Cons: describes bad techniques for getting children to sleep
I think I have become more lax in my parenting. When my first child was 5 months old we tried this book and it only made her more upset and never worked. It also went against all of my mothering instincts. Now with my second child I still have this book, it has great information for reference in it, but we have never used the techniques in it this time. OK my second daughter is a horrible sleeper, yet my first daughter didn't use this past the first night (we quit early in the first night) and was a great sleeper, I guess it has more to do with their temperament. What I do know is in 5 years she won't be sleeping with me or waking to eat or need to cuddle me at 2 am. When you have a 4 year old who doesn't need you anymore you get a lot more sleep, but no middle of the night cuddling. As I have had more children I have learned to appreciate what I have when I have it.
So the book? I actually do not like the technique they use to get children to sleep through the night. I believe that if you let them cry they are not learning to sleep by themselves but are learning that you will not come when they need you so they stop bothering to call. It works because kids learn to stop bothering to call when they need you or because they cry themselves to sleep. Some kids just become increasingly upset and then it takes you 200 times longer to calm them down, or they become clingy during the day. Some kids never stop crying, I know kids that use this method and have become so accustomed to it they "have to" cry to fall asleep cuddling won't work anymore.
What I do like about the book is it goes in depth into peoples sleep/wake cycles and babies sleep patterns. It covers how much time children usually sleep at different ages and how much of it is daytime vs nighttime. He also describes the technique, discourages it's use on newborns and talks about a less harsh approach for the parents who cannot go 5 min or crying without going to their child (in that approach you go in every 1, 2 then 3 minutes instead of 5,10, and 15 the first night).
All in all most of the information in the book is good. The techniqued used to get children to sleep is not very good though. I recommend the book for it's information only.
Update: I just wanted to clarify how I can find a book good yet disagree with it's techniques. I am reveiwing the book not my opinions on parenting. The book has only 1 section of 1 chapter on the actual technique commenly referred to as "crying it out", which I personally disagree with and think does not work. The book has a total of 5 chapters though that include good information on sleep associations, night feedings, medical causes of poor sleep, sleep rhythms, schedules, sleep phases, and sleep problems. All of the other information in the book I find very informative.
A revision of a classic guide for parents shares accessible advice on how to address sleep problems in children from birth through adolescence, in a reference that covers such topics as night terrors, night wetting, and co-sleeping.