Originally posted by Mad Rook
For openings, I suspect there's not much difference between books and engine use. (Although I suspect some would argue that point.)
However, beyond the opening, there's a huge difference. For middlegames and endgames, an engine can give you a nearly instant no-thinking-required answer, whereas if you consult a book, you almost always have to learn princi ...[text shortened]... t accuracy (and get everyone to agree with your opinion), then you're a better man than I.
No one can make a decision with 100% accuracy, not even an engine.
In fact it is possible for even a moderately good player to "out think" and engine in certain positions, this is because it is possible for a human to "think" beyond the engines horizon by focusing on relevant lines only in a complex strategical position (make no mistake it is impossible to out fox an engine on short term tactics [say 6-8 moves, 12-16 ply])
Openings are a typical area where the use of good books and the application of sound opening principles coupled with decades of GM experience [on what works] can result in a prepared player getting an advantage against an engine (provided the engine is not itself using a comprehensive opening "book" ). You will never out think the engine on opening tactical traps but because an opening lays down the complex strategic principles that are way beyond an engines horizon it is possible with judicious preparation to steer a game into your preferred lines.
That is the purpose of books and make no mistake when you leave the book / database you need a comprehensive grasp of the ideas involved and how to capitalise and play on as if you don't, not only an engine, but any moderately good human player will destroy you. Use books with care and don't follow them blindly and be prepared not only when you leave the book but when selecting the book lines to play to invest a lot of time and effort to understand what you are doing and why. That way you will improve not only here but OTB if you play there.