When I received the book promo email, I tried googling REST. My quick reading of the citations was not very helpful. I got that it is "an architectural style of networked systems." One said "The Web is a REST system!"
So I put it to you, the experts: What is REST? Why should I care about it? What will I learn in your book that will somehow make me better or more capable at providing web based information, which is what I do.
When most people talk about REST, they use it as a shorthand for a philosophy of distributed programming. Under this philosophy, the way to expose an application over a network is to split it into an enormous number of simple objects, give each object an address, link them together, and expose them through HTTP.
Probably the most interesting thing about this way of doing things is its similarity to the World Wide Web. It's not exactly the same as the web we humans use, but that page you saw was basically right: a big part of the web's success comes from its RESTful properties.
The book shows how to design distributed systems that work like the web, and explains the advantages over other philosophies of distributed programming. It shows how to provide web-based information when there's not a human being on the other end of the connection.
Let's get him boys! We'll make him read this tiny ad!