To be an effective cook in the kithen you need the right tools. Alton Brown's Gear For Your Kitchen will help you to pick out the tools that will make your life in the kitchen most efficient and easier. In this beautifully layed out book, Alton explains not only what you need but why you need it. He explains what the best item for the job you are looking to do. He covers it all in this book from mixing bowls to small appliances to everything you will need to bake anything your heart desires. There is also a section on sanitation that will hopefully keep you and your guests from unncessary hospital visits.
The only downside to this book is that it will tempt you to want to buy tons of things for your kitchen. But before you do I would recommend what the book says in the beginning, sort through your current collection of kitchen gear. If you haven't used it in 6 months, get rid of it. Or if it's a unitasker and another device could do it's job, get rid of it. Then you let your temptation lead you to the store to buy all the wonderful gear Alton speaks of in this book.