The Complete Obsolete Guide to Generative AI Book Review

The Complete Obsolete Guide to Generative AI Book Review by David Clinton.

The book

This is my review of the book The Complete Obsolete Guide to Generative AI by David Clinton.

The introduction on the book’s page really grabbed me:

How do you keep up with a topic that changes day to day? It seems like whatever you learned about artificial intelligence at lunchtime is obsolete by dinner. That means you have two choices. You can give up in frustration or you can learn what’s long-lasting about generative AI: the what and the why—even as how you use it continues to evolve.

The official book description is as follows:

The Complete Obsolete Guide to Generative AI is a lighthearted look at programming with AI, as well as a rock-solid resource for getting the best out of these insanely powerful services. Let it be your guide to creating images and presentations, working with data feeds, prompt engineering, and much more. Going far deeper than any Medium article, this book gives you the tools you need to work better, faster, and smarter with AI, while making peace with your new robot overlords at the same time.

This immediately hooked me! AI is a hot topic at the moment; the book’s introduction recognises how fast this field is changing; and a sense of humour is just my kind of thing 😁

In their words, inside The Complete Obsolete Guide to Generative AI you will find:

  • Just enough background info on AI! What an AI model is how it works
  • Ways to create text, code, and images for your organization’s needs
  • Training AI models on your local data stores or on the internet
  • Business intelligence and analytics uses for AI
  • Building your own custom AI models
  • Looking ahead to the future of generative AI

My personal experience with generative AI before reading this book is:

  • Personal use of services like ChatGPT, Microsoft Designer, Microsoft Copilot, DALL·E, Midjourney, etc
  • Development use of Azure AI Services such Azure OpenAI Service and Azure AI Language to create user-facing bots
  • Development use of various Power Platform-related Copilots for building apps as well as user-facing Copilots

So, let’s dive in…

My review

One of the huge benefits of a book like this is, as the author mentions in the welcome note, that by using these techniques you can significantly improve professional productivity which can free up time for other pursuits - personal or professional.

The book starts well by explaining generative AI basics such as what’s really going on under the hood, the many generative AI models, and a review of the global trends that brought us to the generative AI revolution.

It covers things like large language models (LLMs), what natural language processing is, generative AI capabilities, understanding usage tokens, different models, model fine-tuning, completion configurations, and much more.

Important topics such as AI and Data Privacy and Ownership are also addressed with some valuable advice on how to stay safe.

My first awareness of the impact of generative AI and Copilots was when seeing a demo of GitHub Copilot by GitHub’s CEO Thomas Dohmke; he demonstrated GitHub Copilot at the Microsoft Power Platform Conference in Las Vegas back in October 2023.

It was a mind-blowing demo where Dohmke used GitHub Copilot live to write a classic cell phone-style snake game using JavaScript. Check out the recording here:

#MPPC23 opening day keynote - ‘Inextricably Linked: AI is our Copilot’ by Thomas Dohmke

As the author states, an interactive chat coding session with AI can feel an awful lot like pair programming. And that’s a good thing. Definitely something to try if that’s of interest.

A (welcome) surprise section was Experts weigh in on putting AI to work which gathers some thoughtful opinions and real-world experiences from people who have actively lived and worked with AI tools - lots of fascinating insights!

It was also great to have an appendix explaining how to install Python and Pip on Windows, macOS, and Linux so you can try the samples provided.


Clinton has clearly done a LOT of research and explains everything very clearly with a humour that kept me engaged throughout. If generative AI is of interest to you (and I would hope so as it’s rapidly changing the world around us) then I would highly recommend reading this book.

I recently came across this quote:

AI won’t steal your job, but people using it may

If that quote resonates with you then this book could be just what you need!

Check it out yourself

Order the book here:

Thank you to Manning for providing a review copy of this book.