Any serious homebrewer, or anyone aspiring to become one, should read this book, and then use it as a reference tool.
It provides an introductory section, which is really a thorough course, in brewing technique, covering malts, water, color, hops and yeast. It is heavy in formulas and theory, but presented in an understandable manner (if you have already brewed).
Then it moves on to a section for each of the classical beer styles, with detailed information on each, and I was pleased with the coverage given to the traditional German ales, my favorite subject. But it is similarly thorough with respect to British ales and pilsners. Unlike other recent books, it does not put emphasis on the Belgian fad.
Since I brew mainly to please myself and not to win competitions, I am not convinced that the statistics on how the NHC runners-up brewed is significant (and there is a lot of it). It may indicate if these brewers hit a style right - but only as tasted and interpreted by the judges. Although it may be useful to take some inspiration and knowledge from these recipes, one should not be a slave to the taste (or lack of) of others or strict interpretations of style. My only other gripe is that some tables use different methods of measurements for the same thing, making it hard to compare values.
The many tables and formulas are mindboggling. Luckily you can buy software that will translate and calculate it all for you (ProMash comes to mind) - but the book is extrememly useful for your understanding of how values are calculated - in short how the beer might turn out.