This is the most comprehensive book on Reiki that I have ever come across. I was so fascinated that I stayed up and read the whole book in one night--and I have read it, or even single chapters, again and again. Diane Stein's experiences in trying to find a way to learn Reiki (since her financial means were limited) were especially intriguing to me. I was convinced by her view that all people are meant to know Reiki, and as a Reiki Master, I have attuned everyone free. I do not have the time to teach extensively, so I explain the basics and see that the student has William Rand's Reiki, The Healing Touch for a basic introductory text. (I use a book in Japanese for those who don't read English.) For people who want more information, I always recommend Essential Reiki. I think taking classes with good teachers and classmates on whom to practice is probably the optimum way to learn Reiki, but as Ms. Stein says, that's not always an option.
Like the writer of another Amazon.com review, I do distant attunements, and the idea for doing so, and the instructions, I got from this book, although it seems that Ms. Stein does not herself do distant attunements intended to replace in-person ones.
Another piece of information I first encountered in Essential Reiki is the fact that doing too many attunements at once can exhaust a person. Her account of her own experiences was most helpful to me. It explained some odd experiences I had seen or heard of from others.
I don't always see eye to eye with Ms. Stein, as when she says one needs to put both hands on the body to do Reiki. I give myself Reiki on the train going to and from work, with only one hand on my body and the other hand holding the book I'm reading. She also says, or suggests, that one needs to actually touch to do Reiki, whereas I have felt Reiki from both myself and others when the hands are not touching the body. I also think she has an overly idealistic view of Buddhism. Living in Japan presents the religion and its effects a trifle differently than they are described by people who are acquainted with them mainly in theory.
These differences aside, I find Ms. Stein's book extremely valuable, and I have the utmost respect for her. I also admire her for her values and for all the good she is doing in the world. I know that her publishing the Reiki symbols is deplored by some, but I considered her reasons completely valid. In contrast to what is said in another review, I consider Ms. Stein's method of attunement excellent. I have only managed one in her style because I can't yet hold my breath long enough, but another (more experienced) American Reiki Master here says he has switched to her method of attunement because he finds it definitely stronger. For anyone who wants to know about Reiki in depth, this book is truly ESSENTIAL.