For the last 3 years or so, we have been providing great educational content on electronics for free through this website. We have hundreds of circuits and theoretical articles on various topics which you can freely use to learn. But “Electronics” is a vast and wide subject and there are plenty of areas that aren’t even touched yet.
We get lots of requests from readers in the form of comments and e-mails asking – How can I start learning electronics; Where to begin electronics learning; Which are the good books to learn electronics? etc. It’s a hard question to answer as there are plenty of resources to learn electronics. How ever we thought to list 4 really good books to learn basic electronics. The books are not necessarily in any order – but the first book by Forrest Mims is hand picked 🙂 It’s a really really good book and we recommend it to any one who is interested in Electronics. Books are arranged in such a way – Title comes first, then a little briefing about contents of the book, a little about the Author and finally links to different shopping sites are given – where you can purchase the book. Links are given for India, USA and UK only. For other countries, readers can order themselves from a shopping cart of their country. We selected Amazon as the shopping cart vendor for USA and UK. In India we selected Flipkart – as they offer one of the best rates and customer service.
Note: Some books are not available in all countries. Please bear with this!
#1 Getting Started in Electronics by Forrest.M.Mims
“One of the best books to start in Electronics” – that’s my best comment about this book.
Sold more than 1.3 million copies so far, this is the single best seller in technical publishing, that outshines many popular novels! Known popularly as “Engineers Notebook” – this book is printed in the “hand written” format. It has 100+ basic circuits which are tested more than 3 times (to eliminate all possible errors) by the author himself. This book also explains all basic components in analog and digital electronics along with their functions and uses. You can learn how these components work and how they fit into various circuit applications.
About the Author:-
Forrest M Mims III – is best known as an amateur scientist. He holds a place in the “History of Electronics” as the designer of the first personal computer – “Altair8800” using the Intel8080 micro processor. You can read about his contribution in our History of Electronics – Infographics (See year – 1975). Mims has written over 50+ books on various topics of electronics and has been sold over 7 million copies. The interesting fact about Forrest Mims is that – he has no formal academic training in science subjects. He majored in English and History!! He was quiet curious about science from his childhood & he learned and researched science from his curiosity 🙂
Buy this Book:
#2 Make Electronics – Learning by Discovery by Charles Platt (2nd Edition)
“Learn while you make” – that’s the best one liner for this book.
This is a great book where you can practice first and learn while you make the circuit. A totally different approach given to electronics self-teaching. The book encourages you to think – “Why it is so” ?. In one of the first experiments author asks reader to touch battery leads with tongue – what a fun way to begin learning electronics. The problem with most books on “basic electronics” is they all teach mathematical circuit analysis first! – which is not appealing to the beginner 😉 As a starter in electronics one should wet his/her hands first at experimenting. This kind of trial and error experimenting develops curiosity. To solve curiosity one starts asking – “Why it happens so”. This is the point where you should start learning theory. When you start learning theory after experimenting with stuff – you will understand theory efficiently and faster.
So this book is really great to get your hands wet! Highly recommended.
Note:- ProTechTrader – a company which specializes in electronics component trading in USA has released a pretty useful ‘Component Kit‘ based on this book – Make Electronics – Learning by Discovery (2nd Edition). We have reviewed this Component Kit from ProTechTrader in detail. This kit is pretty useful for any beginner in electronics and can accelerate your learning curve by many folds.
About the Author:-
Charles Platt – is a first generation electronics author of the 70’s and 80’s. He is now a contributing editor of the world famous Make Magazine. He as written popular science fiction novels like -The silicon man. In addition he is also a first generation computer programmer.
Buy this Book:
#3 All New Electronics – Self Teaching Guide by Harry Kybett & Earl Boysen
“Understand the underlying theory” – A great book to learn theory!
We saw two great books on practical electronics by now! They offer not just practical circuits, but the above two books helps you learn theory also while making circuits. But those two books are not that great when it comes mathematical analysis and pure science based theory explanation. What about following such a book? Here I recommend “All New Electronics-Self Teaching Guide” from Wiley publications to satisfy your theoretical needs. As I wrote earlier in this article -theory is really important. But you grasp theory more clearly after experimenting with stuff! 🙂 At least, my personal experience is that way! And that is why I recommend theory book as #3 and practical ones in #1 and #2
You can learn the following from this book so easily:-
- Mathematical calculations to understand operation of circuits
- Concepts you need to understand to design electronic circuits
- Key components of electronics like Transistors,IC’s – get a really good understanding of them.
- Understand power supplies, oscillators, amplifiers,filtering and more
About the Authors:-
In fact this book is the third edition. Harry Kybett wrote the first two editions (first published 30 years ago) and after his demise, Earl Boysen wrote the latest third edition. Harry Kybett was director of engineering at Columbia Pictures. Earl Boysen is an engineer and co author of the popular “Electronics for Dummies” book.
Buy this Book:
#4 Practical Electronics for Inventors by Paul Scherz
“What next after learning basics?” – This book is the answer to that question 🙂
You may ask why I need a 4th book to learn basic electronics? Haven’t I learned as much basics by reading the above 3 books. In a way – yes! By the time you finish the 3rd book (i.e Book #3) – you will have a thorough understanding of basic electronic concepts. You may then ask – Why you are adding a 4th book then? I have some reasons for that!
The first two books – Getting started in Electronics by Forrest Mims and Make Electronics by Charles Platt focused on “experimenting” with basic electronic circuits. They didn’t focus much on theory – the physics and mathematics that underlies any circuit application! Hence came the need to understand sound theory behind electronics and I suggested “All New Electronics” by Harry Kybett. Though this book explains theory well, it failed to connect these theories with real life applications. You learn the theory behind tank circuit and you fail to understand how it is applied in real life – how fuzzy is that?
And that is the single best reason to buy this book by Paul Scherz – Practical Electronics for Inventors bridges this gap. It is a book that connects theory with real life. The highlight of this book is 750+ hand drawn illustrations that will help you turn theoretical ideas to real life inventions. Finally this is the only book on basic electronics that gives a really good introduction to the next step – the micro controllers!
Buy this Book:
#5 Make More Electronics by Charles Platt
“The next step to learning electronics the fun way”
I have already listed ‘Make Electronics’ by Charles Platt. This is the next book to buy if you are already familiar with the first one. This is not exactly a beginners guide but is a good starting point for those who are already familiar with the concepts in electronics. This book is about learning through experimenting, the book contains many projects which you can try at home. This is definitely a fun way of learning things.