Escape from Cubicle Nation definitely is a cut above most books on starting a business -- increasingly a necessary step as companies cut back and executives face age discrimination. Author Slim manages to be realistic without scaring readers and her upbeat humorous writing is delightful.
Slim has studied with Martha Beck and the first part of the book reminded me of Beck's own book, Finding Your Own North Star. The chapter on "Reality of Entrepreneurship" was excellent. I like the refreshing way Slim is not afraid to criticize icons, such as those who say "follow your passion" as well as the whole MLM scene. It's about time someone said those things in a business book.
I also liked the section on telling friends and family. I'm not an expert on families so I can't evaluate the suggested discussion scripts. I'd like to see even more emphasis on the challenges of losing a familiar support group and dealing with the in-between time before another one shows up.
Slim rightly emphasizes the need to sock away six months of living expenses (I'd say two years). Her specific money-saving tips are excellent.
(1) Slim acknowledges that she spends 90% of her time with clients discussing choosing a market. In my experience, successful entrepreneurs have a gift for finding the sweet spot where what a market wants meets what they can offer. I'd have liked to see far more emphasis on market and marketing. The section on prototypes is very good but doesn't go far enough, especially with the sub-head of finding a niche.
(2) I don't know any successful people who will serve as mentors without charging. You have to be prepared to pay. One of my own clients wanted a mentor for a retail business. Having been successful in one arena, he knew what to do. He found a successful business owner in another city (so he wouldn't be competing) and offered to pay a significant sum for mentoring. He never attempted to get free help.
Agencies (such as the SBA in the US) and adult education courses offer help but the quality is uneven. You may get lucky or you may waste a lot of time.
The section on outsourcing mentions coaches but hiring a coach can be a critical decision - on a totally different level from hiring a virtual assistant or designer. I would say that after knowing the market, choosing the right mentors is the biggest and most critical decision you can make.
(3) I'd like to see more discussion of actually leaving the cubicle nation. My own clients talk about challenges like finding time to get started while you're working long hours, dealing with conflict of interest requirements (some companies have draconian policies on part time work), and shifting your mindset from employee to entrepreneur. You really need to keep your plans secret till you've gotten enough momentum for liftoff. And some people need an in-between job that brings in income without being too distracting.
(4) I agree that a "live anywhere" business offers many attractive choices. But you need to investigate specific aspects of business tax and regulatory policies before moving. You also have to recognize the dangers of feeling isolated when you're surrounded by people with different values. Sadly, when there's a lower cost of living, there's usually a reason. This topic could be a whole book, too.
Bottom line: It's a good starting place with lots of practical advice and food for thought. The value of a comprehensive book is that you get a fast overview of just about all the issues. Just be aware that you'll need to go into much greater depth as you move along.