In line with the title, this is a relatively concise book, totalling 185 pages including the appendices and index. In fact, the main body of the book is 113 pages in total, as the appendices provide a large amount of content.
In the round, this book did precisely what it promised, it provided me with a concise introduction to SOA, including the basic tenets of service orientation. In fact, there a lot of numbers, including the eight service orientation principles, the four characteristics of SOA, the four common types of SOA and the seven levels of organisational maturity.
Initially, I found the book to be rather hard-going, with the overview of SOA comprising chapter two. However, things warmed up with an introduction to the SOA manifesto, which the team then broke down with a "human readable" summation.
From that point on, we were on good firm ground, cantering towards the home straight with SOA technologies, including my favourites - integration, business process management, business rules and complex event processing - before concluding with industry patterns and a case study, Rent Your Legacy Car (RYLC).
The case study was useful, although it covered a lot of ground in a very short space of time, and fairly galloped towards the conclusion - SOA is a vital part of business optimisation, and is as much a business initiative as something dreamed up by the IT Department.
Despite being described as a concise introduction to SOA, this book, via the main chapters and, more importantly, the excellent set of appendices, should serve as a useful reference to the subject.
In addition, the book is 100% vendor neutral, making little or no mention of any one SOA solution vendor, which is reassuring, especially to those organisations making their first "baby steps" into the world of service orientation.
The smaller format ( approximately eight-by-ten inches ) wasn't perfect, mainly because the illustrations became quite hard to decipher, perhaps due to the combination of colours and fonts. If I were the publisher, I'd consider a larger A4 format, but this may be less of an issue in the world of ebooks.
In conclusion, whilst the book initially started slowly, I found this to be immensely useful, even though I have some experience in SOA, albeit from the perspective of a single vendor.
I would recommend this book, and would score it 8 out of 10.