(Full disclosure - this review is part of the Books for Bloggers program)
The Minimalist Photographer by Steve Johnson, is a fantastic introduction into the world of photography.
This read is much less of a technical how-to guide, instead opting for the philosophical approach to photographer. With sections such as "Why Do You Want to Take Photographs?" and "What Type of Photographer Will You Become?" the author begins with questioning the motives of the reader and sets the overall tone of the book. He continues sharing his philosophy of minimalism and his own personal approach and workflow, before discussing some of the technical aspects of photography and the types of equipment out there. He concludes with the more "soft" (though arguably essential) aspects of photography, such as aesthetics and composition, and finally a brief history of photography.
I really, really liked this book because it forced me to think about what it was I actually wanted out of photography, as well as some darn good advice. Instead of spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on equipment at first, use what you have - whether that's a cell phone, or a cheap point-and-shoot, and exhaust its capabilities. Once you have pushed the lower-end equipment, and identified just why it is limiting to you then is the time to start shopping for higher end equipment that will overcome the limitations of your current setup.
This book completely changed how I think about photography, and has also shifted how I feel about life in general. I think that's really the hallmark of a great book.
There were a few things that I didn't agree with - such as his philosophy on HDR photography - but the author makes it perfectly clear that disagreeing with him is OK. Actually, his real goal (which he mentions at least once) is to get you to think about photography - you may agree or disagree with him (and others), as long as you think.
If you are interested in photography and actually thinking, you should read this book.