At a brief 112 pages plus an 8 page index, you'll need to be sure that this book meets your particular needs. Its particular strengths are that it DOES quickly and concisely cover the basics of how to create and develop spreadsheets starting with Calc Essentials (chapter 1), Formulas, Functions and Formatting (chapters 2 to 4) and then covers in detail a selected subset of the standard OpenOffice Calc in-built functions in the remaining 9 chapters. I liked the way the author concisely adds in useful references to extensions of the subject being discussed without distracting from the main point.
While this book is written for OpenOffice Calc it equally applies to LibreOffice Calc [..]. Briefly, when Oracle bought out Sun Microsystems in April 2009, they inherited the OpenOffice suite and in the eyes of the Open Source movement, badly managed support and development of that suite. The result was LibreOffice, a new community-driven fork of the OpenOffice.org code by the not-for-profit organization, The Document Foundation. Eventually, not sure how they could profit from it, Oracle donated OpenOffice.org to the Apache Software Foundation in June 2011.
Both free office suites remain actively supported (when this review was written in December 2011, LibreOffice was at V3.4.4 vs OpenOffice at 3.3.0), but while recent updates to OpenOffice appear to mainly have reflected changes in ownership of the suite (e.g. splash screen changes), LibreOffice have incorporated long outstanding enhancements and some bug fixes in their releases, plus extended support for many more languages. At the level covered in this book, you can use either OpenOffice or LibreOffice and not notice any difference.
Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice work on Windows, Mac and Linux, enabling you to readily exchange documents between the different platforms. Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice support open standards for the file structure of your office documents, so using either gives you the huge advantage of not having access to your documents dictated by proprietary changes in a closed binary format office suite.
While the book doesn't specify which version of OpenOffice it is written for, any V3 version is fine.
How to know if this book is for you
While it could be argued that much of the book content can be found in the Help section of OpenOffice, the book's value is in the way it has selected and categorised a subset of useful functions and included worked examples for each covered function, quite often with useful references to related functions. Hence I recommend you check whether the content of chapters 5 to 13 match your anticipated usage of Calc. Simple and utility mathematical functions are over-viewed in chapters 5 and 6 respectively, useful statistical functions in chapter 7 and a pretty solid coverage (14 pages) of financial calculations is given in chapter 8. This chapter is where you'll quickly recoup the financial outlay on this book by learning how to use Calc to make better financial decisions! Chapter 9 covers text formatting functions, including coverage of functions like Clean and Trim that are useful to clean up imported data. Also covered are the TEXT and CONCATENATE/& functions that can prove useful if you want to format part of a text string in a cell. Chapter 10 covers conversion functions, utility functions (code to/from ASCII and string functions) are covered in chapter 11 and Chapter 12 is a very useful chapter on time and date functions (but no mention of how the display of time/date data changes with different country settings). The book finishes with how to use IF statements with relational operators and logical functions, showing how you can set up simple rules with these to give your spreadsheets some smarts.
What I expected to find and didn't
Given the book's claims that it covers working with large sets of data, I would have expected mention of how to import data from text or CSV files and the very useful navigation tips to move around large data files, Ctrl-direction-arrows, Ctr-Home, Ctrl-End and the Ctrl-Shift equivalents for selecting data.
Collaboration also gets a mention on the back cover, but I could only see a section on how to reference external Calc files in other sheets, worksheets or other computers.
There is virtually no mention of inter-operability with other office suites, nor coverage of charts.
LibreOffice and OpenOffice References:
1) LibreOffice vs OpenOffice status at October 2011
2) Excellent overview of the differences in V3.3.0 of the two suites: