I've always said that when it comes to parenting books, it's important to take things with a grain of salt. Every baby is different, and they change constantly. No one method is going to work for every baby, every time. This idea that if you do A, B, and C every single time that you'll have a perfect angel child is ludicrous. That said, what I love about parenting books is that you can see all the different kinds of techniques for anything from how to soothe your baby, how to feed it, and what philosophy you relate to. I have seen kids being brought up every which way under the sun, and all I can tell you is that they're all fine. One method is not patently better than the next. And each child has very different needs and emotional responses to whatever situation they're in. What worked with me did not necessarily work with my sister, because she is an entirely different person with a different way of communicating and with very different needs than my own. The best thing you could do for yourself and your kid is to read a few different books, and pick and choose the parts that work for you, like the bible!
There is one book, however, that I swear by. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp is one of the most successful parenting books of the last decade and that's because it gives practical solutions for when your baby is so tiny that it's needs are at their most basic. It doesn't matter what your kid's personality is like when they're that little. All they want is to be back in the womb. When it was first published in 2008 it was touted as a revolutionary new way to get your baby calm and asleep. The techniques in this book are serious fucking MAGIC, you guys. Karp figured out the formula and put it on paper. It is hands-down the most important book you can read before you have a baby, in my opinion.
He talks about the missing fourth trimester, the calming reflex, the cuddle cure, and the 5 S's to soothe agitated babies. The 5 S's are considered the true tenets the book: swaddling, shushing, side/stomach position, swinging, and sucking that trigger the calming reflex. With these bad boys in your back pocket, you'll truly get that baby to sleep in no time. And by no time, I mean whenever the fuck your kid wants. These tools work, but with the understanding that it will take time and have different success rates.
The book also explains what colic is, if it's possible to spoil infants, getting a baby to sleep longer, and when parents should call a doctor. With all these tools in your toolbox, you can feel confident in your ability to soothe your baby without reaching your breaking point during a little baby freak out moment.
I highly recommend picking one up if you are expecting a little one; you'll feel more empowered and ready to help your baby be as happy as possible. I re-read this book every time I am about to start working with a new infant. More than anything, it does wonders in instilling confidence and it helps when a baby is having a meltdown to know that there are specific things that you can go down the list and do to help him. I love lists!