Make: Online fixture Michal Zalewski has built a rep for his incredibly detailed and precise how-tos. Now he has written another, the ultimate how-to for people interested in learning electronics.
There are quite a few primers on electronics on the Internet; sadly, almost all of the top hits resort to gross oversimplifications (e.g., hydraulic analogies), or convenient omission, when covering subtle but incredibly important topics such as the real-world behavior of semiconductors. There are some exceptions, to be sure – but they tend to suffer from another malady: regressions into mundane, academic rigor, complete with differential equations and complex number algebra in transient analysis – a trait that is highly unlikely to be accessible, or even useful, to hobbyists.
The goal of this guide is to bridge this gap; it should give you an anatomically correct insight into the underlying physical phenomena needed to accurately understand the behavior of semiconductors, capacitors, or inductors – but should be far more readable and way shorter than a typical academic textbook, and mostly stripped of useless trivia and other fluff. The target audience is people who want to meaningfully tinker with more complex electronic circuits, or perhaps understand how computers really work – but for whom getting there is not meant to be a full-time job.