The book covers many areas of electronics design, from basic DC voltage, current, and resistance, to active filters and oscillators, to digital electronics, including microprocessors and digital bus interfacing. It also includes discussions of such often-neglected areas as high-frequency, high-speed design techniques and low-power applications.
The book includes many example circuits. In addition to having examples of good circuits, it also has examples of bad ideas, with discussions of what makes the good designs good and the bad ones bad. It can be described as a cross between a textbook and reference manual, though without the chapter-end questions and exercises which are often found in textbooks.
There is also a complementary text, Student Manual for The Art of Electronics by Thomas C. Hayes and Paul Horowitz. The Student Manual, while referencing the main text extensively, is designed specifically to teach electronics. It contains laboratory exercises and explanatory text supplements aimed at the student. In contrast, The Art of Electronics contains tables, equations, diagrams, and other material practitioners use for reference.