It came in a price that nobody could resist! The book has been used a lot in the past, but its pages are in a good condition. Regarding the content, I would say that it can definitely help developers and designers get some really fresh and cool ideas and practices. Highly recommended!
This book is not a CSS tutorial, rather a sales pitch and guide for 'correct' use of the technology. It uses the csszengarden.com website as a case study for explaining how to make innovative use of CSS by explaining the structure, then the thinking behind the various designs submitted to the site. So it's actually more of a guide to design - but one that I would recommend that web developers read. I say this as a (sometime) ASP/ASP.NET/PHP developer, who up until this point, "doesn't do design". I saw it as an inconvenience in the creation of otherwise technically brilliant (modesty eh!) web applications. Yet the whole css zen garden concept could actually make the life of web developers a lot easier. Developers could eschew design altogether while creating web pages/forms that offer true flexibility for real designers. But the beauty of this book is that it actually gives hints, tips, and pointers, that in the absence of a designer in teams of programmers, could help make web developers into half decent designers. This is more of an interest book that will hopefully change the attitude of the new breed of unwilling web designers that the .NET framework has created. It may also help designers that aren't currently working with new media to bring their talents to the web in a way that doesn't involve using Macromedia Flash. It's not perfect but it will open your eyes.
If you thought standard-compliant CSS web pages had to be boxy and bland, this book will show you how wrong you were. The book simply shows many designs for the same web page and then talks you through the logic behind the CSS techniques used in the design. It is a great source of inspiration. What the book is not is a CSS reference book - try the O'Reilly series for one of these. What this book is, however, is a demonstration of what can be acheived with a modicum of CSS skills and a lot of artistic talent.
The book will not teach you very much about the technical aspects of CSS, but is strongly focussed on putting forward design ideas about what can be achieved to make your site look impressive to visitors.
It is very project focussed, and so is not something that works well as a reference work.
If you want to see what is possible to achieve with CSS, and what other people have been able to do in designing web sites with CSS, then this provides a very interesting shop window; but if you want a complete technical description of CSS that you can use as a reference work, this will disappoint.
I bought this book thinking it was a CSS book, and would give me some insight into how the CSS Zen Garden designs were done. Let me say right off that it was a big disappointment from this point of view. This book is NOT a CSS book.
The book concentrates mainly on design ideas, which is also useful, but not what it claims to cover. Some of these ideas were explained well, some less so.
The book was pleasant reading, and was very nicely produced, but it's doubtful you'll learn a great deal from it. Buy it for interest, don't buy it for education.
P.S. I gave it four stars as it was a very nice read, it just wasn't what I thought when I bought it.
The book started out as the website CSS Zen Garden ([...] has become a popular Internet Site. The CSS Zen Garden shows has CSS can be used to transform a single webpage to look completely different by just changing the CSS, the html stays exactly the same. The book is different to most CSS books in that it looks at the overall design and sees how they can be implemented in CSS. This has it's advantages and disadvantages. The good thing is that the book goes much further into the design aspect than most other books, and is useful if you want to learn how to "design" rather than just create a website. On the negative side the book is not very good to use as a reference. The book does not go into too much detail on some of the aspects, and often gives a web url to go for more information. This allows the authors to keep to the core content (the design aspect), but does mean that you often have to go and look elsewhere to get the full details. This does detract from some of the usefulness of having a hardcopy of the book, as you have to spend time in front of the computer looking up the urls. Most webmasters would benefit from reading this book, but I'd also recommend getting a reference guide to refer to once you've started implementing websites using CSS.