OK, I'm sorry, but this book is horrid. If you didn't have the internet, then fine, it would be better than nothing, but if you DO have an internet connection and a computer with a web browser, the instructions and general information that you can find online will be more or less as good as what you find in this book (or in many cases, not as good). That is to say, not great and most often inapplicable. If you're doing your own plumbing it's almost certainly not because you have a brand new, up to date house. And it's as often as not repair or replacement of an existing item--perhaps a new p trap, perhaps a new faucet, perhaps a repair of a toilet or clogged drain. Pictures of the simple, straightforward situation, and simplistic step by step "instructions" are of limited usefulness to anyone who already has some common sense and mechanical and DIY aptitude.
So, what you would look for in a helpful book on plumbing--or what I was looking for--was something BEYOND this, something more in depth. I want to know some of the more likely variations I might see--in any old house, for example. I want a good section on the best tool set to get you started, along with rules of thumb and tips for using those tools. I want a section which takes you through the basics of threaded pipe assembly, teflon tape, thread sealant--and not in a stupid "use teflon tape" statement inside a single step of the instructions! HOW MUCH tape? What's the best way to handle it? Should you cut it? Should you pull it to break it off? Should you use tape AND sealant? What is the difference between soft set and hard set sealant? And how about some recommendations for when to use which type? What are the most useful sizes of pipe wrench to own for the average homeowner? How tight do you tighten various fittings? Should you use 3/8 copper flexible tube and compression fittings to install your faucet, or are braided hoses with gaskets the better, easier way to go?
I could go on and on about all that is MISSING from this book!
I just recently replaced the drain and p-trap in my upstairs sink, for example. I read the relevant material in this book and bought the parts I was going to need. Now, of course, very little went as the instructions went! I knew this would be the case, of course, but this is my point. I won't go into all the gory details, but the most important, and difficult sticking point was that the outlet of the old p-trap did NOT have a compression nut on it. Instead, it screwed into 1 1/4 DWV. And, to make matters worse, the pipe itself freaking just disintegrated when I tried to turn it out of the DWV elbow female threaded fitting, and left behind a VERY substantial male threaded ring stuck inside the fitting. It took me 2 hours to get the stupid thing out. I didn't want to damage the elbow, as it was sweated onto the drain-waste-vent line and was right against the back wall of the bathroom. But I had to get the ring out. I cut it in three or four places with a jab saw with a metal cutting sawzall blade installed, being very careful not to cut too far, and banged it inwards with a mallet and screwdriver until I destroyed the integrity of the ring and broke it at one of the cuts. Once that was done, it turned out very easily by hand. But now what? I didn't know. So I went to the local Home Depot and fortunately found someone who worked there who knew exactly what I was talking about and what I needed and sold me a nipple that threaded into the DWV elbow and into which the p-trap outlet fit and onto which the compression nut threaded.
There is absolutely NOTHING in this book to help you in REAL WORLD plumbing situations. If you tackle a project, it's rather unlikely it will resemble the pictures and steps in this book. I understand that a book can't cover every scenario. Fine. But you'd expect good general advice about the many SITUATIONS you will almost certainly run into. More than one plumber I've talked to has mentioned the strategy of cutting a stuck male fitting, or breaking one. This book says nothing. Nor does it do very well with explaining what all the conventions and acronyms mean.
I don't know what else to suggest as an alternative--I'm in the process of researching that--but this book is lousy. Horrid. Very disappointing. A waste of money. Really. Next to useless.