Actually, that's the stuff that should be the good stuff, if there was a lot more of it. And if it was thought of a much more poetic quality than "horizontals will always give a sense of repose." I mean, yeah, horizontals will give repose... until such time as the viewer falls asleep. Its so basic - a few cheesy "secrets" here and there - and so geared toward the amateur sunday afternoon barn painter that it becomes absurdly reductionist. This may not be Speed's fault because, after all, he was writing a general interest book, something for uncles to give to their talented nephews who draw on the back of the tablecloth. But Speed's actual artwork, except for a few minor exceptions, isn't all that interesting either. So there might simply be a gap in his knowledge in the area of expression, just like so many others just like him. Yet he's quite strong on more technical matters, imo, which are important nonetheless.
Do you mean the stuff along the lines of, "this painting looks contemplative because of horizontal lines?" If so, we're agreed on that, although to his credit, he did say over and over that they weren't rules of composition and that using those tools alone wouldn't give you a good picture.