I adopted this book as a reference reading for my students in my Chinese Linguistics class. It is very well-written for students who have no idea what linguistics is or who have not even thought a subject like linguistics could be a subject of study. You don't need any background knowledge in anything and you can indeed "Teach Yourself" linguistics. The style of the writing is engaging as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in an introduction to the main ideas in contemporary linguistics, and also to any instructor who is teaching a course that needs some background linguistic knowledge but does not focus on general linguistic theory per se.
Also, as a sidenote, I have found that all the books in this "Teach Yourself: Understand...." series from the McGraw Hill Higher Ed are extremely well-written for each topic as a light introduction.