Recently, Make published a book called Getting Started with Arduino, written by Massimo Banzi, the co-founder of Arduino. It's only 116-pages long and uses attractive hand-drawn illustrations to get even the most clueless newbie up to speed. Filled with easy-to-understand examples and projects, I wish there were books like this about everything I was interested in learning more about, from beekeeping to furniture making to investing.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects