I sat down on the terrace with the official NX2 Guide this afternoon in an attempt to really get myself to grips with the thing: it is impossible. The reading turns into a sleep-inducing exercise despite the fact that I really want to get to the point where I can almost avoid PS altogether, not because I don't like it, but because it would simply be nice to be that capable with both alternatives.
For a more readable instruction book on NX2, let me suggest Mike Hagen's "Nikon Capture NX 2, After Shoot." Unlike the manual, it is entirely readable.
I like the control points etc., but I wanted to embrace the program for more. So, I finally decided that I had to force myself to read a book like Hagen's from stem to stern. It was well worth it as I now use NX2 for most of what I do, and I rarely venture into PS, except for pixel level editing, my Photokit Sharpener plug in, and for careful printing from PS. Love those instant masks for virtually every possible editing feature in NX2. PS would take forever to create anything like them.
There is another book on the market which if anything is more boring and less useful than the manual, Ben Long's Real World "Nikon Capture NX." Just dull. I could not make myself read it. I have other Real World series books, like Fraser's book on sharpening, and this was a definite disappointment after those other good experiences.
A third book, and I recommend, is Jason Odell's ebook on NX2, "The Photographer's Guide to Capture NX2." It comes in PDF text searchable format. I printed it out, but that makes it inches think on 8.5x10" paper. I use it more as a reference than a guide to learn to the program. Perhaps it would be more easily portable and thereby easier to stick to reading it on a portable device like an iPad or Kindle. http://www.luminescentphoto.com/ebooks.html
For initial review of photos, selecting the winners, maybe's and losers, Photo Mechanic, from www.camerabits.com
, seems to be the fastest, most elegant. I have been using it for years, happily. Powerful for setting exif and IPTC data. The only attribute I would give Bridge, which is clunky in comparison for full screen image review from where I sit for image review, is that right now one can do a global text search for images in Bridge whereas one does that only in directories in Photo Mechanic. I believe the next iteration of Photo Mechanic will include that ability.