Episode 20 – 20 Electrical Books Worth Reading

If you aspire to be a wizard electrician, or just somebody super into electricity, this episode is for you.  I’ve compiled a good chunk of my electrical library, and in this video I go through the 20 books that I think are worth reading and why.

As many of you know, I’m a nerd.  I read a lot of electrical articles, magazines, books, etc.  I’ve had quite a few people ask me on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter what books they should read, and where might they find practice tests for taking their Journeyman test.

So…I’ve compiled a list of my top 20 electrical books (listed in order of the video)

  1. Trigonometry – (really…any trigonometry text book that was written in the last 10 years will work)  Trigonometry deals with angles, and as an electrician that helps you understand sine waves, pipe bending, and layout.  Trig is not essential to know to be an electrician, but it will help you out if you do know it.

  2. Basic Electricity And Electronics – A great intro to the fundamentals of electricity, how it works, what it is, and the basic components involved.  This goes a little into ohm’s law as well.

  3. Currents, Fields, And Particles – This is an old-school electrical engineering or physics book I’m sure.  Super dense with calculus level math, and physics.  It’s a great read if you can hang with it.

  4. Electronics From The Ground Up – A good fudamentals book for you hackers and tinkerers out there.  This goes more into electronics than electrical as it pertains to our job as electricians.

  5. Principles Of Electrodynamics – Another old-school electrical engineering/physics text, very in depth but it may put you to sleep or make you want to pull your hair out from all the math!

  6. Electricity 1-7 – Hands down the best book on the planet for every electrician to read.  It covers the technicalities of theory and explains everything in a very straight forward way.  The illustrations on every page help visual learners as well.  BUY THIS BOOK TODAY!

  7. Grounding v.s. Bonding – One of Mike Holt’s books, very in depth.  Packed with tons of great illustrations, code references, and explanations beyond the code.

  8. Basic Motor Controls – Another one of Mike Holt’s books, this pertains less to code than actual components, diagrams, schematics, and ladder logic.  Good book to get your chops around if you’re just starting down your path into motor controls.

  9. Industrial Motor Controls – This is another one of my favorites.  So in depth, this book covers everything you’ll come across in the field from switches, relays, contactors to motors, generators, transformers, and all of the thousands of switching devices that interact with these components to make automation happen.

  10. Principles of Electric Circuits – College text book, nothing special except for instructional math, example problems you can work through.  Focuses a lot more on electronics than electrical.

  11. Transformer Principals And Applications – I’ve never known there was so much to know about transformers until I read this book.  It demands a little knowledge of electrical so it’s not a good starter book if you’re a day one greenhorn but by the end of it you’ll know more than you could ever imagine. BUY THIS BOOK!

  12. The Tesla Papers – This is more of a fun book to read if you’re super nerdy and like history.  It goes through a lot of Nikola Tesla’s papers, experiments, and diagrams.  Loads of great perspective from this guy.

  13. Tesla – Master Of Lightning – Another good book simply for novelty.  Not a lot to learn theory from here, but a good one if you like Tesla and want to know more about him.

  14. Current N.E.C Code Book (NFPA 70) – Duh…

  15. Understanding The Electrical Code Vol. 1 – Mike Holt’s explanation (with images) of the NEC chapters 1-4

  16. Understanding The Electrical Code Vol. 2 – Mike Holt’s explanation (with images) of the NEC chapters 5-8

  17. Electrical Exam Preparation – Mike Holt’s exam prep book, very good to get your hands ahold of if you’re looking for study materials for a journeyman/master electrician test.

  18. Dewalt Electrical Licensing Exam Guide – Another great study guide chalked full of practice tests.  Seriously…TONS of tests.  Just be sure to buy the most current version available.

  19. Electrical Courses For Apprentices And Journeymen – This is right up there with Electricity 1-7 as far as depth and quality.  This book is a MUST HAVE.  Buy it and read it, re-read it, and read it again.  It will continue to teach you as you grow in your career.  There’s not much that isn’t covered in this book.

  20. EC&M Magazine – In my opinion, the ONLY electrical magazine to concern yourself with.  There are others, but they mostly talk about the industry and brands, whereas EC&M talks about things that matter to us guys in the field.

There are more books that could be added to this list but I figured in light of this being my 20th episode, I’d do 20 books to make it easier.

Please let me know if there are any other books out there that you’ve read that you think would make an outstanding addition (or trade) to this list.

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Practice Tests and Study Materials


Your guide to passing your Journeyman Electrician or Master Electrician state exam

Hey everyone!  I’m getting a lot of people asking for practice tests and study materials for taking their Journeyman / Master Electrician exams.  I passed my Master Test on the first try and it’s only because I studied for a year before taking it.  The Journeyman test is pretty difficult as well, but not as bad as the Master.

I’ve decided to scan some notes and practice tests that I’ve used.  There’s a lot more coming but until I get the books and guides I’ve borrowed out to friends this is all I’ve got.  In another post I’ll also recommend some books and magazines for those of you actually taking this whole studying thing seriously.


Hand-Written Sample Questions



Simulated Practice Exam

More coming soon!!!

What To Do With Them

STUDY!!!  The best way to pass this test ahead of you is to do as many practice tests as you can get your hands on before ever setting foot in that room.  It’s not about how much of the NEC you can memorize…nobody does that.  The test is about how much of it you can quickly find.


When you’re sitting in that test room make sure you take this test methodically.  There is a right way and a wrong way to take a 4-hour (5-hour for Masters) timed exam.  

What you DON’T want to do is spend time answering every question one after the other unless you can quickly find every answer.  Being that this is a timed test you need to approach this a certain way.  Practice these steps each time you take a practice exam:

  1. Take the first 10 minutes and go through the entire test from beginning to end and only answer the questions you KNOW 100%.
  2. After that go through a second time and answer the questions you can find in under 2 minutes.  This will get you a couple hours into the test and ensuring that you have everything correct up to this point.  NO GUESSING!!!  If you have to guess…skip it.  Do not answer it if you’re just going to guess.
  3. Once you’ve gotten all the way through the second pass, take a 60 second breather.  Now you’ve seen the entire test twice front to back.  You know what questions are huge time-wasters (calculating multiple motor circuits, service load calculations, conductor ampacity/pipe fill – mostly math-based questions that require flipping through multiple tables and areas in the code book; and what questions are just difficult to find (wind turbine, electrified truck parking, mobile refrigeration, specific cord and conductor properties and uses, and pretty much anything in grounding (Art 250).
  4. Begin your third pass by trying to find the difficult-to-find questions.  Try to limit your time on this to under 3 minutes per question.  If you have to stretch it to 4 minutes on a couple that’s fine.  But if you have 25 questions left and an hour to spare, that ONE extra minute per question adds up to a wasted half hour in a hurry!
  5. After you’ve found MOSTLY everything that you can find, but are still missing a few…leave them alone and move on.  If you finish early you can mess around trying to find them later.  At this point go to the quickest math questions.  Only answer what you can in 3-4 minutes, if it takes longer skip it (AGAIN).  The theory here is that you’re narrowing down your questions answered correctly to 75% or more.  (ex. if you are taking a 100 question Master test, once you’ve guaranteed you’ve answered 75 questions right the rest do not matter.   You’ve already passed.  Now don’t be stupid and assume that you’ve gotten all of them right, and stop trying after 75..then fail the test because you were wrong on one.  STILL TRY TO ANSWER EVERY QUESTION RIGHT.  YOU MAY HAVE MISSED 10 QUESTIONS YOU THOUGHT WERE RIGHT!!!
  6. Finally you should (hopefully have 10-20 minutes to spare before the test is over.  With this time left try to squeeze in anything you think you have a shot in hell answering that you’ve left blank.  If you have to guess, at this point its’ fine, but make sure you’re giving educated guesses.  Don’t just fill in “C” for everything.  You have a better shot at reading the question and eliminating the ones that make absolutely no sense.  Then picking between 2 options rather than guessing at 4.
  7. Click “Finish Test” and prepare for the cold beer waiting for you at the gas station.  Regardless if you pass, this test is a mother fucker and damn it you deserve a ice cold brew!

If you have any more questions or need any help, PLEASE reach out to me.  Either email me at dustin@journey2master.com or leave a comment on the Journey 2 Master Facebook page. (follow it first).  Or DM me at twitter, youTube, instagram…you get the idea.

Cheers, and keep grinding!



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