This book has two main aims. One is to teach the basics of electronics. The other is to serve as a guide to electronics hobbyists for setting up a lab to build stuff and experiment with circuits. It is the second aim which spurred me to purchase it. I think the best way to present this review is as a list of pros and cons of the book. Pros:
  1. As far as I can tell (mainly from work experience) without actually building anything following the book's directions, the advice given on setting up a workbench is correct, interesting and easy to follow. Since this is one of the main goals of the book, it's an important point in its favor.
  2. Basic electronics, up to and including BJTs are explained quite well - I think that any intelligent beginner can learn a lot from this book, even without prior experience. The author manages to leverage intuition in useful ways whenever possible, and doesn't get into the complex math you often see in textbooks on the subject.
  3. The book contains a lot of interesting and useful circuits to build, in specially designated "Circuit Porpourri" sections. After some point in the book, the author presents several circuits at the end of each chapter, explaining in brief what they do and specifying which components to purchase, and how to connect everything together.
  1. The author has made an unfortunate decision to use electron current flow (current flows from negative to positive) instead of the conventional current flow used almost universally throughout the industry. While electron flow is admittedly more correct in most cases, convention plays a strong role here, and the author should've followed it. Doesn't it feel funny for a beginner to read that "in the transistor, the current goes against the arrow"? Why against?
  2. Although the second edition is from 1990, the book is dated. This is clearly seen in the equipment photographs the author uses, as well as in some advice. For instance, AFAIK, no one uses paper catalogs for components these days - datasheets are downloaded from the web and catalogs are online too.
  3. After the chapter on BJTs, the wind ran out in the author's sails for clear explanations. MOSFETs are explained in a very sketchy way, and op-amps are left practically without any explanation at all. Nevertheless the author keeps piling up circuits assuming the reader will just learn this stuff in some other place?
That said, for $16 (darn cheap for books on Electronics) the book isn't a bad deal. Especially if you're looking into setting up your own electronics lab, this book can be a valuable first guide. I wouldn't recommend seriously attempting to learn electronics with it as the only source, though. In this aspect, this book can serve as only a basic introduction, with more serious texts being a must for deeper understanding of the more advanced concepts circuits.


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