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There Are No Electrons: Electronic for Earthlings

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  230 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Perhaps the clearest introduction to the concepts and vocabulary of electricity ever written. Certainly the goofiest. Explains concepts like capacitance, voltage and inductance in such a simple, memorable way you'll learn them in spite of yourself. You'll certainly smile while doing so and may laugh out loud. In print since 1990, this book has become a cult classic. With i ...more
Paperback, 217 pages
Published September 12th 2006 by Clearwater Publishing (first published October 1991)
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G. Branden
Mar 28, 2014 G. Branden rated it liked it
Frivolous in places, and eccentric throughout, this book nevertheless had utility and was a fast read.

As I advance in years I am increasingly convinced that an imperative of education is, or rather should be, to develop accurate intuitions before stressing out about rigor, whether mathematical or otherwise.

Some students have more facility at manipulations (algebraic and symbolic) than others, but if one lacks an instinct for whether one's answer even makes sense, one can be well-prepared for an
Aug 23, 2012 Ethan rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, how-to
Kenn Amdahl's writing style reminds me of an especially goofy teacher or older relative. The book's cheesiness is almost entirely redeemed by its heart, which is an odd thing to say about a non-fiction book on electronics. This book greatly expanded my understanding of the subject, which it should be noted, was not an especially high bar to reach, but it did it in such a way that I was rolling my eyes so often I was afraid they would stick that way. Some of these puns take pages to build up to. ...more
May 16, 2014 Kitsuniku rated it really liked it
A interesting take on the electron theory, and definitely more entertaining than a textbook version. Elements are written in a way that makes them easy to remember and recall.
This was a book I had actually picked up and read for enjoyment. At the time I hadn't read anything else on the subject beside the little I came across in the beginning of the computer field. Can say that I didn't regret the purchase nor the time spent reading it. And one that I'm having to replace do to another boring wit
Ken Rideout
Jan 05, 2013 Ken Rideout rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those who never had a good first year physics teacher
Recommended to Ken by: Philip Rideout
This book is a basically a compilation of useful metaphors for thinking about electricity embedded in a funny story. It really drives home to me the need for better high school physics teachers. I feel I use a lot of these metaphors myself already (whether my students find me as entertaining as this book is another thing entirely though!). However, the title is a bait and switch; "There are no electrons" is actually a book all about how to visualize electrons and why they do the things they do. ...more
Jul 24, 2014 J.C. rated it really liked it
The thing I love about this book is that while whimsical, it worked. I remember concepts about electronics that I couldn't keep straight. It could be that I'm addled at understanding them, but it worked. Near the end the story somewhat gets in the way of the theory, but it's fairly late in the book.

Would still recommend to people who want to grasp basic electronics, as told by an instructor of the less boring variety.
Mar 27, 2012 Curtis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having been originally published in the early 90's, this book is starting to show some age. It's written in a very approachable way even though I felt the fantastical story the author included around his more technical sections was often distracting. Having studied physics in college, I was looking for something to re-familiarize myself with electronics, and I realized early on that this book was not geared towards someone in my position. I still found several of Amdahl's explanations and metaph ...more
Oct 10, 2008 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2008
I'm afraid I was severely disappointed with this book. It promised to give a new approach to teaching the principles of Electronics.

It did start out that way. But the author's need to tell a fictional story got annoyingly in the way of teaching electronics. Especially the "groovy" language that dates the text throughout.

By the end, it was a strange combination of fantasy story and a depressingly "normal" explanation of N and P junctions.

Though it helped my understanding of capacitors, I cannot
Feb 27, 2011 Miles rated it really liked it
This book is a marvelous introductory guide to basic electronics. I wish I'd read it years ago, since I'd already learned most of the content the hard way before I ever cracked it open. The writing style takes a notoriously dry subject and makes it humorous and engaging, occasionally swerving off into the bizarre. A case in point is the author's assertion that what are commonly referred to as electrons are in actuality little green men who, more often than not, are driving sports cars. It gets s ...more
Andy Perkins
May 14, 2009 Andy Perkins rated it liked it
This book helped clean up my understanding of electricity and electrons that other analogies (like the water tank analogy) messed up for me. I appreciate how Amdahl understands that theory jargon can mask understanding. The sideshow humor and fiction can get annoying, but it is worth wading through for the clearly presented concpets on capacitance, inductance, etc..
Nov 20, 2011 Brian rated it it was amazing
Great introduction to electronics! Although the side stories can be a bit longwinded, the concepts of electricity are explained very clearly. Not only does he explain electrical theory but he also applied the concepts to real life examples, like, how radios and motors work.

Highly recommended for anyone who needs a refresher on electronics.
Mar 08, 2011 Mark added it
This book is awesome for anybody who wants to learn about electronics but doesn't want to get too deep into the theory or the math. It posits that nobody understands electricity and anybody that says they do is lying. From there, it builds a foundation of knowledge based on observed behavior and shared experience.
Lee Falin
Feb 16, 2015 Lee Falin rated it really liked it
This book completely changed the way I viewed non-fiction writing. If you have even a passing interest in electricity or electronics, but never quite understood electron theory, this is the book for you.
Apr 24, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: dave cantorman
Wish I had had this when my daughter was taking physics and chemistry and really wanted to know why we don't know the fundamental "nature" of reality. This book works to explore phenomena and admit we really don't understand the "why" of things.
Mark Yoshida
Jul 13, 2012 Mark Yoshida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a book about basic electronics, it's very good. Has lots of information presented in a logical, accessible manner. Could benefit w/ more updated illustrations. Story format kind of got lost by the end of the book. Still, I'm glad I read this.
Feb 24, 2012 Ed rated it really liked it
An interesting approach to electrical theory. I am well versed in electronics and electricity as a whole, I found it very insightful and have used several of the analogies in my own training sessions.
Jul 28, 2009 Carol rated it it was amazing
Easy to read primer of basic electronics. No heavy terms, nutshell concepts, and irrelevant asides. A fun book, the proves that understand the basic ideas of any subject if its presented right.
Rhian Davies
Little bit odd. Wasn't joking about "there are no electrons", apparently current is made of lots of tiny green men who love to party, the tiny green women have boom-boxes and beer.
Alex Peterson
Jul 23, 2015 Alex Peterson rated it really liked it
It's a funny, relaxed explanation of electronics for people who aren't satisfied with the black-box treatment you get in science classes. I love the style, and it's simply a joy to read.
Aug 25, 2012 Harry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A great introduction to electronics an electrical theory for someone who has no, or very little, knowledge of the field. Also, it is entertaining as hell!
Jan 12, 2009 Curtiss rated it liked it
Amdahl employs an interesting conceit to explain electricity. He compares electricity to a trained elephant that a child can control, given the appropriate commands.
Feb 19, 2013 Michael rated it liked it
Cute despite the mixed metaphors, awkward story pacing, and everything else. Above all, pretty effective.
dave cantorman
Sep 16, 2008 dave cantorman rated it it was amazing
A model of electricity simply presented, without using electrons or any of that technical stuff.
Christopher Fox
May 14, 2013 Christopher Fox rated it really liked it
A blast! A unique and useful way of looking at electricity and electronics.
Michael T
May 13, 2011 Michael T rated it really liked it
One of the best anthropomorphisms of electricity ever written!
Jesus Nomellames
Jan 08, 2013 Jesus Nomellames rated it it was amazing
Great and funny, fast read, awesome for teenagers
Moh Alshafe
Moh Alshafe rated it really liked it
May 04, 2016
Chris Mowers
Chris Mowers rated it really liked it
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Apr 23, 2016
Gabi Case
Gabi Case marked it as to-read
Apr 11, 2016
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