Technology is always advancing. The world of climbing consisted of "crag men" and "alpinists" when I started. To say that we're a long way away from soft iron pins and hauser-laid nylon ropes is an understatement.
Today's tools to protect a climber are better engineered, startlingly lighter, and more versatile than five year old kit! Making safe and efficient use of today's tools involves a much steeper learning curve than at any previous time (that's why this book is on its third edition!).
Safe climbers will learn the ropes from other, more experienced, climbers - but, as so many of today's "sport climbers" began climbing indoors with well engineered safety systems and artificial holds - not everybody will have had the advantage of a mentor teaching them the mechanics of building bomb proof anchors. That's where this book and Craig Luebben's Rock Climbing Anchors become invaluable, required, additions to every climber's library.
This new edition is, as expected, up to date, including sections dealing with the uses and drawbacks of Aramid "tech cord" as well as nylon and dyneena/spectra ropes and slings. A detailed look at old bolts and bolt hangers is unique to this book and extremely timely material. Many 1/4" bolts and their hangers are found on standard routes and most, if not all, are traps for the unwary.
The use and placement of (at least) three pieces of bomber protection to craft Serene / Ernest belay anchors employing the cordelette or Web-O-Let equalization system is the heart of this book. How placements respond to loading direction, avoiding force multiplication by keeping load angles optimal, dealing with shifting loading, and stressing that no leader should ever fall directly onto the belay anchor are central chapters.
The bolt and pin (piton) chapters are not guides to the deployment of those tools - the scope of this book is limited in the sense that it does not teach a climber how and where to place a bolt - it teaches how to recognize and use safe bolts and gives a brief bit about the types of fixed pins one might encounter and how to deal with them (as for learning to use pins, the authors suggest an aspiring iron-monger take a rack of pins to an old crag and practice bashing in as many pins in as many places as possible - a fair enough bit of advice).
If you climb anywhere outside of a gym, you need this book and you need Luebben's book. Aside from what you can learn away from your nearest vertical playground, these two books will serve you well in bringing enough knowledge to the field that you will not be ignorant of what other climbers are doing right, and, especially, what they are doing wrong.