Three years ago, MAKE published Charles Platt's book Make: Electronics, which I consider the best book on learning electronics I've ever come across. As Gareth Branwyn, the editor of the book said, "we decided to make it our mission to create a book that would patiently guide readers into the world of electronics in a way that was fun, clear-spoken, graphical, and experiential." (Disclosure: I'm the editor in chief of MAKE, so I'm biased).
Now Charles has a new book, which could be considered a kind of companion volume to Make: Electronics. It's called Encyclopedia of Electronic Components. It's the first of a forthcoming three-volume series of fact-checked reference guides to electronic components. This first volume covers power sources and power conversion: batteries, fuses, buttons, switches, relays, resistors, potentiometers, capacitors, transformers, power supplies, motors, diode, and transistors.
Like Make: Electronics, the Encyclopedia of Electronic Components is a clearly written and lavishly illustrated introduction to electronics. While Charles' first book covered the basics of electronics and electronic circuits, his second book explains what components are, how they work, and how they are used. It's meant to be a reference, but I enjoyed reading it from start to finish, because I don't know much about components, the wide variety of each kind of component, and what they're used for.
Charles also dedicated the book to me, and I'm honored that he did.