This book is a good introduction to readers who are beginners in the world of embedded programming and real-time operating systems. A real-time OS facilitates the creation of real-time systems, but does not guarantee that they are real-time. Nor does an RTOS necessarily have high throughput. Instead, they enable, through specialized scheduling algorithms and deterministic behavior, the guarantee that system deadlines can be met. Thus a real-time OS is valued more for how quickly it can respond to an event than for the total amount of work it can do.
This book, written by a senior architect at Wind River Systems, is very VxWorks centric. This is OK, since VxWorks is one of the better commercial real-time operating systems out there, having been on the scene in various forms since 1983. This book will introduce you to all of the terminology you will need to be familiar with before you write code that uses VxWorks. I highly recommend it for anybody who is or is planning to get involved in embedded systems. Since so many robot designers end up programming with VxWorks, I highly recommend it especially to them. The concepts of scheduling, tasks, semaphores, queues, exceptions, and timers are all covered very well, even for those readers who have no previous exposure to operating systems in general. There is plenty of pseudocode and instructive diagrams. However, when it comes to actually writing an embedded system with VxWorks, no book that I know of actually gives out that kind of knowledge. There is no substitute to attaching yourself to a person experienced in this sort of work and learning by example. But first, read this book so that you understand what it is that they are teaching you. For real newbies, read "Designing Embedded Hardware" to get an idea of what devices make up an embedded system, and then "Programming Embedded Systems with C and C++" to get an idea of how these devices are controlled. At that point, you will be ready for this book.