down fundamental computer science and database concepts in a very straightforward manner. This foundation allows the reader, particularly someone non technical like me, to get a sense of how the elements and logic comes together to create a blockchain.

I used and referenced this book extensively in writing my own book, Web3 Simplified - A Beginners Guide to Blockchain, Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, NFT's, the Metaverse and more aimed to help non technical people like me grasp Web3 terms and technology.

By far the best and actually only book where I actually "got it" when it comes to the concept of Blockchains.
534 reviews10 followers
February 19, 2018
This is a good introduction to the concept of blockchain. It covers the basics and creates interesting metaphors for each of the major components. I picked it up to give me an overview of the terms and logic blocks.

While it says it is in a conversational style, it actually is pretty dry. The first half is fast, while the second half begins to get thick as the concepts layer on top of one another. The book could have been condensed even further if it didn't stick to its structure, which lends itself to repeating things several times.

The book has given me a point to launch into other more detailed books on blockchain technology. This book steers as much as possible away from BitCoin, taking a more general approach to how blockchains are constructed. On to more books about the subject.
Profile Image for Amir.
214 reviews71 followers
January 10, 2022
لابد از بلاکچین پراکنده چیزهایی شنیده و خونده‌ین، این کتاب در ٢۵ گام یه سر و شکلی به دانش‌تون می‌ده. اگه هم آشناییتی هم ندارین، بنظرم کتاب خیلی مناسبی برای شروعه. هم توضیح غیرفنی و تصویر کلی‌ای بهتون می‌ده، از خود بلاکچین، اجزاش و تعریفی از مثلا سیستم توزیع‌‌شده و همتابه‌همتا و موضوع مالکیت و جلوتر امنیت و دشواری‌ها و ایرادات. یه بخش میانی داره که اصلا بلاکچین چه‌گونه داره کار می‌کنه، که درباره‌ی هش کردن و اعتبارسنجی و این‌ها فنی‌تر حرف می‌زنه. کتاب مدل درسنامه‌ها اول هر گام می‌گه که قراره درباره‌ی چی حرف بزنه، مثالی ساده و استعاری از موضوع ارائه می‌ده و بعد توضیح اصلی و فنی و درنهایت خلاصه‌ی بخش و چشم‌انداز.
Profile Image for Javier Lorenzana.
102 reviews30 followers
August 9, 2019
Blockchain Basics does exactly what it sets out to do. It presents a non-technical introduction to blockchain technology in a way that is very easy to understand. Its use of metaphors for each component of the blockchain data-structure makes it very understandable to the average reader.

Beyond this, it also dives into the potential applications for blockchain technology, its limitations, and how these can eventually be overcome. It also paints a very guided - yet optimistic - future with this technology in mind.

Profile Image for Mohamed .
19 reviews
December 6, 2019
Very basic. Good for beginners. It doesn't cover all the topics about blockchain.
Profile Image for Warren Mcpherson.
193 reviews30 followers
October 2, 2018
Probably a good introduction for people who are uncomfortable with bitcoin but want to understand blockchain technology.
The descriptions are a bit abstract, the first chapters are "terminology and technical foundations" and "thinking in layers and aspects". Systematic descriptions of critical ideas have a satisfyingly thorough feel. The chapters are short with pretty good descriptions. It is sometimes not clear that most of the ideas have a history of their own. For instance "gossip" is used as an analogy for the communications protocol, but the reader might not realize that the "Gossip Protocol" has a history of its own. The whole book is presented as a study in abstract ideas. This is fine but it would often be easy to give pointers on how the reader might expand on each idea.
I think many people would benefit from a more direct approach. But I know there are people who don't want to know about bitcoin who might benefit from this book. Ironically it does not get into smart contracts or alternate consensus mechanisms but sticks to the technology used in bitcoin.
This book is pretty short and simple.
Profile Image for Oskar Díaz.
29 reviews5 followers
May 2, 2018
Acabo de hacer un par de entrevistas en una empresa dedicada a la gestión de cryptomonedas. Al final han pasado de mi ojete, pero el asunto me ha interesado bastante hasta el punto de ponerme a leer libros sobre Blockchain como este.

Blockchain es una tecnología, una arquitectura, un diseño, una idea de un genio con mucho tiempo libre que se basa en internet, en posibilitar una gestión descentralizada de información donde la autenticidad, la integridad y la seguridad se puedan garantizar sin necesidad de tener un servidor central o una empresa detrás. Una especie de torrent-emule P2P colaborando entre todos, pero en vez de para compartir ficheros, para compartir, generar y supervisar transacciones de todo tipo.

Este libro es el primero de una larga lista que tengo hecha y te va introduciendo paso a paso en numerosos conceptos que te deben al menos sonar antes de ponerte con el meollo. Está muy bien explicado incluso para alguien que, como yo, no tenía prácticamente ni puta idea de nada.
16 reviews
May 30, 2021
Delivers what it promises. For someone who had no clue what a blockchain is, this book was great. The constant metaphors and non technical explanations of complex concepts definitely help in developing a pretty good understanding of the bigger picture and what goes on under the hood.

This book can be read and understood by someone who doesn't have any computer science knowledge, however they might find it difficult when topics like digital signatures and hash values come about. But the author still manages to explain them very well.

Id recommend this book to anyone starting out in the crypto world or more generally, the distributed peer to peer system world. Because majority of people would think blockchain = cryptocurrencies when in reality cryptocurrencies are just one tiny offspring that utilises the concept of a blockchain. So understanding blockchains first was definitely the right move before getting into understanding cryptocurrencies.
Profile Image for Boukman Bastia.
122 reviews21 followers
April 5, 2023
A cyclical read?

I just got done listening to this for the first time on Audible, 16:32:38 Wednesday the 5th of April 2023

It was a good read, honestly, I was going through so much at the time that I was not able to fully process everything. At some points, I felt like they were talking about the same topics over and over again. I think it is partially from knowing the basic concepts from other books, and maybe it was an editing issue where the same sentences were read over.
December 29, 2021
Definitely a good read for someone completely new to the world of blockchains.
The only piece missing to give a complete basic overview, in my opinion, is an explanation of UTXO/Account models and how transactions actually work.
Profile Image for Bill Powers.
Author 3 books89 followers
February 23, 2021
I was looking for a good introduction to blockchain technology and found this book very useful.
Profile Image for Arjit Yadav.
14 reviews
June 2, 2021
Overall a good start for people longing to understand how blockchain works and what is all it’s methodologies. There are other books which give a good start with more knowledge on the cryptocurrencies part, as this one just gives a good foundation on blockchain tech only.
Profile Image for Conrad Mason.
137 reviews3 followers
December 11, 2017
a great intro to the blockchain for someone who is not to technically minded
Profile Image for Kin Guan.
70 reviews1 follower
October 31, 2021
Clear and concise. The metaphor in each chapter is apt and illustrate a key concept very well. Explanation is not technical yet illuminating.
204 reviews4 followers
September 22, 2018
I found the content of this book great for beginners like me. It helped me understand the intricacies of blockchain data structure.

The author starts by conveying the limitations of centralized systems and segues into why a distributed architecture is required. Before describing a blockchain components, the author provides an analogy of real world example which definitely helped me perceive those concepts to a greater extent.

Chapters on hashing and the hash puzzle are explained in extremely simple steps. A walk through regarding the public and private key algorithm is also illustrated in a non-technical and comprehensible manner.

There are diagrams that show how the components of the blockchain data structure are layered over each other. I found these image really helpful in knowing the dependent sub-components and will also act as a quick reference when you want to recall / refresh your knowledge.

What started by showing the limitations of centralized systems, ends by describing the limitations of blockchain data structure / pure distributed architecture, there by completing the circle.
April 2, 2019
Here is a short review of the Blockchain book by Mr. Drescher:
In 25 logical steps Daniel builds up the understanding of a highly complex subject matter! And the clarity and straightforwardness of those steps, using everyday concepts as a basis, helps tremendously to fully grasp the uniqueness of a highly promising technology (primarily software pls. certain mathematical-cryptographic underpinnings).

Blockchain is the basis for cryptocurrencies and digital assets but for many other applications as well, wherever authorisation/authenticity/identification needs, trust and counterfeit issues are to be solved.

Innovative problem solving in many areas of society and in the economy as a whole will be implemented with BC, thus making big leaps forward. And blockchain enables a distributed internet (web 3.0) in the near future. Cryptocurrencies were just the beginning.

Cudos to Daniel!
Profile Image for Lisa Neo.
5 reviews
May 25, 2017
Though this book is a non-technical book but I can't help get quite hung up on the definition or terminologies in the first 3 chapters. And some concepts can be misleading to non-technical readers. For example, in chapter 4, author talks about integrity threat in P2P systems, citing technical failures as 1 of 2 threats for distributed system. But technical failures is a threat to any system, distributed or centralised.

I'm still reading but am wondering if it's worth reading. This book is still on technology, so mimimally I still except the technical concepts be conveyed correctly, and not misleading.
156 reviews7 followers
December 20, 2019
This is one of the most fulfilling books I ever read, it’s manifestation of explaining a complex idea or system is well done. Although the topic is more computer related, the writer finds very comprehensive ways to get his ideas into the mind of the reader by giving day-today explanations.
I’m more into reading about cryptocurrency, and had in mind that if I read about the blockchain it would be only one book, and it couldn’t been a better book to purchase and read. At first it’s a bit puzzling, but with time the dots connect and you get a pretty clear idea of how blockchain works and why is its resistance is flawless.
3 reviews1 follower
March 26, 2018
I like this books alot!!
i'm starting to read about blockchain. This book is an amazing introduction to the technology and how it works. It's chapters are short and simple. Unlike other books on the same topic, you dont feel lost reading this book.

It's kinda technical in the sense that it shares with you broadlines. If you're interested to know, it makes it very easy to point you to the right direction.

I will definetly recommend this as the very first book to read on the topic, but shouldnt be your last ;)
Profile Image for Jim Olson.
14 reviews1 follower
August 8, 2018
This was my 3rd "what the heck is this Blockchain thing?" book. The 1st 2 were very basic, and this was a great follow-up to them, going into more detail about the nuts-and-bolts without it being a truly technical/know-how dissertation. I'm an IT professional just trying to get a grasp on the technology to see if there is any reason I should give it any more mind-share for work - or if we can just ignore it. Especially after reading the equivalent of "Blockchain for dummies" (but not literally) first, this was a great deeper dive without being a how-to book.
Profile Image for Andrew Pratley.
334 reviews7 followers
April 10, 2018
A very clearly explained introduction into the emerging world of Blockchain. Since this innovation will influence much of how our future lives are lived & organized it is really worth the effort to understand both the idea of it & its implications for all of us.

We could be moving into an era of less centralization & much greater decentralization. A world encompassing more choice & greater freedom. The Blockchain is designed with a view of helping us to get there.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Aldwin Susantio.
86 reviews3 followers
September 30, 2022
Good book for those who are new to blockchain.

This book explain :
(+)many concepts related to blockchain
(+)Brief explanation of how blockchain work
(+)Advantage and disadvantage of blockchain
(+)Applications of blockchain
(+)Challenges to implement blockchain

The explanation is easy to understand and using parable, so readers with no technical background can understand this book. Overall, this book successfully satisfy my curiousity about blockchain.
1 review1 follower
May 4, 2021
Quite slow if you're a software engineer, but reasonably thorough. Overall, the metaphors used to explain concepts are good, but there were a few cases where if I hadn't already been familiar with how that aspect of the blockchain worked, I believe their metaphor would have increased confusion.

If you spend the time to read and understand this book, you'll have a meaningful understanding of why the blockchain was created, how it works, and many ideas for what it can be used for.
2 reviews
April 12, 2018
Well written book on Blockchain technology for non-technical readers, or technical readers who just want a high level understanding of the technology. If you are already familiar with distributed systems, public key encryption, digital authorization and publishing, you can probably skip 1/3 of the book.
21 reviews
July 26, 2019
This is the best general explanation of blockchain technology that I've encountered to date.

Despite the sub-title, there is a good technical breakdown of the blockchain's operation (if not taken to the level of code). The author also describes the blockchain's purpose, component parts, drawbacks, areas of potential improvement, and use cases.
125 reviews1 follower
July 25, 2021
very dry, didn't like the conversational style, desperately needed an editor.

this book was somehow simultaneously too high level and too detailed (and, imo, each in the wrong places).

there's so much preview and summarization in this book, it could easily be 1/3 as long if that was all dropped and simply the actual content remained.
Profile Image for Akshay Sapre.
25 reviews7 followers
May 22, 2018
This book explains all the basic concepts. If you are new to computer science and do not understand the basic concept such as Cryptography, hashing, etc. This book is for you.
The best part of this book is it explains all the concept in very simple language.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 102 reviews

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