Blockchain for Dummies

Tiana Laurence

Published by

John Wiley & Sons




Reviewed by

Patrick Hill


6 out of 10

Blockchain and related technologies such as digital currencies are recently receiving significant media attention, being hailed as the “fifth evolution” of computing. However, it can be a little hard to get a grasp on exactly what these technologies are, how they work, how they can be used and what kinds of applications they might have. Blockchain for Dummies, authored by a co-founder of a blockchain company, therefore seems an ideal title to help the uninitiated to begin to understand these new and relevant concepts.

The book is structured into five sections. An introductory section aims to apprise the reader of what blockchain is and why it is of interest. The following two sections review currently available blockchain implementations and respectively introduce key players in the blockchain space, identifying differences and similarities between them, and consider blockchain platforms. Section four is more speculative, giving the author's view of the potential future impacts of blockchain technologies on various industries. The final section gives practical advice on learning about and using blockchain.

In principle then, the book covers the key topics that would enable readers to start to get to grips with blockchain and cognate technologies, and indeed the book does contain a great deal of interesting and relevant content.

However, I felt that the book was let down by three key factors. Firstly, as a ‘for Dummies’ title, the text should assume the reader has little or no prior knowledge of the subject matter. However, in some cases, topics are referred to before being introduced, or in the case of ‘oracles’ without ever being introduced. Secondly, while the author is evidently knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the subject matter, I found her almost stream-of-consciousness writing style somewhat irritating and distracting. Often the narrative is presented as terse sentences, which sometimes seem to lack direction and repeat content. Finally, there are numerous typographical errors throughout the book which should have been edited out.

In summary, I think this is a useful introductory book, but there is plenty of scope for improvement.

Further information: John Wiley & Sons

November 2017