At long last, here is the thoroughly revised and updated third edition of the hugely successful The Art of Electronics. It is widely accepted as the best single authoritative book on electronic circuit design. In addition to new or enhanced coverage of many topics, the third edition includes 90 oscilloscope screenshots illustrating the behavior of working circuits, dozens of graphs giving highly useful measured data of the sort that is often buried or omitted in datasheets but which you need when designing circuits, and 80 tables (listing some 1650 active components), enabling intelligent choice of circuit components by listing essential characteristics (both specified and measured) of available parts. The new Art of Electronics retains the feeling of informality and easy access that helped make the earlier editions so successful and popular. It is an indispensable reference and the gold standard for anyone, student or researcher, professional or amateur, who works with electronic circuits.
- “They’re back!”
Since the publishing of the acclaimed second edition, the field of electronics has witnessed a few (ahem) little advancements. Switching power supplies have conquered the world (also polluting it with all sorts of electrical noise), voltages have gone way down, frequencies have gone up through the roof, data communications have turned seriously serial and computers are no longer a goal, but a means to embed and distribute intelligence in all sorts of devices. An update of what is deemed to be the single tome “Bible of Electronics” was thus in order. It took a couple of decades to complete, but now the wait is over: Horowitz and Hill are back!
The first question that comes to mind is “what has changed from the second to the third edition?”
The short answer is: an awful lot.
The more I read it, the more I realize this is a completely different book. In the way it appears, to begin with: the wider pages, the smaller fonts and the uniform-styled pictures do away with the informal textbook style and make it look more like a deluxe encyclopedia. The writing style is still the same, though: informal, clear and to the point (I believe this to be the only university level textbook I know to use the word “bulls***” right in the preface). As an aside, the new format allows for some 33% more text per page, so know that had this book been printed with the same typeface and layout of the second edition, it would span some 1500 pages.
One word on the pictures: device characteristics are handed out by the dozen on each diagram for ease of comparison. While this was known to happen in the previous edition too, it is now the norm throughout the whole textbook.
And this is a reflection of what I perceive as the real aim of this book: giving designers a means to find the optimal, yet pragmatic, solution for *real world* circuits. The Art of Electronics plays the role of the senior designer in a R&D department, the one who is always busy giving advice on how to turn circuits made of ink on paper into real working hardware.
In this third edition Horowitz and Hill have not only greatly expanded the application topics, but have also managed to bring them to a higher level altogether. The topics are more logically laid out and real world top-notch examples (“Designs by the Masters”) are used to drive home key concepts in electronic design. The old friend I knew as TAoE2 has not only rejuvenated, but it has also matured to a level it will take me time to fully comprehend.
As a quick aid for the owners of the previous edition, here’s the list of chapters along with a *very rough* indication of their changes with respect to TAoE2 (= means “roughly equivalent”, the numbers tell which chapter treated the same material in the previous edition, with a and b to signify chapter splitting; a “+” means a different or greatly revisited chapter)
- I’m a technician well versed in test equipment and troubleshooting at component level. I’m NOT an engineer and would never claim feats above my ability.
This books introduction made it sound like not a whole lot of math would be used when in fact this could be used as an engineers reference there’s so many equations. I was looking for something that simply explained the operation of different circuits and ended up sifting through a lot of numbers.
In the end of rather have something more thorough for future endeavours than something lacking in detail so I didn’t rate this poorly as I’m also not 100% sure who it’s specifically designed for.
- I bought this book “used” but it came in shrink wrap in like new condition, YMMV. I saved about $30 buying one of the used books this way.
To the beginner, this is an intermediate level book. Though it does start off with basic concepts of voltage, current, resistance, inductance, etc., the underlying tone is that you should have at least some basic grasp of these concepts to begin with. Very quickly it starts diving into somewhat more in-depth discussions on these topics, but it is still kept at a relatively moderate level. My last calculus class was 20 years ago, and while it helps my understanding of what is going on (electronics is full of differential equations, can’t really get around it) the way they present the math you don’t have to derive the formulas, most of it is boiled down to relatively basic algebra and maybe a little bit of trig. If you want the derivations, they’re back in the appendices, but the authors state early on that they try to keep the complex math to a minimum.
I have had the book for about two months and am still on chapter 3, mainly because I find myself having to go back and re-read some passages several times. This is because the book is somewhat sparse with examples, and I’m more of a person who learns by application. I may pick up the companion “Learning the Art of Electronics” which is supposed to be more hands on.
- Why I chose to buy this book:
I’ve always been on the fence between learning EE or ME. I flipped a coin to help aid my decision and got my BSME. Recently graduated, I now have a job designing mechanical systems and I’m good at what I do. Now that I went through college and have some real-world experience I’m pondering having a master’s degree. I can either continue what I’m already good at and get my MSME or learn if the grass is greener and get an MSEE. I concluded that I need to work through a few books and really grasp the world of electrical engineering before I make a decision I might regret later.
Knowing that some college text books are grossly over-priced, I looked through a copy of the second edition to see if it’s worth the $90+ price tag. I couldn’t believe the amount of information this book contains! I was pleasantly surprised that the newest 3rd edition was released only a few months ago as some of the components and graphs from the second edition are a little bit dated. It’s going to take me a long time to get through this book, but from what I’ve seen already this is truly the holy grail of circuit design. I kept my book from my EE101 class in college so I can refer back to it whenever I need to remember how to do some calculations.