This book should be read by everyone, not just those following the Buddhist path. If Chapter 10, on the law of Karma, was made compulsory reading, the world might be a better place. Directed at those involved in insight meditation (Vipassana) and perhaps follwing the Theravada teachings, the book will actually benefit the practice of anyone trying to follow a spritual path. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is a must read.
This guide is based on talks given to people attending more advanced meditation classes, and provides good answers to many questions I have had about several different aspects of meditation. For instance, in beginning classes you might be told to "let go". But how, exactly, do you let go? This books suggest several methods to assist that process, and makes the useful point that it may take lots of practice before the methods start to work!
You might also wonder: what exactly is wisdom? The authors haven't provided a misleading title to the book, and get right to the heart of that question, making it crystal clear what is meant by wisdom in the context of insight meditation.
There is a lot of background and detail given on the important numbered lists that permeate Buddhism, and not just the usual "Four" Noble Truths and "Eightfold" Path. For instance, they discuss "the seven factors of enlightenment", "the five hindrances", "the five spiritual faculties", and "the three basic characteristics".
Full chapters are devoted to each list, so if you have encountered them in a beginners guide, and want to know more, this is a good resource. And if you don't know what they are, get this book and find out! They are important for furthering insight meditation practice. For instance, the seven factor of enlightenment include mindfulness and effort. So if you are having trouble being mindful you can use the list to guide you to questions like: am I being too lazy? And so on with permutations of all seven factors. The authors' detailed analysis of these permutations should give you some ideas on how to improve your practice of insight meditation, they certainly gave me several.
For me, this is a very informative and inspriring book on the basics of insight/vipassana meditation. It gives detailed instructions on sitting and walking meditation, a lot of background on buddhist philosophy/psychology and ends with recommendations for building this into your daily life. Every chapter end with exercises you can do for a couple of weeks to make the theory land a bit. I started meditation 4 yrs ago with a CD-course on insight meditation (by Goldstein and Salzberg)and found this a very good follow up to that. By the way, please note that the technique taught is quite different from the (burmese) vipassana technique taught by goenka, which is more of a concentration-style meditation.