(Disclaimer : I didn’t purchase my copy of this book - I was sent a copy to review by Packt Publishing)
The Salesforce.com Customization Handbook is written by a couple of people whose names will be familiar to members of the Salesforce community - Rakesh Gupta and Sagar Pareek, who previously collaborated (see what I did there) on Developing Applications with Salesforce Chatter.
The book covers a number of common areas of configuration/customisation, including user management, security settings, email administration, business process automation, data management and reports and dashboards. From the perspective of someone getting started with Salesforce, (who has maybe been dropped in at the deep end and become the de facto administrator when their company decided to buy licenses) this is a useful guide to the setup areas that should be concentrated on, including some non-obvious candidates such as truncating custom objects and mass transferring approval processes.
Where the book doesn’t live up to expectation is explaining the concepts behind what is being configured, or work through much in the way of real world examples, especially where there are multiple options. For example, the chapter on Setting Up Deployment Processes introduces change sets, the Force.com IDE, and packages (both managed and unmanaged). What it doesn’t do is explain in what circumstances each of these would be an appropriate choice, or cover the advantages/disadvantages of one mechanism over another. There’s also too much content that looks to be directly dropped in from the Salesforce help, or that simply repeats itself (that the Account Mailing Address field is used to store the company’s Mailing Address, for example, doesn’t really add any value).
In summary, this is a useful book for those getting started with Salesforce setup and customisation. However, with a little more focus on educating as well as informing it could have been so much more.
You can find out more about this book and purchase a copy on the Packt website.