Found in 5 comments on Hacker News
drivers99 · 2019-12-05 · Original thread
Peter Norton's Guide to the IBM PC was good, but his Assembly Language book [1] was why ASM ended up being my second language, after BASIC. Then again, that wasn't enough to know how to create working programs, at least not for a ~13 year old me. In the book, you at least learn some of it by typing in all the code for a hex editor written in pure assembly (which utilizes calls to MS-DOS system calls). It was pretty tedious, reminding me of how Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel karate through repetition. After learning C though, I was able to write a hex editor in an afternoon, thanks to really internalizing how it should work from typing in the assembly version. I wrote that just search for and then remove the passwords in the Star Wars: TIE Fighter game. (I must not have still had the assembly one anymore. Weird.)


DrPhish · 2017-02-16 · Original thread
If you are interested in assembly language concepts and don't mind something slightly archaic, I thoroughly enjoyed this book:

It goes through lessons that build up to a pretty good interactive disk editor (DSKPATCH) written entirely in x86 assembly.

Its the book that got 12 year old me out of the BASIC ghetto.

theoutlander · 2014-10-01 · Original thread
Agreed, but I like the simplicity when starting out since there's just so much. I'm reading Peter Norton's Assembly programming book from '87 to keep things super simple.


Do you have any recommendations?

skywhopper · 2014-03-18 · Original thread
This is a great resource, and the following is not a criticism, but an observation.

What I've found with most assembly language textbooks and online resources is that while the basics get covered well enough, the fundamental knowledge base is often skimmed over, as are the many assumptions and conventions that are made in how the CPU is supposed to work.

I first learned 8086 assembler from Peter Norton's book (, and more than any other resource, that taught me about how things actually work. It goes beyond just knowing the registers and the mnemonics and explains in a fantastically clear way all the implicit work that's going on behind the scenes, even in assembly code. From the stack to data segments and direct video control, I learned more about how computers work from this book than from my entire college Computer Science program. And I didn't even have an assembler to actually try any of the code at the time I read it.

I'm not sure if the book would still hold up from a practical perspective, as it does focus very much on MS-DOS-specific interrupts. So what I wonder is... is there a similar resource available today for learning what's going on behind the scenes in the modern 64-bit CPU on modern OSes?

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