If Horowitz and Hill have got your perplexed [ISBN: 0521370957], you need to read Ashby first. Without a firm grasp of the fundamentals delved by Ashby, a reader could be very lost. This is a book you can read BEFORE an electronics course, to guide you through what could be a confusing maze. This book is not focused on design, but on a faster way to understand fundamentals in electronics by developing intuition and removing as much math jumble as possible. Included are chapters for dealing with EE management and other EE related companies.
This book is also exceedingly helpful for those in a non-Engineering track electronics courses, who maybe overwhelmed by the depth and audacity of a non-Engineering text like Horowitz and Hill.
Here are its key points:
Very easy to read, user friendly;
Easy to comprehend;
Key concepts summed as rules of thumb on a side bar [ I use all regularly since I graduated in 1980 to this very day];
Superb editing, I noticed but one typo p. 166 "Let'ss";
Helps EE students focus on the essentials of key fundamental component function;
Broad audience, applicable to the technician level versus EE;
Touchy feely chapter works in many fields beyond EE;
Helpful tidbits in the EMI chapter were superb!
Not enough material to get a design together, some assumption one has tried design and knows some in-outs;
Need examples of a "putting it all together" using rules in sample design problems;
No surface mount tips for a book written for the 21st Century EE?
No catalog of manufacturers for construction?
No tips on free samples?
No tips on free evaluation boards?
In my view, the hallmark of a good electronics student is the capacity to design a working electronic device. True design skills gives students the insight to fix, alter, salvage or improve most anything made in electronics even if a student never ever builds a device from scratch ever, after graduation. However, the reverse is not true, a student raised on "fix-it" can not necessarily design.
While praise is heaped on the LM324 as an historical op amp, I believe it was the LM741 that clearly made op amps the workhorse of analog design. Much has improved since in op amps, but understanding the 741 is to understand them all. The 324 was a popular chip due to single rail supply but the 741 set the specs to beat. No mention is made about the 555 timer, although one can always build a RC oscillator with just an op amp.
The enclosed software is extremely useful, to me. However, its enclosed PCB123, a routing PC board designer, is more likely for EE 202 than 101. I think students need to learn to do layout by hand at least once, just as they need to know how to do math +/-*
functions by hand even if they use a calculator throughout life.
Filter Pro is also in the same vein, EE 202. Very useful software but not discussed much in the text. At least one type of each has to be designed by hand: hi, lo, bandpass, band reject from all passive, then to active, before contemplating automation.
Although passive components and isolated op amp designs are less practical these days, it absolutely necessary to grasp the fundamentals of RLC to make any electronics as easy as 1-2-3, from Course 101 to 999. One must not be lost in details.
Ergo: Crawl before walk, even if running is all we really do in the real world ;) we walk a lot too, and we can always crawl if we need to.