This is quite possibly the best graphic design book I have read. The first part teaches you the four basic principles of design, CRAP. Or contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity. It gives a clear overview of each concept and then provides examples of when it is working and when it is failing. It also asks you to actively get involved, not by pointing out all the errors, but by asking you to look for them yourself. Once the four basic principles have been detailed, it moves on to an equally important part of design: typeface.
First the book teaches you how to recognize the major categories of typeface so you can avoid placing fonts that are too similar on the same page, and so that you can effectively combine two typefaces with the maximum amount of contrast.
Of all the beginner design books I have read so far, this one is the easiest to read and the presentation of the four basic principles is clearly written. I used the knowledge and the exercises in this book to streamline the menu at work, and after I submit my changes, we will see if the knowledge provided was worthwhile enough for them to use my design over the layout they started with.