# Which books should I read to gather practical and useful electronic design skills?

I need some guideance from the experienced users here, I need to know where to focus my studies:

Ive been reading several electronic books, and they are quite different, I decided I want to re-learn from scratch most about semiconductors, so I have 3 books: "Electronic Design" by Savant, Roden and Carpenter, "Electronic Devices" by Floyd, and the classic "Electronic devices and Circuit Theory" by Boylestad.

Floyd's book is very easy to read and understand but sometimes I think it lacks going deeper into the subject, yet its very practical. Savant's book is more math/theory oriented similar to Sedra/Smith but a bit lighter, and Boylestad's is somewhere in the middle.

While im very fond of math, some math/theory or physicist oriented books like Savant "Electronic Design" or Sedra/Smith "Microelectronic devices" lack the practicality of Floyds book, and focus mostly on stuff that I find to be completely useless (at least so far). For example, Ive been reading about the diode, and both books give a lengthy explanation on how the diode works, and all the math around it. They end up presenting the following formula (among many others derived from it):

I have no doubt in my mind that the formula above is a great model to describe the exponential behavior of a diode. The only problem is that any way I try to apply it to a real world scenario I find it to be completely useless and completely far off from the aproximate value calculated by just stating that Vf=0.7V.

Also, a lot of the excercises in such books are also very abstract, for instance they'll use instantenous voltage equations to represent an AC signal, in which the results are expressed in sine or cosine equations rather than round numbers.

Are any of the before mentioned equations useful in a daily life scenario?

So my question is: Should I dump the heavy theory books and focus mainly on the ones which give practical applications? and is it worth knowing those sort of ideal mathematical model equations, or should I keep on doing what im doing now, which is basically reading the same chapters from all the books trying to get out whats best from each one of them? my only fear is that by using this method I will only get more confused, since some books use slightly different methods, name the same variable with different names, etc...

Several engineers have told me I need to know a lot of theory if i want to be a good designer, and some others tell me I should focus on the stuff that works.

• en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_Electronics , Horowitz and Hill – pjc50 Nov 21 '12 at 10:28
• See related: electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/616/… – embedded.kyle Nov 21 '12 at 12:55
• Be careful when pricing this book - less expensive versions are 'international' editions. The vibe I got was that they are a little different; perhaps the paper is thinner or the book is sized for Asian sensibilities. The contents are the same, and are in English. – Tony Ennis Nov 21 '12 at 13:22
• @TonyEnnis I've used several international editions in the last six-seven years in college. Their quality is as good if not superior in some cases. I'd recommend them if they can be found. – Samuel Nov 21 '12 at 14:17
• I'm looking into this exact sort of thing , I'm totally confused in what sources I should follow ... since this post is from quite a while ago I would love to use your advise. Comment on what steps you actually took please – TheAnimatrix Jun 24 '18 at 17:32

The Art of Electronics by Paul Horowitz, Winfield Hill is very readable.

• Thankyou for your comments, Im not discouraged by reading complex books, its not that I cant understand them its just that I fail to see the point of much of them. The Art of Electronics has been suggested to me before, and as I see, its a really great book, yet I've also heard its light on the math. So I guess my question is, how important is knowing the convoluted theory Vs the easy practical knowledge when it comes to electronics? – S.s. Nov 21 '12 at 15:18
• You only need to see the complicated derivations of first principles once, enough to gain an understanding. Then you can apply the practical impications of those principlas, with a good grounding. – Rob Kam Nov 21 '12 at 16:18

For a real beginner I would recommend:
How to Diagnose and Fix Everything Electronic by Michael Geier
and
Make: Electronics (Learning by Discovery) by Charles Platt

• We like to see a little more in answers than just links. What did you find particularly good about these books? Why are they more appropriate for the OP than many others out there? – Olin Lathrop Nov 21 '12 at 21:31
• Hello, I must add Im not a total beginner eventhou I lack some foundations. Yet diagnose and fixing is not what im after, im after design, im actually already really good at repairing electronics, Ive repaired complex equipment and I know several tricks, im an EE student but I studied to become an electronics technician before that, and let me tell you that repairing electronics is very different from designing them, they obviously go hand by hand, but just as designing electronics is an art, reparing and finding faults is a different art all by itself. Im after design, and design books. – S.s. Nov 22 '12 at 4:49
• You can try reading Electronic Devices and Circuits by Bogart – Ekaveera Kumar Sharma Oct 5 '15 at 16:04