When my copy of this book arrived and I first thumbed through it I was a little discouraged because I saw that it contained much the same information as my existing library of pottery books. However, after I sat down with it I discovered in the first couple minutes that it is the most comprehensive and informative pottery book I own. Mr. Pitelka goes into detail about so many aspects of the pottery studio that most of the other books only touch on, it's almost like having a more experienced friend available to answer questions when you run across a problem. He uses language that everyone should be able to understand. I'm not a professional and don't have a college degree as a ceramist, but I have many years of experience. Now that I am filling my retirement years with producing pottery for local markets, I see the value of having had this book for reference a long time ago. Whether you're starting out or well into your exploration of clay, I think this should be the primary book in your library of reference material.
I usually look at the pictures in my other pottery books rather than reading the text because there seems to be the same thread of information. I've read all the parts of this handbook that pertain to me two or three times and then explored some of the sections in which I have no experience or need, just because there may be some comments that are pertinent.
I think this is a reference that you'll not keep pristine on the shelf, but stain it with food crumbs, beverages, and muddy finger prints, and capture pet hair between the pages. Use it as it was meant to be used and refer to it as much as you need to. Oh, and he offers us alternatives to buying a lot of tools and things from commercial suppliers, giving us tips, suggestions, and instructions on how we can build/make our own whatevers. It's quite obvious that a lot of thought and good communication went into the production of this volume of experience.