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Bebop to the Boolean Boogie, Third Edition: An Unconventional Guide to Electronics Paperback – December 23, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1856175074 ISBN-10: 1856175073 Edition: 3rd
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Editorial Reviews


"This is a dangerous book. . . . Not only do you stand a chance of learning something from it, but ten years from now you will still remember it!"--Pete Waddell, editor, Printed Circuit Design

"Lives up to its title as a useful and entertaining technical guide...well suited for students, technical writers, technicians, and sales and marketing people."--Electronic Design

About the Author

Clive "Max" Maxfield received a BS in Control Engineering from Sheffield Polytechnic, England in 1980. He began his career as a mainframe CPU designer for International Computers Limited (ICL) in Manchester, England. Max now finds himself a member of the technical staff (MTS) at Intergraph Electronics, Huntsville, Alabama. Max is the author of dozens of articles and papers appearing in magazines and at technical conferences around the world. Max's main area of interest are currently focused in the analog, digital, and mixed-signal simulation of integrated circuits and multichip modules.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Newnes; 3 edition (December 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856175073
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856175074
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #725,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hi there, my name is Clive Maxfield, but everyone calls me "Max" (the name of every dog and every robot in every science fiction film ever made). This is sort of a family nickname; my dad, aunt, little 'bro, and so forth are all called "Max" (this can lead to somewhat convoluted after-dinner conversations).

When I was younger, I was interested in both Art and Engineering; at one stage I was seriously contemplating going to art school, but my mom told me that very few artists made much money, so I became an engineer specializing in electronics and computers. And then, while I wasn't looking, I accidentally became a writer. Don't ask me how; it started with a single magazine article, and ended up with seven books and writing as a full-time job (in the day) and as a hobby (in the evenings).

My current passion (apart from my wife, of course) is my recently published book "How Computers Do Math" (which I co-authored with my friend, Alvin Brown). This little scamp is accompanied by a CD-ROM containing a virtual computer/calculator called the DIY Calculator. The book walks the reader through a series of step-by-step interactive laboratories, that end up with the creation of a simple four-function (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) calculator program (written in our simple assembly language) that makes the DIY Calculator ... well, calculate (you can read more on our website at

Last but not least, my idea of a good time is having a BBQ and hanging out with family and friends.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. G. Kaimer Jr. on January 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
My first reaction on reading Clive Maxfield's "Bebop to the Boolean Boogie" was regret that it was not available when I was in college (or before). I'm happy it is available now nonetheless, as it has served to reacquaint me with topics long since forgotten and breathed life into those that have become routine.

Previous editions of the book have a reputation for providing clear, concise explanations infused with what has become the characteristic Maxfield wit. (I've heard people call him the Douglas Adams of engineering.) The third edition is profusely illustrated in color and maintains Maxfield's practice of including historical background and the occasional humorous anecdote throughout.

These, however, are only surface observations. Max (as he is known) begins with an accessible explanation of the physics behind electronics at the subatomic level and proceeds logically through passive components, fundamentals of digital logic and integrated circuits to state machines and programmable logic, printed circuit board design and a discussion of design tools and developing technologies. These are the discussions I can immediately recall. There is much more here.

Because of its breadth of coverage people may think of this as an introductory text, but a closer examination of some of the material (particularly, in my case, those sections covering FPGA architectures, design flow and verification) will reveal that this book will be equally useful to the student who needs some "rhyme and reason" for the volumes of frequently disjointed material (s)he may be forced to parrot in academia, and to the practicing engineer who is looking for a good deskside companion covering topics that may have slipped his mind with the passage of time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By P. Mathis on February 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Clive (Max) Maxfield is a Geek's Geek - he loves electronics and technology in general, but more importantly he loves teaching and is really good at it!

This edition of Bebop begins with subatomic physics, leaps to Boolean Math, dabbles in Numerical Systems (past and present), cracks Logic Optimization, sandwiches in Printed Circuit design with a strong history of the evolution of electronic devices such as gate arrays and FPGAs, and wraps up with a recipe for Max's Gumbo!

While I'd been exposed to many of the topics, either in college or in 13 years as a Firmware Engineer, I must admit I learned quite a lot from reading this book. And most important to me, Max's geek-ish joy rekindled by own passion for physics and even ancient history!

This book is data-dense; while it covers many topics, it does so very thoroughly. Still Max's asides and sidebars tempt you to loose focus - I spent several days reading about ancient societies and their number systems!

I cannot recommend this book too highly. If you are working in electronics engineering, studying for such a degree, or contemplating such a career you can't go wrong studying this book! Max has done a wonderful job!

Thanks Max! I needed such wit and unashamed glee to rekindle my own joy at learning about my career!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Dowling on June 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
Who says that British are stuffy? Look how happy and comical they are: Monty Python, Benny Hill, Douglas Adams and best of all Clive Maxfield (AKA Max the Magnificent). So grab a copy of this book, set your infinite improbability drive on maximum and enjoy reading about electronics and other interesting facts. Honestly, I didn't know that Greenland Eskimos had a base 20 counting system, using their toes in addition to their fingers. I would have thought they would be more likely to have a base 4 system being all bundled up in mittens to stay warm.

Max writes with a British accent but he still spells everything correctly (color instead of their colour etc.). That's part of the charm, you can learn whilst being entertained (did you see how I slipped that in there?).

So why do you want this book? Well, I wish I could have gotten it when I was in college instead of spending hundreds of dollars each semester on books. This one book could easily replace most of my EE texts since the coverage is so broad, in fact there are many useful subjects that were never covered in my courses like board layout and future technologies. It contains everything you NEED in an easy to understand format instead of superfluous Ph.D. technobabble. It even contains the kitchen sink, well, almost; one of the many Appendixes has his recipe for a spicy Seafood Gumbo. There is also a detailed Glossary.

You say you're done with college and you know all this material. Maybe, but a refresher is always good and I'm sure everyone will learn something from this volume. For instance, although the color gray can also be spelled grey and be correct, counters are definitively Gray after the inventor.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Burr on May 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is great for students of Technology that are just getting their feet wet. My highschool age son had basic questions while he was attending the local Engineering High School and I handed him the book and let him read through it. Every time he would ask a question I would go through the book with him and help him answer in his own words. Max's style of writing lends to being able to work out the basic concept, and then re-inforcing it with further review. My better half (SWMBO), has grown up around electronics all of her life. Her understainding of some of the basic Electrical princibles was shaken a little when she read the first couple of chapters and realized her thinking wasn't quite right on those principles. As far as my experiences from the book. It was nice to have a different way of looking at some of the same boring tedious concepts that I learned earning my ASEE and BSEE. The end point was the same as the text books, but the ride was definitely more interesting getting there and helped to re-inforce some of those principles and bring out the clarity in the concepts. This is not a book that you will be able to design the next AI human looking Android unit when you are finished, but you will definitely have an understanding of why things can only happen so fast with electronic and logic circuits. The only curiosity in the whole book is how does a "Brit" come up with such an outstanding Gumbo recipe. Every time I look at the recipe my mouth starts to water at the thought of the taste. Just goes to show that not all Englishman prefer "Bangers and Mash, or, Bubble and Squeak," some do actually like the thought of a spicy yet tasty vindaloo. After having had a chance to talk with "Max" I now don't have thoughts of James Burke reading the book in my mind, it goes a lot smoother now.
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Bebop to the Boolean Boogie, Third Edition: An Unconventional Guide to Electronics
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