I have been thinking about this book a bit more. The other day when Mr. B. left a comment, I responded in part "I think you have hit a very sweet spot between newbie and fan. Imagine being the one who created a bridge over that gap." The more I think about that line, the more I think I have hit exactly on what I like about the book. When I wrote the line, I am pretty sure I meant that the book places itself very well between the interests of the newbie and the interests of the fan. But when I look at it again, I think what I really should have been thinking more about the bridge and less about that sweet spot.
Point? The WAo'B can serve as a bridge between people of different interest levels. It's as a great best device any beer fan can use to explain this great hobby's attraction. It describes tasty beers in a simple manner. Also, it's is not based on style, that logic that you have to already be a nerd to understand or dispute. It may sound obvious but the stranger to good beer is unlikely to be also a stranger to the map of the world. Plus, it offers the view from further down the road. Like the fully collected album of stamps, it sure looks swell but... it also hides all the effort, all those long nights at the kitchen table licking and sticking, licking and sticking. Much more than a primer but less than an encyclopedia, it's neither daunting nor simplistic. It sets out a path to enlightenment - and show how it goes though not only Britain and Belgium but Bamburg and Brazil.
Where does that lead us? Keeping a copy around to chuck at the visiting pal who you just handed a beer? Sure. A gift for a friend who is planning a month on Eurorail or diving across America? Why not? Seems to me that The World Atlas of Beer is probably not going to be the last book a beer nerd buys - but it could be the first book a hop head may remember being given.