I received my copy of the “VMware vSphere Design” book yesterday from amazon. As with any book before I read it I just flick through it quickly. If it's non-fiction, like this book, I might even read a random page or two.
Purely by coincidence the book fell open at page 13 and a highlighted section titled “Don't accept Best Practices Blindly”. It actually made me laugh when I read that. Not because it's funny or wrong but because I had spent a large part of my day trying to convince people of the very same thing!
Several people have sounded off about “Best Practices” in the past and at least one of them dislikes the term so much that it won't do you any favours to mention it if you're interviewed for a job by him.
My own feelings are fairly well summed up by the paragraph in the book. That is, I think they're a good starting point but you need to understand why something is a best practice and what the implications of following or not following it are. Implementations and environments are rarely, if ever, identical and you should have the knowledge and intelligence to determine which best practices are applicable.
I look forward to reading the rest of the book now but I'd be very interested in hearing from anyone who has had a “best practice” cause a problem in their environment.