Two relatively recent books on slow cookers have inspired me to dust mine off. I go through periods where I am enchanted but often the results are a murky mess. Both Hugh Acheson's The Chef and the Slow Cooker and Martha Stewart's Slow Cooker are solid and deserving of your attention. In the end, I think you can justify buying a slow cooker just for making beans. These books take it one step further. You put in the beans, unsoaked if they are Rancho Gordo, a little onion, some garlic and maybe a spoonful of olive oil. That's it. You can put them in in the morning and come home to a wonderful pot or you can start at night before going to bed and in the morning the house is filled with a lovely aroma like no other. You just woke up and you've already achieved something grand today!