We often get asked to recommend a good book about Bitcoin, but there is no one book that will help someone understand all of the various aspects of Bitcoin from the design and technology to the game theory, history and economics of it all.
This is why learning about Bitcoin is described as going down the rabbit hole; as you learn about one aspect it motivates you to go further down, learning about the next related subject and it just keeps going.
So whilst this is not an exhaustive list, here are our top 10 books for someone new to Bitcoin.
See the rabbit hole
A short, well written read that gets straight to the point of how the only limited resource is human time, on average only 600,000 hours each. Valuing your time is the first step to improving your life. Knowing that your time is the only limited resource makes you more selective about the things you do, the people you spend your time with and the assets you choose to store your wealth in.
Possibly one of the most highly recommended reads amongst Bitcoiners. Ammous takes you on an engaging journey through the history of technologies performing the functions of money since the start of time; from primitive systems of trading limestones and seashells, to metals, coins, the gold standard, and modern government debt with the final chapter delving into Bitcoin as an alternative to central banks.
The Internet of Money delves into the ‘why’ of Bitcoin. Antonopoulos has been publicly speaking about Bitcoin since 2013 and quickly became one of the most well known educators and speakers in the space. This series of three books contains many of his talks and essays explaining why Bitcoin is a financial and technological evolution and its philosophical, social and historical implications.
Stick your head in the rabbit hole
Getting more technical with this great fully illustrated, jargon free, step-by-step guide to Bitcoin which opens up its powerful distributed ledger system, exploring the technology that enables applications both for Bitcoin based financial transactions and using the blockchain for registering physical property ownership. You’ll discover how Bitcoin mining works, how to accept bitcoin, how to participate in the Bitcoin network, and how to set up a wallet.
Booth, a leading thinker and CEO in e-commerce and technology for 20 years, excellently details the technological and economic realities shaping our present and our future, and the choices we face as we go forward, truly opening your eyes. Technological advances are happening at a rate faster than our ability to understand them, these advances bring efficiency and abundance—and they are profoundly deflationary and worth understanding.
Since its first publication in 1975, it has become the classic history of the bizarre and frightening times post WWI and leading up to 1923 when the Weimar Republic (Germany) went through hyperinflation. Weaving analysis of the dark, long term legacy, with a wealth of eyewitness accounts by ordinary people struggling to survive against the government's dangerous addiction to printing money when faced with growing unrest and unemployment, it still serves as a warning to us today.
Go down the rabbit hole
Antonopoulos delves into the ‘how’ of Bitcoin now, fully getting under the hood, guiding you through the seemingly complex world of Bitcoin, providing the knowledge you need to participate in the internet of money. It may be a reasonably ‘technical’ guide but you don’t have to be a tech wizard to understand and learn about many of Bitcoins technical foundations that are thoroughly and well explained here.
The Satoshi Nakamoto persona exists only in the online publications that introduced and explained Bitcoin during its earliest days and you can trawl through these on the forums. Making it easier to digest, Champagne has collected and professionally published for the first time the essential writings that detail Bitcoin’s creation. Providing a convenient way to parse through what Bitcoin’s creator wrote over the span of the two years that constituted his “public life" before he disappeared from the Internet.
It can be hard understanding a lot of Bitcoin’s history, specifically around the blocksize debate. Bier covers Bitcoin’s blocksize war, waged from Aug 2015 to Nov 2017. On the surface the battle was about the amount of data allowed in each Bitcoin block, however it exposed much deeper issues, such as who controls Bitcoin’s protocol rules. Learn about the history and major players in Bitcoin XT, Classic, Unlimited and the SegWit2x debates and why a user activated soft fork (UASF) is important.
The Sovereign Individual details strategies necessary for adapting financially to the next phase of Western civilization. Davidson and Rees-Mogg explore the greatest economic and political transition in centuries, the shift from an industrial to an information-based society, which they have termed "the fourth stage of human society". This outstanding book will replace false hopes and fictions with new understanding and clarified values.
If these aren’t enough for you, there are still more great books to read to broaden your understanding of not just Bitcoin, but the wider world and yourself. A few new releases are coming soon that we’re excited about and the quality of Bitcoin reading material overall is only getting better.
Reading can be likened to Bitcoins proof of work mining where reading is the work and knowledge is the proof, so get to mining!