EE Bookshelf: Electronics – Circuits and Systems, 4th Edition

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
Publisher: Newnes
ISBN: 0080966349
Level: Beginner-Intermediate


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  1. Owen Bishop has also written an excellent book for beginning students of electronics: Electronics – A first course, ISBN-10: 1856176959

  2. How does the book compare to the classic ‘The Art of Electronics’ by Horowitz and Hill?

  3. Christian F. Behrens


    I’m new to electronics and have reached an age, where I find it difficult to just take the plunge without some kind of guidance.

    Books and online tutorials is needed as “comfort blankets” on this endeavor.

  4. I love the idea for this series of articles! I know I’m being lazy, but could you include the Amazon price of the books in the summary information at the end of the post?

  5. Also available as a Kindle version for the instant gratification win.

  6. Anyone else notice that Newnes Press puts out a lot of electronic design books that are extremely top notch?

  7. Newnes really does have some excellent electronics and EE books … I’ve taken to just looking at everything they publish since I always find one or two titles that interest me and I’m very rarely disappointed.

  8. +1 on Newnes. They also publish the very excellent “Art of Embedded Systems Design” by Jack Ganssle, though it’s not what I’d call a “beginner”-level book. But it’s a great book if you’re an EE who specializes in hardware but who now wants (or needs) to learn how to develop complete embedded systems (software + hardware). A solid title by one of the best writers in the field.

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