Books are generally a poor medium for emerging technologies. The book industry operates at a glacial pace compared to most emerging technologies. By the time a book is published, the contents are invariably dated and the technology has probably already emerged. Nonetheless, here are a few books, or book-like publications, that cover the Lightning Network.
The Bitcoin Lightning Network, Poon & Dryja, Jan 2016, pdf. This is the seminal white paper that launched the concept of the lightning network. The early sections are invaluable for understanding the problems that the lightning network was designed to address. Required reading.
Hacking The Lightning Network – A Protocol to Scale Bitcoin, Jan 2019, Rene Pickhardt, pdf. This is a Creative Commons licensed open source book available on Github. Good section on electronic cash. While still useful, it has not been updated since January 2019.
Mastering the Lightning Network, Andreas Antonopoulos et al, not yet published (Late 2020). This book is being published by O’Reilly, a major technology publisher, which is an exciting indication that lightning network technology is developing significant awareness and momentum. Early drafts of this book are being made available on Github.
There are a few other books available on Amazon, none of which are recommended. The current Wikipedia page on the lightning network is quite the hodgepodge and is in desperate need of organization and more thorough editing.
There are several excellent Bitcoin books that provide the necessary background for understanding the lightning network. I think a manager in a corporation should have enough understanding of any new technology so that it doesn’t seem like magic. If they’re going to figure out appropriate strategies or tactical uses of a new technology, they have to look under the covers at least a little bit in order to see what claims are stupid and what claims are legitimate. Here are two that I recommend most frequently.
The Internet of Money, Andreas Antonopoulos, Aug 2016. It’s wildly enthusiastic — ‘Bitcoin will save the universe’ — but he’s not wrong half the time. He’s a great speaker and a great writer. If you want to understand why people are excited about Bitcoin and blockchain, this is the go-to book.
The Basics of Bitcoins, Antony Lewis, Sep 2018. This book covers a lot of ground. I think it’s the best introductory book available. It provides an excellent overview — without being over the top. The firm I co-founded, Flashstarts, is moving to corporate consulting, and this was the book I picked to recommend to our clients. This lays out the use cases for cryptocurrencies pretty well.