As a life-long professional musician, having studied with a many teachers both privately and at university, I would claim the goal of any method/instruction book is to allow the student come away with several solid concepts that can be applied effectively over the course of their lifetime - professional or otherwise. No one text can do it all. This books comes close however. It does the job well, and is worth every penny.
For me, the high-points of this text involve microphone design and placement (which is very extensive), followed by a large collection of well-constructed interviews of famous audio engineers, who record (or have recorded) everything from rock, pop, orchestral, opera, string quartets, famous vocalists, Broadway and film.
Perhaps the best thing about this book is it leaves you (it did me) with a burning desire to run to your studio and experiment and try new ideas and concepts.
a minor low point. A page-and-a-half on how to use a compressor limiter is almost irresponsible. The book describes what a comp/limiter can do, but doesn't offer the most basic of concepts for how to do them. This seems incredibly odd to me for a book entitled "The Recording Engineers Handbook!" Compressor limiters are possibly the most abused and misunderstood audio processing device, and why this text does not cover this subject more fully is puzzling. Fortunately, many engineers who are interviewed in this book do elaborate on their use of compression/limiting, so all is not lost.
Also, although this did not apply for my need, anyone looking to learn about engineering and mixing in 5.1 surround will benefit from this book, as their is an entire chapter devoted to this format.
To close, the information presented here is fantastic, and is well worth every penny (IMO, just for the information regarding mic placement techniques) but you will get so much more!