So there's all kinds of reviews here that express disappointment that a book titled "30 Exercises" is chock full of "exercises". Crazy. Don't be fooled by these passive-aggressive reviews. This book is a gem.
As for my experience with the book it is *exactly* what I wanted. The chapters are short, concise and pointed. And you can accomplish them, in any order, if you simply try. There's no need to buy new lighting, no need for a new lens, no need to study rules of composition, no need to rent a studio, .... Just Go and Do It. Take some photos. Think about the essence of people. Look into their eyes - there's depth in there. Wait for it, Click. Chat it up. Wait a second, Click. How wonderful.
Not happy with your lighting? Go to a window. Find a garage. It's basic stuff, but it's organized for you to learn. Practice the right way and it'll all come together when it matters most to you, like on Christmas morning, or when you're enjoying a brew on the front porch with some buds. These exercises teach you to see that moment and capture it.
My favorite exercise is the one focused on developing your style. It's purely a white-paper and pen exercise, too, but taking the time to really think about what I wanted to capture makes so much difference. Just to share, my vision for people photographs is that they catch a moment of fullness and expectation, just like that split-second when the head of your brew crests the top of the mug. Cheers!