Review: The Art of Electronics [Book]

Title:  The Art of Electronics by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill.

 

Most electronics books are written by engineers, for engineers.  It is difficult to find an extremely comprehensive book which covers most Electronics subjects that is written in plain english.

This is that book.

Book Structure

The book’s chapters are broken out into logical sub-groups like “Foundations”, “Digital Electronics”, and “Microprocessors.”  There are 15 chapters and a number of appendixes with useful information.   Within each chapter information is broken out into a number of headings.  At the end of most chapters are “Circuit Ideas”, “Bad Circuit [examples]“, and Exercises.

The Good

Written for everyone

Granted I’m reading this book with 20 years of electronics experience.  However, I don’t think a novice would have any issue picking it up.  Worst case, it would take a couple passes through a section of information to fully understand the topic.  But what learning experience doesn’t have that?

I found the writing to be on par with same style I use in the AddOhms Tutorial Videos.  Of course, this isn’t to say my writing is as great as Horowitz and Hill.  They are true pros when it comes to this writing style.

Depth

Every electronics topic you could be interested in is covered in to some degree in this book.  Some areas may not be as detailed (or in some cases, out of date), there is enough information to do your own research to go to the next level.

You might ask, “can’t you get the same information from the Internet?”  And yes, of course you can.  However, I prefer to start here in this easily organized text first.  Then get additional or expanded details from Wikipedia and Google.

The Bad

Strength is a Weakness

While I love the idea of each chapter ending with exercises and bad circuit examples, there are no answers to those exercises in the book.  So you are left unsure if you got the exercise right or with an explanation to why the bad circuit, is a bad circuit.  Maybe there is a companion answer book or an online forum somewhere you can visit to check your work.  Regardless, the mental exercises are still useful as a check for your own understanding.

Published 1989

As of 2008, this book has been re-printed 22 times.  While no major breakthroughs have occurred in electronics, there are a few things that are out of date.  So what does it matter it is older?  Well…

Old Standards

The basics of components like NPN Transistors, Capacitors, and Resistors still remain the same, some other aspects of electronics have changed.  Especially in the area of Digital Electronics.  For example, the data communication section covers protocols(?) like Centronics, SCSI, and GPIB.

Okay… GPIB might still be relevant today in some lab environments.  (I just used it the other day).

Paper

As of today, the 2nd edition isn’t offered in a digital format.  Which is a shame because clocking in at over 1,000 pages, this book is begging for a Kindle edition.  And as a frequent traveler, I’d love to have a copy everywhere I go.

Conclusion

When I have access to the book, there isn’t a day I reference something in it.  As I stated above, it is my go-to reference for electronics.  Once I read what Art of Electronics has to say, then I do more research–those rare times I’m not satisfied.

The price tends to run about $100 USD.  Which might seem steep in the age of $0.99 Apps.  However, it won’t take long to recover the cost of the book.

I give it 4 out of 5 LEDs:  4 out of 5 LEDs

 

If you’d like to buy it, it’s available from most electronics shops, like Adafruit.

You can also use this link to buy from Amazon.

written by

Capacitor Expert by Day, Enginerd at Night. On paper I have a EE which I use to make things blink, beep, and fly. I created and enjoy making the AddOhms Tutorials at addohms.com. You can follow James on Twitter @baldengineer or on Google+.

One Response to "Review: The Art of Electronics [Book]"

  1. Timothy says:

    I have a copy of this, and was glad to see it so highly recommended. Adafruit has the explanations you asked for: “The Art of Electronics – Student manual with exercises” which is the first place I’d ever seen it. I want to get my own copy of it, now!

    Reply

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