I have had so much fun with this book! At first I was afraid of the charts, but now that I've learned how to read them, I find them much easier to use than written directions--you can see clearly what you're supposed to do instead of having to wade through a bunch of text (and in a pattern of 90 stitches or more, text directions can be SOOO confusing!)
This is a great book if, like me, you like playing around with new things and designing your own pieces. Before this book, I was afraid of cables, too, but one night I just hunkered down and followed the directions and was amazed at how easy they actually are--so I love the large section on cables in this book.
Beginners shouldn't be afraid to try new things--after a book on basic knitting techniques (and a good teacher), this would be my next purchase. If you just try some of the more than 70 knit and purl stitches (easy as pie) your confidence level will shoot up and you shouldn't be afraid to move on to cables, bobbles, and lace. Try things out and if you make a few mistakes, don't worry about it--just figure out where you went wrong and try again.
Whenever I'm bored and don't want to work on my current project I just whip out some inexpensive yarn and try a few new patterns from this book.