Customer Review

Reviewed in Australia on 26 March 2020
Firstly, this is a large book and I’m not finished yet, but I wanted to write about my initial impressions after reading the first two chapters and the chapter on power supplies.

There is great wealth of useful insights in this book. Indeed, as others have said, you will "learn things you didn’t know that you didn’t know"!

The book includes mathematical statements on the circuits building blocks it discusses, but usually sidesteps the process required to arrive from one to the other. That is the approach: to not get bogged down in maths, it's one source of frustration for me.

I think whilst the explanations employ plain language and avoid heavy mathematics, they also suffer in several ways. Firstly, whilst supposedly catering to a wide range of audiences including beginners, there is a lack of scaffolding for new terms, particularly in the first chapter. The writers often end up explaining terms with other yet-to-be-defined terms. Something like the following when introducing impedance: impedance is reactance (but we discuss reactance in detail in chapter)... in today’s teaching we try to present material in an order that is self-supporting.

Also, whilst some staunchly defend idea of not including the solutions to exercises, I find it disappointing. Not only are the worked solutions unavailable, but not even the answers are provided and even the tasks can be vague, without diagrams.

I’ve read some sections multiple times and in my opinion they need to be explained better. There are some solutions that have been posted online unofficially - why not have an official section on the website devoted to the worked solutions -with a forum - that’d be great, really useful and communal.

As mentioned in other reviews, the circuit diagrams are excellent. Graphs, tables, scope traces are great.

Also, the fact that extra add-on books need to be purchased is also a little disheartening; I suppose the book is pretty thick already, but I want the good stuff included in the price!

The best thing about this book is the vast experience of the authors and practicality of the concepts they introduce. The little tricks of the trade, useful rules of thumb and the wisdom to discard more complex analysis when it’s not needed are all valuable.

The book also excels at building up a great familiarity with the most useful and used devices and components, many of which are totally overlooked in electronics courses. The many pictures of large arrays of components would be more useful, however, if they had numbered annotations.

I find the circuits presented to be novel and stimulating of thought. The explanations of workings are very good. I remember a friend of mine buying this book 23 years ago when we were studying electronics together and I decided that I had enough books on the subject, but reading it now, I wish I had bought it back then as it is more practical and broad than the books we were prescribed.

In summary (for now) I would say I really like the book, but it isn’t going to give a complete beginner an understanding, in fact it will probably frustrate as not enough time is spent explaining the basics properly and the mathematical explanations are accurate but lacking the steps. Used in conjunction with an electronics course, the book serves to provide a wealth of knowledge, insights and circuit building blocks from the authors who are greatly experienced engineers and who do a great job of curating this content and keeping it relevant. Another possible title: What every scientist and engineer should know about electronics.
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