I rarely read how-to books and think most of them are pretty lame, but this one is a clear exception. I hadn't read a how-to book on the pencil for decades (and I vaguely remember getting the basics from a couple of good books by Ted Kautzky and Paul Calle) and found this book by accident while looking for something else. I was instantly drawn to it (sorry...).
Seriously, though, this is one of the best how-to books I've ever read. Hillberry sets out to do, and does, exactly what his title says it's going do. I can't imagine someone working with this book and not getting something valuable from it. The author's prose style is like his drawing style, very clear and straight ahead. It's not verbose or vague and it's not too terse either. In chapters 1 and 2 he describes the basic tools and general methods of using abrasive media (not ust pencils but powdered graphite, charcoal, graphic blocks etc.). Then he moves on to some tutorials, well chosen to explain the problems of rendering general types of things - metal, wood, he human eye... There are many little gems within the tutorial that will reinforce the general technical points in chapter 2. Like all how-to books there is kind of a jump involved, a certain point where to the naive (most of the market for how-to books, probably) it seems like the author goes from point a, b, c... to point r. That's inevitable. How could it not be? If this stuff was easy, then everybody could do it. Drawing is not easy, but it's the most direct means of creating art, an irreplaceable core skill, useful to painters and sculptors as much as anyone else, and potentially a wonderful end in itself (think about it... think what Raphael and Michaelangelo did with a pencil; look at Henry Moore's drawings, look at... no, there's too many great works of art that are drawings to even consider listing them).
This book can help you with your drawing even if you're not a realist. Highly recommended.