The preface to this book hints that it was primarily written with System Support and other SysAdmin professionals in mind rather than the end user. There is some contradiction in its contents and it may be more broadly directed to all. However, that does not mean that there is not something here for any Windows 8 user or potential user.
The book is expansive, in excess of 700 pages, and covers everything from the ground up commencing with installation, although that will only apply to those upgrading and not those buying a machine with the system pre-installed. There is one vital piece of advice on offer on its earliest pages and that is in respect of how to proceed and the measures needed for this upgrade which were never previously suggested or recommended as standard or the reasoning explained - I had seen it only as a 'suggestion'. As I was not then aware of this book or its initial advice when I made my first journey into Windows 8, I can now understand why one PC manufacturer (and there may be others making similar statements) declares that the right to return a faulty unit factory installed with Windows 7 is withdrawn in the event of the PC owner choosing to upgrade to Windows 8. Although I have yet to complete reading the book, it does appear to be filled with very useful information.
There is a great deal more including the bells and whistles of the Metro interface introduced with the system and the working changes it imposes which are often very different than those familiar to users of Windows 7 and any earlier version of Windows. However, as the title indicates, the book is not intended to be a broadly-based introduction to Windows 8 - there are other Microsoft titles that better serve that function - but to solve whatever usability issues may surface and to obtain the best possible set-up and user experience possible. Seen in the context of explaining the reasoning behind the changes imposed, the more basic and earlier pages provide a much-needed and essential introduction to the remainder of the book and to the System itself.
I do not know of the author in this instance and assume that he may well be a Microsoft staff member or consultant. Books published under the Microsoft label are always authoritative and this is no exception. There is to be a companion volume with a somewhat similar title but excluding the secondary "Troubleshoot and Optimize Windows 8" which is yet to be released (late Nov 2012, I believe) and which may be of greater benefit and interest to the end-user.
The companion volume Windows 8 Inside Out, which probably should have been the first to be released, is now available (early December 2012) and deals with the everyday basics of using Windows 8. Its approach is to assume that certain basic knowledge has been gained from previous versions of Windows and thus not to repeat it. In essence, the two complement each other and anyone buying this book might want to add the second at the same time, although there is some minor overlap and duplication.
Recommended, although there may be a degree of information overload.
The book is deceptive; Mike Halsey writes with simple but powerful messages. His mission is to convert a Windows 8 novice into an expert.
When troubleshooting it's only common sense to concentrate on the most frequent, if boring causes. In real life you only want to get into the complex, interesting, but unlikely scenarios, once you have exhausted the obvious.
Mike gives you a professional's insight into both troubleshooting and configuring your Windows 8 machine. As a minor expert myself, the book left me with a feeling: 'Yes I have now covered everything, there are no gaps in my knowledge'. Also 'I must go back and re-read a few items that I glossed over such as refresh v reset'.