I was somewhat hesitant to buy a tutorial book that had not been reviewed yet (this book is copyright 2010 and came out Dec. 09), but I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised. This book offers from-the-ground-up instruction with all the basics from how to install Wordpress to customizing a template.
The author, George Plumley, has a pleasant style that is neither condescending to the newbie or goofy like I have found some of the "yellow books" to be. I haven't found any fluff here, just solid step-by-step advice and lessons.
I really was just following along and not thinking about whether the book is "good" or "bad", just going through it. Then, in Lesson 7: Working with the Text Editor, I found myself recognizing one of the many gems in this book. As someone who has struggled with more than one text editor until I found out that if you copy/paste from someplace else you need to get rid of the formatting first, I know that this author had the non-geek in mind when he wrote this. His advice is to open a text program such as Notepad and paste the text in there, then copy/paste from Notepad into the editor in Wordpress and the excess coding will be stripped away. Now, this is basic information for a lot of people, but remember the first time you tried to figure out why that Word formatting kept showing up in your Wordpress text editor? Yes, this author had that person in mind and gently drops in a paragraph with a couple of sentences in it addressing the problem and suggesting a solution.
I have hired a designer to do websites in Wordpress for a couple of clients and I wanted to learn to do it myself. I am confident that I'll be able to do it myself next time, thanks to the information provided in this book. The author spends some time going over some of the basics of site planning and organization, basic design, SEO, and backups. If you are a budding website builder, you'll get a lot of time-tested information here. Yes, many books go deeper into each of these subjects, but for the person wanting to put their first site together or get a refresher on the basics, why buy another book if you don't have to? There's plenty of meat to digest here.
The CD is a great bonus, too.
If you have dabbled with Wordpress but knew you were only scratching the surface, do yourself a favor and invest in this book. Certainly, there are those that will say that all of this information is available for free on the web. Yeah, but not in step-by-step form and not in a format you can carry along with you when you're waiting somewhere or need to find the information quickly.
I don't know this author, but I do know that if he writes any other books about a subject that I'm interested in, I'm quite likely to buy it based on my experience with this book/CD combo. I buy and read a lot of techy type books and if I ever owned a book that deserves "6 stars", this is it. This is the gold standard by which all tech-related books should be measured for common sense writing style.