Although it claims to be an applicable book for someone already studying design, or web designers who already know how to code, the material covered in this book should either be common sense or self-explanatory for designers or web developers. For example, one "tip" found in Chapter 2 is, "Perhaps one reason paper remains popular is that it offers accuracy and immediacy. No waiting, no apps, no learning curve; you just apply the pencil to the paper and create something that gives an impression." Thanks, now I know why people sketch and take notes! There's plenty of similar extraneous text to be found here. Another problem with Distinctive Design is that the depth of theory and design principles covered is very shallow. This could make the material difficult for some readers to apply to real world situations, of which there are no examples. Without seeing examples of these theories actually operating in web design, the book does not make me trust that the author actually has experience with what he is talking about at a professional level (even though he supposedly does). After looking at the author's personal homepage, I was still unable to find solid, working examples of "distinctive designs" which worried me further. Based on the description of this book, I expected much more.
I was hoping this would be a good accompaniment to other books I have purchased for the purpose of teaching myself better practices in web design, but it seems to be just a nice cover with a clever title. If your purposes are similar to mine, you'll probably find more use in "Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug (which it's obvious he has read and is citing) and "Thinking With Type" by Ellen Lupton (while this is strictly about typography and predominately print, it goes into much more detail about the history and theories, and has an entire section about the grid that uses web examples). Both of those titles use real-world examples and point you towards other reading they have found useful.
I think maybe if he took Steve Krug's advice and removed half of the content, and then removed half of what was left over, this might be a more worthwhile read, rather than an annoying and kind of insulting read.