"To you, being rich might mean owning a goat farm in South Carolina. For your best friend, it might mean being able to start her own business selling wine over the Internet. Whatever the case, you're probably not motivated by the money itself, but by what the money could let you be and do." ~ J.D. Roth, Your Money: The Missing Manual
Conventional personal finance books, in contrast to The Financial Philosopher blog, are essentially, and often necessarily, strategy-based – the quantified and illustrated shortcut from Point A to Point B. They will describe the steps on how to achieve a particular financial goal and/or how to gain skills in a particular financial area. These conventional books, like other abstract applications, can be quite useful; but they may also lead to tragic results if the end user has no existing life philosophy.
Your Money: The Missing Manual is no conventional personal finance book and J.D. Roth is no conventional book author. Rather than offer a path of least resistance with shortcuts to financial wealth, Mr. Roth offers a healthy balance of being alongside the traditional guidance on knowing and acting. In other words, we may affectionately consider Mr. Roth a true philosopher!
To Roth, money is a tool -- it is a means to an end. Make no mistake, however, there are loads of tips, tools, and advice on a broad array of personal finance topics in Your Money: The Missing Manual. In fact, if there were to be any Achilles Heal of Roth's book, it is that the vast quantity of information is almost overwhelming.
The proper perspective on the book's value, in my humble opinion, is that it makes for a wonderful reference book. For example, if and when you find yourself in the market to buy or sell a new or used car, simply pull Your Money: The Missing Manual off the book shelf, flip to the index in the back of the book and look up "cars." There you will find references to page numbers on car topics, such as costs of ownership, dealership stories, deprecation, lease vs buy, researching choices, and even test drive tips!
As for the ideal audience for (and people who should consider buying) Your Money: The Missing Manual, the appeal is quite broad. In fact, I can't think of a personal finance topic that Roth does not cover in the book. The tips and guidance might also be considered basic but I am a Certified Financial Planner (TM) and I have dog-eared many pages for later application to my own financial purposes. Furthermore, for those seeking greater detail on the covered topics, Roth includes links to websites and reading recommendations in the book for the reader's expanded learning.
You may have detected that I am a fan of Roth's altruistic and philosophic approach to money and life, but if you want a good taste for the book author (J.D. Roth)'s writing and financial philosophies, you can check him out at his popular blog, Get Rich Slowly.