I picked this book up a few years ago, don't remember exactly when - it's been awhile. Even so, occasionally I'll pull it out of the cluttered bookshelf and flip though it. It's a bit dated, published in 1999, though only a tad - mostly concerning dual suspension bikes - since in '99 the idea of dual suspension for XC racing was just starting to be widely accepted. Besides that fact, some great pointers from Ned Overend on riding and racing.
Any old school mountain biker knows who Ned Overend is - a legend. Multiple world and national mountain bike titles. Even after "retiring" from pro mountain bike racing in 1996, he continues to do well in road and off-road triathlons. Add in some road, cyclo-cross and hill climb victories as well. Not bad for a "retiree". Even today at 55 years old, can still compete at a pro level. Incredible. Ned could kick easily kick your ass.
Ned's book (with assistance from Ed Pavelka) is easy to read and laid back. Tips on riding - cornering, climbing, bunny hops, descending - bike set up and other useful advice. That's all cool, but my favorite sections were the training and racing sections. Ned uses more of a free-flow type training process, no endless charts of info to bore you. It's more real world advice - to me anyway. The race tips were good also. Nothing earth shattering here, but great tidbits of info useful to any racer.
Beyond the advice available in this book, the most entertaining aspects were the stories sprinkled through out the pages. Race stories, battles with John Tomac, and other glimpses into the mountain bike cross-country racing heyday of the '90s. For old school XC geek me, the best part of the book.
My neighbor, not a super serious mountain biker, but rides fairly often, borrowed the book from me awhile back. After highlighting sections of the book in pen that he found useful, he kept that copy and bought me a new one.
I think that would qualify this as a good read in anybody's book.