I am going through very hard time studying electronics, I studied little electronics at high school (what is diode, transistor, etc). Now in clg now I need electronics to study, I don't understand anything at all, I find electronics very hard and also boring. So please suggest me a absolute beginner book in electronics, one that is suitable for physics majors, I searched "electrical engineering stack exchange", but those books don't match my syllabus also looks like engineering book. My syllabus include OPAM, negative feedback, positive feedback all these stuff.

  • $\begingroup$ Have you checked out the relevant chapters in Sears and Zemansky's University Physics? It's most EM stuff, but some basic circuitry stuff as well. $\endgroup$
    – Feyre
    May 10, 2016 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ Actually my syllabus is far more advanced than university physics book $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    May 10, 2016 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ Includes OPAM,feed back,transistor ,diode etc etc $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    May 10, 2016 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ Would Electrical Engineering be a better home for this question? $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic
    May 10, 2016 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ Electrical engineering might be a good forum but the fact is that many experimental physicists need a working knowledge of practical electronics. It is for this very reason that such courses, usually based on the text "Art of Electronics" are provided by physics departments. When I was an undergrad 50 years ago, the physics department offered an Electronics course that was OK but but also in a much simpler world than today. Back then, OP Amps and IC devices were just in their beginning emergent versions so Electronics courses were easier and simpler. $\endgroup$
    – K7PEH
    May 10, 2016 at 17:26

2 Answers 2


Art of Electronics, now in its 3rd edition by Horowitz and Hill has always been a classic. Comprehensive and easy to read with an emphasis on practice rather than deep theory.

I am a professional electronics engineer and I have used it (I transitioned from physics) for decades

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ AoE may not emphasize theory, and it may not delve deeply into theory, but the first two chapters opened my eyes to the importance of theory---to the utility of theory---in a way that several "serious" textbooks (e.g., Senturia & Wedlock) never could do. $\endgroup$ May 10, 2016 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ @jameslarge: That's because you never took a serious EE book seriously. There is a reason why they are written they way they are, just like our physics books to the EE students look like magical compendia they can never understand. One has to take the theory classes with these books to get their structure. $\endgroup$
    – CuriousOne
    May 10, 2016 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ @CuriousOne As a professional EE I disagree. In 30 years I have never had to delve into any of the conventional EE theory as taught beyond that of AoE. The only exception was DSP, which is a rather specialist subject. $\endgroup$
    – user56903
    May 11, 2016 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ @DirkBruere: Then you never had to handle a serious EE problem outside of signal processing. That's not unusual for engineers. I can do most of my designs pi times thumb, too... until I hit the one that I can't, and then I consult the theory. Independently of the frequency of such events, I acknowledge that the theory exists and that it needs to be part of quality education. $\endgroup$
    – CuriousOne
    May 11, 2016 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ @CuriousOne That's what a professional does i.e. not waste time on irrelevant theory until necessary. My advice to anyone is to ditch the bulk of the theory beyond AoE until needed and use the time saved to study C++ $\endgroup$
    – user56903
    May 11, 2016 at 9:20

The answer suggesting "Art of Electronics" is spot on -- no argument. However, it is also spot on expensive. An alternative is Practical Electronics For Inventors which is now in its 4th edition and an excellent low priced book that allows you to move through the material more quickly.

The scope of coverage for "Practical Electronics For Inventors" is about the same as "Art of Electronics" but it is not as deep in a number of areas but definitely more practical and hands-on giving the reader ready-made "experience" to go along with the knowledge.

I own both and I would recommend both but if money is tight, go for "Practical Electronics for Inventors" or just buy it first to see if it works for you.

  • $\begingroup$ They are both giant blockbusters capable of breaking your toes if you drop them! $\endgroup$
    – user56903
    May 10, 2016 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ The "Art of electronics" is a hobbyist version of electronics engineering. While popular it is completely inadequate to do serious experimental work today. I don't know the other book, but if it's even more shallow, it's probably good as a door stop. $\endgroup$
    – CuriousOne
    May 10, 2016 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ @CuriousOne -- I am curious, what's missing from "Art of Electronics"? Even though I started out as an EE, I quickly switched to Physics but still kept a hand in EE Electronics courses due to my hobby of amateur "Ham" radio. I have built lots of stuff over the last 50 years. Designed and build my own dual-811 linear amplifier when I was in high-school. Built my own transmitter from scratch (junior-high and high-school) and of course lots of stuff since. For someone who is not wanting an EE degree, these books are not bad and can carry a person quite a ways. Thus, What's Missing? $\endgroup$
    – K7PEH
    May 11, 2016 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ What is missing is the entire non-trivial section of the EE library, which you, as EE student, should have seen (and not just 50 years ago). $\endgroup$
    – CuriousOne
    May 11, 2016 at 0:11
  • $\begingroup$ So, you are saying that since this book (AoE) does not cover every topic of an EE 4 year course, it is not an adequate reference and tutorial for electronics. I have many books in my library on EE subjects -- electronics (analog and digital), micro-electronics, and integrated circuit design, RF engineering, power systems analysis), and digital signal processing and I will agree that the one book Art of Electronics does not include all those others, but it is a very good start proven by the fact that it is the number 1 selected Electronics course text for undergrad and grad science majors. $\endgroup$
    – K7PEH
    May 11, 2016 at 1:18

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