If you want to start reading the works of Arthur C. Clarke, one of the 20th century's great visionairies, you can do worse than this one, but you could also do better. This work is basically the Earth of 2276 as seen through the eyes of an outsider. A lot of what he sees is remarkable and quite plausible, and the cast of characters is generally likeable. Like many Clarke novels, there is little in the way of conflict here - Clarke is not one for hero vs. villain - but unlike Childhood's End or 2001 or Rendevous with Rama, there is no sense of grandeur either. There are just a lot of incidents that just barely add up to something more.
Still, Clarke's unusual approach to writing - he is the only novelist who writes in stle of an essayist - and his appealing vision of a mature secular utopian Earth still works after seeing it often. Fans of dystopias are best advised to stay home. Fans of a happy tomorrow, where everyone is well-fed and sexually liberated and needs nothing more than a nice vacation, are invited in.
If you care for this, I recommend you move onto to his somewhat more action-oriented Rama and then to his masterowrk, Childhood's End.