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The Manga Guide to Electricity Paperback – 21 Mar 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (21 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271972
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271978
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 1.7 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 312,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Kazuhiro Fujitaki is a lecturer at the Tokyo Metropolitan Vocational Skills Development Center. He has written a number of books on electrical engineering and runs a website offering useful information about Japan's qualifying examinations for electrical technicians.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By tonberry1 on 15 July 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought this book (Electricity) and Statistics together and a lot of my opinions apply to both.

Instead of being a manga with a clear story and funny twists, reading these books is more like looking at a video lecture of some good teacher. The books tell the same things that a text book would tell but with less information as there are lots of pictures (of course).

But the little there are in these books is usually presented A LOT easier than in the regular text books. Especially a great thing is that there is an example for every difficult thing and without an exception the examples are great or excellent. The level of the material is somewhere around what they teach to children in high schools (in Finland). But of course it doesn't cover nearly everything.

If I were a high school student and I knew that a course would be coming up for which there existed a "Manga guide to" book, I'd be happy to read it. But after that, it doesn't (shouldn't) really add much more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By De Sio Michele on 17 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
I was curious about electricity but I was coming from a completely different background, so I tried this book hoping to find some good introduction to the subject without getting bored with too many formulas. I didn't like the one about databases that much (too generic), but I tried anyway.
It's been a revelation.
The comics are compelling, and they really do a good job in explaining the theory; then, at the end of each chapter, everything is summarized in conventional text and the formulas are neatly presented, and they stick a lot easier after the comics.
In less than a week, enjoying every page, I was familiar with AC, DC, Ohm's law, magnetic fields, Fleming's rules for motors and generators, circuits and graphical symbols, batteries and power plants, diods and transistors.
I was so excited and felt so confident that I immediately bought "Make: Electronics" in order to start right away to build my first circuits. Which I did, and since the latter it's very practice oriented I found really useful the bit of theory learnt from the Manga guide.
Definitely a must read for absolute beginners.
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By dgml007 on 18 Mar 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a student in the area of electronics and digital systems, or even if you are just curious about the way electricity works, this is a must-buy book.

It explains things very well and in a way anyone can understand.

I trully recommend the Manga Guides to anyone.

Actually, the one about Linear Algebra even allowed me to pass that discipline in University. And this is a subject I considered to be an impassible nightmare. It's not and the Linear Algebra volume will help you a lot.
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Format: Paperback
The Manga Guide To Electricity

I could make things easy for myself and go with a three word review - really quite excellent - but that might be a bit of a cop out.

This is the first of the "manga guide to" series that I've read so I wasn't really sure what to expect and I have to say that I was more than pleasantly surprised. In fact before I had got half way through I was already showing it to friends and family I was that impressed. The layout is exemplary. Each chapter is divided into a manga cartoon story introducing and explaining topic concepts and then a section of notes that cover and expand on these concepts in a more formal way.
The content covered is largely the sort of thing I vaguely remember from O level physics (yes I did say O level - I am that old!) Ohm's law, Flemming's left and right hand rules and the like. I would guess that this book is probably appropriate to students in the later stages of GCSE physics or to anyone who wants an overview of electricity and electronics. The chapters cover an introduction to electricity; electric circuits; how electricity works; electricity generation and uses of electricity. Under these broad subject headings you will find all sorts of useful pieces of information from static electricity through thermocouples and fuel cells to semi conductors. I'm not even going to try and list everything the book covers or this review would become excessively long.

Overall I found all aspects of The Manga Guide To Electricity very good. It was a fun and easy read, the coverage was broad and the layout excellent. Obviously there are one or two gotchas in there like some of the sample calculations use the Japanese 120V standard where the UK uses a 240V standard but these are pretty minor to be honest.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 24 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Electricity with No Math! 5 April 2009
By John Jacobson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The irrepressible Japanese Manga is back, this time talking about electricity. The series from the No Starch Press uses the genre of Japanese cartoons to teach serious topics in science and technology.

The book starts with an overview of the physical nature of electricity, a description of positive and negative charge, and the units used to measure electricity including the difference between current flow (amperage) and current force (volts). It introduces electricity in the many forms we use and experience daily, including static electricity, direct current as found in flashlights, and electrical circuits such as one finds in buildings. It introduces Ohm's law, the basic relationship between current flow, current force, and the resistance of the electrical conductor.

It then proceeds to discuss many other practical topics including the relationship between current, resistance, and heat generation, and how electricity generates magnetic fields. Fleming's right- and left-hand rules are described. Basic components of circuits found in devices such as MP3 players or televisions are presented. These include coils, capacitors, and solid state devices such as diodes, transistors, temperature and optical sensors.

There is a six page index. There are no problems to solve in the book, it has no significant math. One of the strengths of the series that while the basic concepts are introduced through the story told via the cartoons, additional information of a more detailed nature is available at the end of each chapter. This provides an opportunity for the reader who is interested in further study on a topic. e.g. after the story in the cartoon section describes the chemical reactions that provide energy for dry cell batteries, the prose at the end of the chapter discusses the variety of ways in which power plants powered by heat, nuclear processes, wind, and water create energy for our use.

This is a cleverly written book, quite practical in nature. (It even discussed circuit breakers!) It is an excellent introduction for the young student interested in learning more about electricity, and would also be appropriate for the adult with no math or science background.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
What a fun and well-done introduction to electricity! 5 April 2009
By M. Helmke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up for fun. I already know a lot about electricity. I have been known to read electron tube spec sheets and circuit designs for fun and amusement. I've been known to scrounge around at ham radio festivals and used book stores looking for old design manuals or tech books. So, I didn't buy this book because I needed/wanted to learn the material. I already know it.

The book looked like a fun way to introduce the topic to a new generation. Guess what? I think it is. It was originally drawn and written in Japan a few years ago and was only recently translated into English. The story line is okay, but it won't rank up there with Watchmen and the like. This isn't a graphic novel. However, it is interesting enough to make a subject that can sometimes be difficult to absorb for new learners more accessible.

The book begins with the assumption of no real background in electricity or electronics. It then builds up to a pretty solid foundation in basic theory and gives a clear understanding of how electricity works and can be created, influenced, and corralled by an engineer or circuit designer to do specific tasks. The book doesn't teach actual circuit design, but it does give a very clear introduction to very important concepts and components including voltage, potential, current, resistance, Ohm's Law, capacitance, batteries, magnetism, diodes, rectification, motors, both alternating and direct current, and even the main types of electricity generation in use.

Each chapter starts with a part of a graphic tale that introduces specific concepts for that chapter in a clear and fun manner. Then, to make sure the conceptual understanding can be made solid, each chapter has an additional and more traditional text and diagram section with a more detailed explanation of each concept.

If you know anyone, especially someone who enjoys manga, whether a teenager or a kid at heart, or just someone who appreciates art with their text, who also is interested in a solid and interesting basic introduction to electricity, this book is well worth the read. I recommend it highly and am going to take a closer look at the entire series of manga guides that is still growing.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Fun-filled Instruction On Electricity for The DIYer/Hobbyist 7 April 2009
By Ira Laefsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Like the rest of the incredible Manga Guide Series, this guide to electricity provides fun and excellent pedagogy, making the best use of comics and simple diagrams to teach sophisticated topics. But there are two significant factors, which make this excellent guide exceptional, even within this excellent series: 1. This isn't something that high school or college made you learn--this is an easy and necessary explanation of the basic physical concepts of electricity/electronics which an increasing number of hobbyists and DIY'ers must know to supplement their experience with kits and solderless breadboards; 2. This guide explains the everyday electronic objects like transformers, power generating equipment and sensors which every member of modern society encounters, and must understand to be an informed citizen. It also succeeds in presenting the basic concepts of DC, AC, and Semiconductor electronics with no math beyond basic arithmetic, which makes this book especially non-threatening (but somewhat limits its scope). I cannot think of a single individual inhabiting the world today who couldn't benefit from a basic understanding of electronics, and this simple fun Manga Guide provides this knowledge painlessly.

--Ira Laefsky
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Excellent introductory guide to electricity and electronics for young readers 29 July 2011
By John Call - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Based on the previous reader reviews, I was expecting The Manga Guide to Electricity to be similar to The Cartoon Guide to Physics where a lot of cartoons are used in conjunction with a loose storyline to present physical concepts one might expect in a textbook treatment of the subject. To highlight the strengths of The Manga Guide to Electricity and why I think it is a great book for eager students let me share my experience with the Cartoon Guide to Physics (CGP). When I first read the CGP I had completed one university course in physics. There were sections of the CGP I understood which were presented in a humorous and fun way. I cannot say that the CGP helped me learn physics or instill a deeper understanding of physics. It was entertaining, and there was a period of time as a student when I would unwind between homework and studying for exams by reading sections of the book. It was useful to reinforce concepts I had been studying and, once I understood a concept, the humor became more apparent. As a learning tool the CGP had value for the committed student, but in my estimation the target audience was expected to have more than just a budding interest in physics. I still have my physics textbook which I reference occasionally and next to it on the shelf, collecting dust, is the CGP.

When my nine-year-old son began asking thoughtful questions about electricity and electronics I wanted to sneak a good introductory book on the subject into his reading pile, something that might answer some of his questions ("Where does electricity come from?", "How does electricity work?", "Is electricity really like water?", "How does electricity make light?"). I ordered this book based on the reviews, expecting something like the Cartoon Guide to Physics with a youth savvy Japanese bent. I expected it to be entertaining and dish out the required electrical and electronic factoids found in those other books on the shelf in the juvenile science section of the local library, i.e. information is given, but little understanding is conveyed nor effort expended to teach the reader in a way that will last beyond the next glossy page of gee-whiz techno babble.

As my son says, this book is awesome! Anyone from middle school through university with an interest in learning about basic electricity and electronics and who has a rudimentary knowledge of science would find this book of value. High school students with an interest in learning robotics or radio should consider this a must read. If you are at university and you chose to take an elective from the Electrical Engineering department to round out your liberal arts degree you might benefit from reading this on the side. If you are a parent and you want to explain how a toaster works to your young inventor, you will enjoy this book. If you are a teacher trying to help your class pull together that science project that involves lighting an LED, you might find this book a good tool to establish a common level of knowledge among the group.

The book was originally written and published for Japanese high school students. One of the strengths of this book is that the author engages the reader as an earnest student who is motivated to think and learn. The protagonist is an active participant in the learning process and her appropriately timed questions motivate instructional narrative and pull the reader into the learning experience. The text has since been translated into English by Arnie Rusoff. The translation is excellent. As an adult, I see elements of the Japanese culture within the story. As in the Karate Kid movies, the student must perform work for the master teacher to not only show respect, but also to compensate, in a small way, for the value of the education received. In several cases these "house keeping" elements add to the humor of the original (and to the credit of the translator, this humor comes through without effort into the English translation). These same cultural elements may offend some parents who are sophisticated enough to connect the cultural dots and are proud to enforce their world view on everyone else.

The technical discussion begins with practical first principles (Volts, Amps, Watts) and progresses through semiconductor devices. The cartoon ends with bipolar transistors, and the concluding text section pulls in field-effect transistors. One section of note is a short six-page discussion of temperature and optical sensors. High school students cooking up their own robotics experiments will find this a good first introduction.

Other reviewers have described the combination of manga and short sections of text which review the theory presented in the cartoon section and add depth. I wholeheartedly agree with a previous reviewer that this author has struck a "healthy balance between instruction and entertainment." The cartoon motivates the instruction and provides a refreshing graphical format for learning an abstract subject that requires the student to form mental models and images to achieve a level of confidence in the underlying principles. This is a serious, in-depth work of technical writing and is an excellent example of a publisher pulling together all available resources to create a technical book for novices that rewards the reader with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from absorbing well crafted literature. The author, illustrator, editors, translator and production team deserve kudos for this enjoyable book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great concept for students 11 May 2009
By J. Kelly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I wish I had something like this back when I was in school! This
translated series from No Starch is impressive - it uses Manga
characters to provide a good overview of the basics of electricity.
While I'm somewhat familiar with most of the concepts covered here,
it's always interesting to learn something in a new format. This book
provides discussion in two formats: graphical and straight text. The
book is broken into Manga sections, with the main character, Rereko,
having to take a trip to Earth to learn about electricity. In each
section, she learns from a tutor named Hikaru, and the information she
obtains (and the reader) is cumulative, building on previous sections
information. The cartoon format makes the sections easy to read (and
quick, too), and I'm impressed with the author and illustrator because
they've managed to create a story that manages to entertain and teach.

What I really like about the book, though, are the text discussions
squeezed between the cartoon sections. These sections are more like
what you'd get in a textbook, but they still manage to be easy to read
and follow. For example, one section provides a fairly accurate
explanation of how power is generated by steam, water, and nuclear
power plants - and even wind turbines. For a student, this is some
great information and could probably be very useful for things like
science fairs and presentations.

(FYI: The discussions on AC and DC power generation, how they differ,
and why they operate as they do is worth the price of the book... this
can be a confusing subject for students - it was for me - and I think
this book gives just enough coverage to clear the confusion and let a
reader move forward with his/her own study.)

No Starch has a Manga Guide to Physics which I'm looking forward to -
if it teaches and entertains as well as this book, it should be
another hit for No Starch. If you're a parent or teacher and have a
student (or students) who are struggling with this concept OR have a
growing interest, this book is a great investment.
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