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The Art of Electronics
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71 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 1999
Excellent resource for all engineers/technicians who need quick solutions to common (and not-so-common) problems. The book is more an electronics "cookbook" than a textbook, in that the authors assume the reader is familiar with basic theory but might need help in identifying the best solution to a particular problem. It is not an "introduction to electronics" but, I would strongly recommend it to beginners who wish to augment a standard textbook or course with some good practical knowledge. The authors are very effective in reducing even some of the most complex aspects of electronics into easy-to-understand terms. This book is like having a good, experienced electrical engineer available 24 hours a day!
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 1999
I'm an undergraduate student in physics and electronic engineering. Although it hasn't been used as a textbook in my engineering course, it was used as the textbook for both second and third year electronics courses in my physics course. At any rate, it is regarded as the "Bible" of reference texts. Be aware that it is in reality a reference - although it can be used to learn electronics, there are other books that are probably more appropriate. However, for anyone between decent electronics enthusiast and professional electronic engineer, this is an indispensable tool, and I recommend it to anyone who considers themselves in this category. It has proved its worth over and over again (I purchased my copy in 1992, and despite its 10 year age, it is still highly relevant and useful). I anticipate the next version (should there be one) with great eagerness. This is one book that I couldn't be apathetic about reviewing. BUY IT!
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2010
I fully support this book per my technical background:
1. I had over 2,000 hours of USAF tech schools, from heavy ground communications to computers.
2. As a tech writer, I wrote over 400 H/W and S/W technical manuals over a period of 40 years.
With that said, you now have some measure to gauge the following "need to know" words.

What you need to know about the "Art of Electronics:"
1. It teaches like combined hands-on and classroom theory courses;
2. It's written and presented better than most of the 300 technical books in my home library;
3. It's so lucid, you only need simple math. However, I recommend first year calculus, especially if you intend to enhance your electronics expertise;
4. It covers everything from the purpose and characteristics of simple components to full bore analog and digital designs. Its extensive coverage also includes device data sheets and device-by-device comparison tables.

The "Art of Electronics" is an outstanding book from any perspective.

Enjoy!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2002
I recommend this book to everyone I know interested in electronics regardless of their knowledge and skill level. This book is full of useful circuits that are simple and work great. Just the other day I needed an absolute value circuit and a peak value circuit, I looked in the index, and there they were. If you know absolutely nothing at all about electronics this book might move a little fast for you, but if you like to learn, and like to think, and want a fantastic electronics reference book, this is the book. I first learned of this book when I took an electronics class; the instructor had written his own book, which we had to buy, but he told us this book was less expensive and better! If you like electronics then buy this book and you will probably use it almost daily. I read some of the criticisms on this book and some said that the book didn't go into enough detail on its circuits - I disagree; the circuits are all explained well but the explanations are short and to the point to enable the authors to include more circuits in the book (it's already as big as most phone books). If you don't understand a circuit all you need to do is go back and read the chapters on resistors, diodes, capacitors, transistors. etc., and then look at the circuit again. Everyone I know that deals with electronics from the basic hobbyist to the top analog engineer has a (worn out) copy of this book on their shelf.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2002
Encyclopedic in scope, this is a good reference for many electrical engineering topics, including aspects of both analog and digital design. It has a lot of pictures and examples, and often fills in the gaps of theory to tell how designs are typically made.
Even after getting an electrical engineering degree, I keep a copy of the Art of Electronics on my shelf for quick refreshers on long-forgotten (or never-learned) topics. There are usually comprehensive introductions to general topics followed by between a few paragraphs and a few pages on more specific topics and an example circuit or two.
I find that the text is very well balanced. There is usually just enough information to get the point across: no more, no less. For a thorough theoretical treatment of electronics design, you'll have to look elsewhere, but to just understand common topics, H&H is very good.
On another note, this book hasn't been updated since 1989, and the information on microcomputers and digital logic is reflective of that. This chapter begs for a new edition including FPGAs, VHDL, etc., which just didn't exist in 1989, so don't buy it thinking it will help you in implementing your college digital design project. You may want to buy it, though, when you're trying to figure out why your design that worked in simulation doesn't work in hardware (yes, even digital logic is built from analog components).
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2001
The standard line is to call this book a "great reference". Well yes and no. It is a great reference in that there is tons and tons of practical stuff inside that you will have a hard time finding anywhere else. However, the problem is you will also have a hard time finding it in this book! The index is woefully incomplete; countless times I have gone searching in this book for information on a topic and come up empty handed, only to stumble upon what I was looking for months later, on a page that wasn't referenced in the index. The book is also something of a dichotomy in that it pretends to start from the beginning, with explanations of phasors and Ohm's law and simplistic stuff like that, but then it goes and starts using various circuit symbols without defining them. I swear there are symbols used in that book which aren't defined anywhere, I've checked. Then there's the fact that the book tends to have alot of "cookbook" stuff with little explanation of why a circuit does what it does. One would expect this in an engineering text, but one of the authors is physicist so I expected better. All in all I'd say you should buy the book but only use it in conjunction with a more coherent text.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2010
This book is not for everybody. If you want complete mathematical rigor, look elsewhere. If you want everything tightly organized and fully indexed, this is not your book. If you want to memorize rules rather than expand your thinking about the subject, you won't like this.

This is not the best book for absolute beginners, either. The introductory chapter is weak compared to the rest of the book. Nor is it for those seeking up-to-date reference information. Almost all of the reference data is long obsolete. Much of the info in the microcomputer/microprocessor sections is too.

It is also not a cookbook, despite what some other reviewers say. There are very few complete circuit designs.

This book is, however, PERFECT for those that think non-linearly and rely on *understanding* rather than *memorizing*. As the title promises, it teaches the *Art* of Electronics. It is not a dead collection of facts and equations, but a book-long exercise in internalizing the thought process that goes with good,creative electronic design. You will need other books to complete your education in electronics, but this book can be the key that makes it all "click".
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2003
I generally like this book but it takes a great deal of work to really understand what they are talking about. They claim that load lines and small signal models are not necessary but then use elements of both. The book is much easier to understand if you include these concepts. It seems to me that these concepts were actually in the back of their minds when they wrote the book. Trying to visualize the path of operation of a transistor without using the output characteristic curves seems very frustrating. Their explanation of the input impedance of an emitter follower is very confusing unless you already have a very thorough understanding of Q-points and what this actually represents on the characteristic curves. If you use their book as a starting point after having a good understanding of analog electronics engineering, then it is a good book. Likewise, the chapters on digital electronics are good, but only if you already have a good grasp of digital electronics engineering. Not many electrical engineering textbooks explain the operation of a differential ampifier well and this one does not either. They do explain the design of constant current sources well, but it makes much more sense if a set of output characteristic curves are used along with their explanation. Not many textbooks really explain how a computer works as a sequential machine. This one does not either. They simply talk about the different circuits used in a computer, but not how they actually work to create a sequential machine. They give examples of circuits that do not work and I generally liked that idea. Their explanation of feedback and frequency response leaves a great deal of information out. Again, if you already have a solid grasp of these concepts, then these sections are good.
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100 of 130 people found the following review helpful
From the early 1980s, I've read both the first and second editions over 3 times and the heuristics they use remain second to none, years later. This is THE book of Electronics for non-engineers.

With technology moving at a logarithmic phase, its a tribute to their presentation that AoE continues to be sold without a recent update and their keen circuit sense shows that many of the technologies they focused on remain available today.

Since the second edition cheap computer circuit simulators, I use Electronics Workbench but many are available, can help clarify areas were H&H may leap and bound when discussing circuits [ explanations can still be found by cross references the book via the index.] Design software makes breadboarding less necessary for testing concepts. Choice of software depends on cost and the sophistication of your design.

This book is not for the casual tinkerer, kit assembler, or an extended version of '1001 electronic circuits.' It turns astute readers into circuit designers, not everyone is cut out for that field. Its been a while since I read Steve Ciarcia in Byte, thought of Heathkit, saw an issue of Radio or Popular Electronics, but DigiKey remains a key supplier, Radio Shack remains the 'quick fix' and H&H lives on.

I rarely have time to build circuits on custom PC boards these days, but AoE has given me a cognitive lifetime warranty on all devices I've opened that screwed tightly shut had a sticker that said " ... VOID IF REMOVED."

For the next edition, could authors PLEASE beg the publishers to print the book on acid free paper? My copy is terribly jaundiced.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2000
After looking through the reviews it's obvious that a number of people reduced their rating because they were looking for more detailed explanations of fundamental concepts. H&H addressed this in the accompanying Student Manual, which I recommend highly also. To fully appreciate this book, be sure to get the very entertaining Student Manual at the same time.
The AofE is intended to complement the traditional theory oriented textbooks with a practical approach which is actually closer to the way most design is done. But it's not just a cookbook, by any means.
Yes, it would be great if the authors would come up with a completely revised new edition. They've sold a lot of copies and I think they owe it to their readers.
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