I've read various books on self-sufficiency in the past ten years, but this one is different. First, it doesn't tell you how to recreate a 19th-century homestead, which is beginning to seem to me like another version of faux chateaux, but which also is not going to work very well if it is not surrounded by other 19th-century homesteads. And it doesn't describe what you can do "some day" when you get your five acres and independence. Instead, it focuses on what you can do right now in your own city to become more self-sufficient and sustainable. That makes it unique.
The reviewer who said that this is not a compendium of how-tos is right. It is more of an idea book, although there are many references to sources of detailed info about, for instance, raising ducks. But the problem with other self-sufficiency books I have run across is precisely that they are NOT idea books--that they become absorbed with one particular way of growing food, for instance, or one particular way of heating your (19th-century farm) house. There is nothing about woodstoves or woodlots in here.
This is the first book on self-sufficiency I have seen that directly addresses the fear that underlies the desire many people have to become more independent of the economy--the fear of some apocalypse, social collapse, disaster, etc., which they here dub "when the zombies come." I loved that they use humor to address that fear. There is a LOT of humor in this book; it's almost worth reading just for that.
Other books on self-sufficiency focus on being isolated and seeing other people as the enemy. I read one that recommended you get a house in a dip that no one can see from the road. They'll tell you how much ammunition to squirrel away with your self-heating lasagne rations. This one tells you to get to know your neighbors, because there is strength not in isolation but in community, where we can trade not only stuff like food, but our skills. In that way, it is similar to Food Not Lawns, but much as I admire the ideas in that book, this one offers ideas that are much more doable, I think, for most people.
It is a bit strange that Amazon is bundling this book with Gardening When It Counts, since that book recommends using extra-wide spacing to grow vegetables in situations where you do not have irrigation, and space is a real problem when you are growing on a city lot. Gardening that is a bit more intensive works better in that situation. But Gardening When It Counts is good in the way it ranks veggies by growing difficulty.