The book is very well structured into short chapters, each dedicated to a different 'concept' meant to address a specific problem the home cook might encounter when cooking or baking: "Don't soak beans, brine them", "more water makes chewier bread", "vodka makes pie dough easy", "cocoa powder delivers big flavor", etc. Some concepts might be more or less relevant depending on the skills of each reader, but there is something to learn from the beginner to the experimented home cook.
With each chapter comes an explanation of why something works, doesn't work or works better with their piece of advice as well as some often interesting recipes. A lot of the recipes are classics, but that makes them even more interesting as it means that they are recipes you might precisely be wanting to make (fresh guacamole, foolproof vinaigrette, best French onion soup, risotto, mashed potatoes, roast beef, banana bread, etc) while being given the opportunity to finally know which method or ingredient will allow you to turn them in something irresistibly yummy.
So, why only one star? The book purports to give you the 'science' of good cooking, and it uses a non-scientific measuring system (namely, the absurd and completely outdated imperial system)!!! One of the first chapters tells you how important it is to rely on weight rather than on volume (ex: grams instead of cups), and then you end up with 450 pages of unpractical measuring indications, sometimes with different units for the same ingredient!!! An example: for the banana bread recipe, you will need 3/4 cup of brown sugar and 2 tsp of granulated sugar. So convenient, thank you very much. This goes on over 400 recipes. Unless you are ready to spend hours converting all these measurements (remember that a cup of flour is not equal to a cup of sugar, that is two different conversions to make...), or buy extra american measuring material, do not waste your money on this book (at least this edition) and rather go for something like Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science And Lore Of The Kitchen. It is unfortunately not as pleasantly presented and does not have the nice recipes, but at least you will be able to use what you learn (and you can find good recipes to apply this knowledge in Heston Blumenthal's book Heston Blumenthal at Home by Blumenthal, Heston 1st (first) Edition (2011), which actually makes several references to it).
This book delivers all the basic concepts for homecoming to succseed. It tells you why something works better if you bla bla or how it goes wrong when you bla bla. I highly recommend it if you want to understand the question (why)