In all studies (in the university or institute), you must read about some topics you won't apply in a job or activity, however It is importat to know about general concepts. The new ccna covers the basic themes of the previous CCNA R&S, but also something general of the other tracks (security, for example).
it says "more efficient" than other is not any accurate. The technology changes, and we must align to the new technologies and platforms that appears. The news in these "changes" is you can get Cisco specializations in professional level and not prerequisites in any level (associate, professional, expert). We must go ahead, too
You can check about the new CCNA vol 1 of Wendell Odom. In CLN you can check a case about it
New books in Cisco Press