There Are No Electrons: Electronics for Earthlings

by Kenn Amdahl

ISBN-10: 0962781592
ISBN-13: 978-0962781599


258 Pages, trade paper, first printing 1990

More info on

Information on Kindle Version

After seeing the movie “Star Wars,” Kenn Amdahl realized that his young sons suddenly knew everything about Wookies and the Force, effortlessly, without study. Their minds were alert and engaged by all the fun in the movie, and therefore receptive to learning anything. Yoda could have taught them Chemistry. On the other hand, if Han Solo and light sabers were described in the style of some traditional text books, they would seem dull as Victorian pinochle players. Darth Vader would be as hard to remember as the fourth President of the United States, whoever that was. Kenn wondered if one could write engaging books on dull subjects that would make learning as effortless as watching a movie. To test his idea he wrote this book to explain the concepts of electricity, careful to keep the pace lively, the reading easy, entertaining, and irreverent. One would have to say it worked rather well.

But the concept was new and therefore seemed risky to publishers. The book was rejected by 89 different publishers and agents before Kenn decided all of them were simply wrong. He formed Clearwater Publishing and released it himself. Since then, it has been in print continuously, sold well, and generated an army of fans around the world. You are about to become one of them. Besides teaching thousands of people about electricity, this book helped inspire all the books for dummies and idiots as well as helping light the path for small publishers everywhere. Today, small companies publish more than half the titles released each year.

You don’t need a desire to learn about electricity to enjoy this book, any more than you need a desire to understand light swords to enjoy Star Wars. The learning is a bonus: you won’t be able to prevent it.

The latest printing has several small changes. Primarily, old nagging typos have been replaced with fresh new typoos.

Blurbs and Reviews:

Dave Barry:

“There Are No Electrons changed my life. I lost 17 pounds in five minutes without dieting, and I feel great!”

Pulitzer Prize winning author Dave Barry has written more than 30 books (many that include words) and is also a columnist (which is like a blogger, only on paper) whose work appeared in more than 500 newspapers.

Clive Cussler:

““I think There Are No Electrons is a major breakthrough in teaching the elementary physics of electricity. It should be required basic reading for high school science students.After 58 years of wandering in an electronic void, even a blockhead like me, who could never visualize the abstract, was able to penetrate the nebulous mists of amps, volts, current, induction, and conductors, and actually understand what the hell they’re all about.
“Who knows? Perhaps it will lead to a whole new concept of teaching.”

Clive Cussler, bestselling author and adventurer. Cussler’s books are published in more than 40 languages in more than 100 countries with a readership of more than 125 million avid fans. Chairman of NUMA, Cussler is a fellow in both the Explorers Club of New York and the Royal Geographic Society in London. He has also been honored with the Lowell Thomas Award for outstanding underwater exploration.

Ray Bradbury:

“Fascinating and fun! We all feel somewhat dumb when it comes to electronics. There Are No Electrons would be a proper tonic for this ignorance.”

Ray Bradbury is perhaps the most beloved science fiction writer of our time, and certainly one of the most prolific and influential. His books include Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.

George Garrett:

“I am sure that Kenn Amdahl’s lively and entertaining book will be a whole lot of help to people who are seriously engaged in learning about electronics. And that is an important achievement. But, above and beyond the practical, Amdahl, with a magical energy all his own,has created a wonderful book all about ‘a beautiful and powerful mystery.’ This book is about electricity and everything else, too. I can’t wait to recommend it to all my friends.”

George Garrett, poet laureate of Virginia, namesake of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ “George Garrett Award For Outstanding Community Service in Literature, “ winner of the PEN Malamud Award for short fiction, founding board member of AWP and beloved (if irascible) creative writing professor. Author of dozens of books, articles, and stories.

Alas, George finished his earthly manuscript in 2008 and has moved on to that great round table in the ether, where he and Mark Twain are currently trading wisecracks.

National Science Teachers Association

“If you’re faint of heart, don’t read this book. It may cause you to change! You may find yourself understanding electronics in as clear a manner as you have ever understood anything in your life. What a joy, after years of wanting to understnd jargon like “capacitive reactance” that someone has finally figured out how to make this mind understand.”

Michael A. Tolfa, National Science Teachers Association, in “The Science Teacher

Emil Venere:

“This piece of work probably will go farther to draw people into electronics than anything ever written.”

Robert M. Hazen:

“”It’s a fine, clever book and it deserves a wide readership”

Robert M. Hazen, Carnegie Institution of Washington, co-author of Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy

Dow Chemical:

“There Are No Electrons has become required reading for all my co-op students at Dow

Bob Mostafapour, Dow Chemical

Science News:

“An entertaining and practical approach to learning the elementary physics of electricity.” Science News


“Amdahl’s book has a serious purpose behind the fippancy and silliness: to teach electricity and electronics to mathematics and physics anxiety sufferers. ”

Choice Magazine (American Library Assoc)

BW’s Coda:

“Kenn Amdahl is to electronics manuals what Dr. Seuss is to children’s books”

Scott Rundle, editor. BW produces rather high end audio equipment. If you’d like to drool over some, here is a video of Scott showing off some of their new products.

Whole Earth Review

“The Mysteries of Electricity are Revealed in this bizarre and often amusing text-book-in-a-clownsuit. It’ll seem needlessly frivolous and even flippant to the annoying minority that have no trouble copping an A in physics. For the other four billion or so earth citizens, it’s about the easiest and clearest course in basic electronics imaginable. It serves well as a refresher course or a solid introduction to the complicated stuff. The presentation is accessible to a sixth-grader, yet I’d gues theat most adults would not be gagged by the author’s antics. If you can hack this style of teaching, you’ll get what you need.”

L’Arena di Pola:

“…rinfescanti, divetenti e incrediblimente semplici che, come in un romanzo di fantascienza, intorducono il lettoer “ingenuo” ne mondo della elettricita….

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA):

“The book is laced with sarcasm and irony, which have no real place in a text for novices, who cannot easily tell fact from fiction… the book should only be used by a teaching professional, who can safely extract the excellent images available for some situations and ignore the trash…it cannot be recommended.”

Robert H. Cordella, Jr, office of Research and Development, CIA