The book is a pretty good introduction to tongue diagnosis. It could have been more exhaustive, though.
My chief complaint, however, is that the 50 or so color plates designed to show various phenomena are based on actual case studies where the subjects were (as is usually the case in Chinese medicine) suffering from any number of various effects. In other words, I would have preferred to see a completely normal tongue except for some jagged marks on the sides which signify spleen chi deficiency. Then I would know what spleen chi deficiency looks like on the tongue. But when the book talks about spleen chi deficiency, there is no picture. The pictures come in the end, and there some of the tongues manifest jagged marks on the side along with countless other shapes, textures, and discolorations, and I am never really sure what is what. And I am still not sure what a 'normal' tongue looks like.
But the subject is exciting, though. Most of my reviews are written about religious or linguistic subjects, and I am sure a lot of the people who read them are religious or intellectual and scoff at such subjects as tongue diagnosis in ancient Asian folk medicine. But keeping in mind that the tongue is essentially a bundle of nerves that runs right down the center of the body, and, being the governor of one of the body's five senses, plugs directly into the brain in a very significant way. After reading this book and seeing these 50 or so color plates, I am ASTOUNDED at the differences found from one tongue and the next, and do not at all doubt that the many shapes, colors, sizes, and conditions of people's tongues does have a lot to say about many aspects of their health.
This book is not too expensive and truly fascinating. Its writer is revered as a paragon of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the West. It is indispensible if you are in the TCM field, as there just aren't that many books of its type out there. My low rating and initial complaints are primarily for the benefit of the author, who is sure to expand the book in future editions. Please add more pictures above and beyond the case study method used presently. I want to see a few normal tongues. I also want to see pictures of tongues that are normal except for only one unusual feature so that I can see what that feature looks like on its own.