If you are a LEGO builder like me, you have gotten pretty proficient at building what is called the System type of models. These are buildings and vehicles that are the scale of the minifigure and are the majority of the things that are built with LEGO elements.
However, there are other scales and other parts that are not the typical brick and plate. Once called Expert Models, these became the Technic theme, which are models that have working features, like working steering and gear systems. These are sets that are more complex, and as a result, are tough to explore building possibilities. With The LEGO Technic Idea Book: Simple Machines, using Technic parts becomes a much easier exercise.
As the first book in the LEGO Technic Idea book trilogy,Simple Machines explains the parts and their uses in a clear, easy-to-understand format. There are no words used in the diagrams: all ideas are explained with graphics and colorful photos of example models. This makes it really easy and fun to pick up on building. The simplicity of the photos and diagrams also allows the builder to adapt the model to his creations.
For the beginning builder this is a great guide to learning how to make working models. For the experienced builder, this is a good reference on building techniques. This book would also be useful for FIRST LEGO teams, as it explains how to use gears, which is useful for MINDSTORMS robot builders.