This is another book with a misleading title; it claims to be a book of 8051 applications. However, about a quarter of it is on the XA micro that, despite a lot of confusing marketing by Philips and the book's authors, is NOT the 16-bit version of the 8051. The 80251 is the 16-bit version of the 51. However, the 251 is not that widely used and the XA even less so. I can see no point in devoting a quarter of an 8051 book to the XA. About half the book simply contains information that is in the data sheets. This leaves about a third of the book. Not a good start.
The other unfortunate aspect of having the 51 and AX is there is a whole chapter describing how to use two different compiler suites. I am not sure why this chapter is present at all as the free evaluation CD (at least for the main 8051 compiler) has plenty of tutorials and screen cam demos, help files, application notes, example source code and virtually every 8051 datasheet there is. Unfortunately there is no mention of this in the text. There are also a couple of inaccuracies in the text regarding the Keil compiler suite.
There are a couple of simple complete projects (one of which is for the XA) but these are based on PCB layouts that have been included on paper only. The authors are not making these boards available as hardware or as electronic cad files. (There are many free/evaluation CAD packages about.) A Vero board layout would have been a lot better as it is unlikely students at this level will have access to PCB making equipment. The assembler source code in the book is also not available electronically.
It appears that this book has been written for a specific course without much thought for other readers. Some of the chapters go into detail such as giving blow-by-blow instructions for opening a particular dialogue in the IDE. Almost as lesson notes where time is short and you want a class to work through an example rather than a reader who will be experimenting and not need to complete a section in 40 minutes.
Overall this book may be of use to students on the course the lecturers teach but for other people (especially for those who have access to the Internet) that are many better options about. Talking of Internet: this book (and all others) should have had a web site where code and other files can be obtained. This is not book I would bother with.