Succulents Simplified is divided into three parts. The first is called "Enjoying, Growing, and Designing With Succulents." It begins with lots of interesting succulent groupings (e.g., best blooms, picks for lazy gardeners, succulents you can eat if you're so inclined). Then the advice begins. There's a meaty little section with succinct riffs on topics like propagation, seasonal care, and dealing with pests. This is followed by a section about design principles that's probably my favorite section in the whole book: chock full of terrific pictures, interesting container ideas, and short, informative blurbs with titles like "Not Your Grandma's Topiary" and "Why You Really Need Rocks."
The second part of Succulents Simplified consists of eight projects, ranging from simple to advanced, which showcase succulents. I confess I'm not much on how-to projects; half of these were a little too Martha Stewart for me. But reading them still gave me ideas and taught me a thing or two (e.g., that some people still own cake stands, and what good a fishing swivel might ever do me). Plus, DLB offers plenty of tips, tricks, and fixes for making each project your own--complete with plant recommendations.
Succulents Simplified's final part features 100(!) easy-care succulents--and we're not talking about a crammed list with a couple of pictures here and there. A photo, description, and growing tips are provided for each of the hundred varieties. The breadth of DLB's selection is fun and impressive, and doesn't give short shrift to cacti or less-popular euphorbias (I maintain that haworthias got a short shrift, and she goes pretty heavy on the aloes, but YMMV).
It's no secret that I'm a veritable Debra Lee Baldwin fan girl, and Succulents Simplified is sure to convert many more succ-ers into DLB-fan-girls (or fan-boys), too. Although it was written for beginners and designed as a kind of "prequel" to her two other books, this one belongs on the shelves of novices and experts alike. (Not to mention, it's paperback, and a bargain for $15 on Amazon.) Even if you're a longtime succulent gardener, I dare you to read Succulents Simplified without learning something useful.