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I like that it runs the gamut, from basic shell skills to system administration to rebuilding the kernel to Samba to Apache configuration to IPTables.
You may need another more-specific book if you need to do a LOT with any one thing (perhaps Apache, for example) but it's a pretty complete how-to on all of the subjects it convers. That is, for example, it will tell you a lot about how to set-up an Apache server, but not every nuance.
Do you folks actually use the books?
I certainly do.
For one thing, I'm one of those old fogies who likes to read away from the screen. A book is a lot easier to skim and get an overview than is online documentation.
Or were you suggesting that one just poke and pray? (You didn't mention documentation - just sitting in front of a terminal session.)
The latter (WITH the documentation) might be appropriate to learn just enough to solve a specific task at hand. And I realize that a lot of professionals don't have enough time to do more than that.
I find books a lot more useful for learning the full breadth of a subject.
And why do that, I hear you ask?
Because it's handy to already know how to solve a problem when you are presented with it.