This is a Foundation prequel, coming after Prelude to Foundation and before Foundation. The book is almost a series of short stories or novelettes — there are several year gaps between these stories. That was a shame in a sense, because each of these separate stories has its won startup cost — the time it takes me to get into what is happening. For some reason I don’t find that as much of a problem with collections of short stories, possibly because I’m expecting it more. This technique meant Asimov could cover a lot of ground, but I found it jarring over all.
I guess I’d say this book was ok, but not one of Asimov’s best.