If this book is priced at $7.95 and the "guide" in title replaced with something like "cheat sheet" or "advise", I'd consider giving it solid three stars.
You see, the word "guide" implies certain expectation of providing solid reference from A to Z. If you publishing a guide, you put your book in the same league with such excellent products like "Graphic Guide to Frame Construction (For Pros By Pros) " and "Residential Framing. A Homebuilder's Construction Guide". Both those books contain hundreds of pages with amazing quality diagrams, pictures, schematics etc and you can buy them at half price around $12 on Amazon. You just cannot call a rather random collection of [valid] facts, opinions and jokes a "guide". Or can you? Well, I paid the full price for the book and I'm compelled to give the author a run for his money.
The author spends four out of seven paragraphs in the Introduction talking up his credentials and trying to scare the reader with the perils of building a house by yourself. He lists all the tribulations one has to go through to become a PE ( professional engineer ) and declares building your own house to be "one of the most difficult, time-consuming, and trying life experiences a person can go through".
If when reading this, you cringe or begin to wonder whether the author is opinionated to point of being myopic, he promptly confirms your bias by fixing you with advise as opinionated as uncalled for: having established "Yes, I Can" on the subject of housebuilding, he promptly puts you down with a barrage of "No, You Can't" opinions in the remaining part of Introduction: "Come to your senses" he says, and "try to build a car first; if you succeed, you may be able to build a house".
Alas, you can't build your own house by yourself and you bound to use the "best advise" Mr. Rentz can give you, which is "to hire a good residential contractor. Remember, they have forgotten more than you will ever know about house building". Wow, this is rich, I'm learning a mile a minute here.
So, despite the book's title, forget it, you can't do anything yourself, you must delegate! What's the value of this book then?? May be, it focuses on how to delegate and deal with the contractors? No. The book is a rather random collection of valid facts about house building but it's useless because of gaping holes in every topic, so that you cannot use it as a guide, nor the book reaches any practical levels of teaching you how to delegate work to contractors. For a typical example, in the Roofing chapter, the advise is to "Always be sure that the roofing is installed per roofing manufacturer's written recommendations or your warranty for the material will be lost". That's nice to know, but I still have no clue how to verify that. Another pearl of wisdom: "What do you need to remember about your foundations is this: do not skimp on them and get them right the first time". I don't know about you, but this format doesn't work for me, I want to learn everything and more, this book dispenses knowledge in spoons based on the author's assumption about "what you need to remember".
There are very few diagrams in the book. Neither Foundations nor Roofing nor Framing have any drawings. How can this be a guide if you don't provide a single sketch of any foundation detail???
The few pictures used in the book are pretty bad, they are black and white, grainy with poor contrast, some are really dark. The online preview looks better but printed on paper it looks like a flashback from the 70s. The couple of 14" x 18" blueprints for illustration purposes are crammed into 3"x4" pics, making them utterly useless.
on the positive side, if you filter out the opinions, anecdotes and rants, there are valid facts in the book worth knowing and keeping in mind. For example, minimizing lumber cutting by conforming with the common sizes. I don't dispute the validity of information