It’s always difficult to find good engineering (or engineering-related) books, since they’re rarely stocked in most book stores (unless you’re lucky enough to live in a university town with a large engineering department that is). Since many specialized texts tend to be in the $80-100 region, it’s also tough to purchase a book on a whim off Amazon just because the title sounds interesting, though at least Amazon gives you the option to look inside some (but not all) books before hand.
Word of mouth is still the best method to find good books on engineering or related fields. As such, we’re going to publish one book every Thursday that we found useful for one reason or another, that might not be as well known as it should be.
To get started, this week it’s “Electronics – Circuits and Systems, 4th Edition” by Owen Bishop.
I came across this book while looking through the academic textbook section around some of the universities in central Paris, and was pleasantly surprised by the clear, concise and reasonably comprehensive explanations offered in it in a few pages. If you have some basic understanding of electronics – you know what resistors, capacitors, transistors, etc., are for and when to use them – but there are some holes in your understanding of common terms like impedance, etc., this will be a perfect book for you.
The book is organised around a number of ‘topics’ (41 in total, from Diodes through to Neural Networks), typically a few pages each, that treat a wide variety of subjects authoritatively but concisely. What I appreciated most was that the book reduces many important concepts to a few paragraphs of accessible text, without sacrificing the details that matter. It’s not a book to be read cover to cover since there is a lot of useful information to digest and some of it takes time to ruminate on, but if you have one or two years experience in electronics and want to fill in some of the gaps in your understanding of broader electical engineering theory and practice, I can highly recommend this book as an affordable, accessible option. In any case, it’s a safe investment given the amount of knowledge stored between the covers and deserves a place on or near your workbench. You’ll need a certain minimum amount of existing know-how to get the most from the book, but it should grow with you as your own understanding develops over time.
Unfortunately, it might take a bit of effort to find this book in the US since it’s written for the UK market, but it’s available on Amazon and a few other North American based resellers (just search for the ISBN code).
Author: Owen Bishop