I've had all three of Isogawa's Technic Idea books for a while now. After reading some of the reviews and comments here, I felt compelled to contribute some information to this discussion. The point I want to make is that these books are *Idea Books*, not *cookbooks*. You would have guessed that from the book title, but reading through the reviews here, it appears that this isn't obvious, so let me explain.
But before I do, in Mr. Isogawa's own words: "This book is full of little seeds for ideas. It is you who will cultivate these seeds so they will grow into wonderful masterpieces." This means that this book is full of ideas, not ready made recipes that you would find in a cookbook. There's no list of ingredients, and also no step-by-step instructions to make everything. If you want full instructions, this may not be the right book for you.
This book has numerous examples that show the essential principles of building LEGO vehicles. It also shows how you can use LEGO motors to make your vehicles move. And here's where "all those expensive rare components" come in. Truth is, you really don't need all these pieces.
The best example is the use of motors. Pages 4-17 show you many working examples of motor powered vehicles. All of these vehicles do the same: move when you switch on the motor, so you really need to build only one of them. Now, all these vehicles illustrated on these pages use *6 different types* of LEGO motors (to be clear, only one motor per vehicle). The author has done this so that literally *anyone with any LEGO motor* can build this little car.
So you really need just one motor. And once you've followed Mr. Isogawa's suggestions on how to mount your particular motor on a (any) LEGO construction, you're ready to add this motor to all of the other special vehicles in this book - even if it doesn't picture your motor. All motors do the same. Just plug and play.
Clearly the same goes for wheels. Every wheel will work. And if your wheels are too big to fit the example car, just make the car bigger. After all, that's the point of this book: inspire you to build your own creations.
While the author has kindly provided a parts list that show the pieces used in this book, I actually do not recommend to buy pieces based on this list. Rather, I would suggest that you buy one of the bigger LEGO Technic Sets, especially one with at least one motor. That's much more pieces for your money, plus you can build an awesome truck or bulldozer when you're done building wheeled wonders.
And instead of going to Bricklink to hunt down rare pieces, search for "Peeron", which is a site that shows which pieces can be found in each LEGO set. Just enter the part number of the LEGO set and find what's in it. You can still buy that great looking truck, but be sure to use this site to check that it includes some gears, wheels and a motor so you're good to go to build the vehicles in this book.
And as with any LEGO related product, a child may need a little guidance. A child won't read this review, but if you read it, just build something together with your kid and show them what I said here. They'll get it, and I'm sure you'll like the LEGO experience too.