Having used this book as part of an undergrad psychology dissertation, it is a very interesting read which documents the latest advances in placebo effect research over the last few decades. The author is the most prominent researcher in the Placebo Effect to date, and the book contains the latest research in the field. Their background is on the placebo effect in pain (as is much of the research in the field) and so this book does focus slightly more on this area. It does cover other areas including the origins of the placebo effect by Beecher back in the 1950s, the effect of suggestion within clinical settings, and specific diseases such as Parkinson's Disease and placebo surgery!
This book provides a clear and compelling case for arguing the placebo effect is a real phenomena, and is an interesting general read, but may also be relevant for those with psychological or medical backgrounds.
This is a very thorough review of the medical research literature on the placebo effect, by one of the key researchers of recent years. It is packed full of summaries of numerous research studies. It is therefore something of an effort to read, though really is well written, the effort is because of the huge amount of information contained within it. For a summary of the research on the placebo effect, I don't think it can be beaten. As with any author, his own views no doubt influence the interpretation he places on the results in subtle ways. Well worth the read for anyone interested in this subject.