As a beginner's guide, the Mac OS X Book assumes only very basic knowledge, instead focusing on introducing ideas through background knowledge and theory - all in an easy-to-read, light-hearted style.
The author has excellent credentials, having previously published books dating back to the release of The Mac OS 8 Book, and the bundled companion CD contains many useful tools and utilities.
The Mac OS X Book is logically structured: more advanced concepts and methods are examined only after foundation knowledge has been covered. The book's easy-to-follow layout, regular - and relevant - black and white screen shots, point-form summaries and boxed tips mean that even experienced Macintosh users will find themselves learning things along the way.
Topics covered in the book include introductory basic information, configuration of the OS, memory and application management, file organisation, Classic mode, multimedia, scripting, the Internet, networking and much more.
The book touched only a little on the UNIX core of Mac OS X - a topic more likely to be covered in the author's upcoming Mac OS X book for advanced users. Something also to note is that, even though it was published in 2001, it is already slightly out of date. With the OS X update to 10.1 in September, there are now many more functions OS X can perform that are not addressed by this book, including DVD playback, new methods of dock customisation and support for networking with Windows machines without third-party software.
Keeping in mind the issue that new features in 10.1 are not covered, the book is still a straightforward, down-to-earth and informative introduction to Mac OS X.