As others have noted, this is a useful book for generating ideas and getting the creative juices flowing. I bought it to obtain those features, and it did not disappoint me.
The Stiles are, apparently, a prolific couple on this and similar topics, and they certainly deserve credit for effective packaging and marketing. David Stiles has filled the book's pages with material--some good, some irrelevant, and some good for entertainment--but he certainly has filled it nonetheless. The layout and tone of this book is vaguely reminiscent of a copy of an early 1970s Mother Earth News. The reader's challenge is to extract the kernals of insight from the volumes of chaff. What the book lacks in detailed engineering and construction discussion and techniques it makes up for in peripheral and, in some cases, funny advice. Consider the detailed description of the electronic vehicle-arrival and gate-unlocking monitors--this in a book purported to find ways to get one in touch with mother nature and perhaps forego electricity entirely. Or the sketch plan for the garden-hose remedy against racoons infiltrating your metal trashcan. The advice is intriguing enough, but one suspects that a bit more discussion on well-installation or obtaining running water might be in order before turning to a technological solution involving the use of pressurized water for a racoon problem. Given the Stiles' ties to Manhattan, maybe the accepted security measures of their current environment don't seem quite as ridiculous or irrelevant as they probably do to anyone who actually lives in a rural area. Or consider their admonition against Coleman lanterns being "Scary and hard to light." Hmmm, I, too, have fears and I'm certainly not the most dexterous fellow, but I've learned that five minutes of hands-on practice can turn even the most hardcore urbanite into a safe and proficient Coleman-lantern lighter. Something tells me Mr. Stiles has not taken the time to do the same, and this casts a disconcerting pall over the value of much of his other advice. How much of it has actually been tried?
But this book is valuable for the focus it gives to architecture and perhaps encouraging one to pick up a tablet of graph paper and start sketching floorplans or facades; extract those ideas and use them as fodder for formulating your own. Read the rest with a grain of salt. For a more focused, pragmatic, and obviously tested perspective on cabin-building, get a copy of G. Wayne Fears' "How to Build Your Dream Cabin."