everyone seems to have favourites with respect to Guidebooks. Some prefer Lonely Planet, Let's Go, Rough Guides or whatever and of course on this Forum I'm sure Rick's books are preferred!
I use Rick's books EXTENSIVELY when planning,as the format is excellent and they are a wealth of information! They fit my travel style well, and have great info on lodgings, dining, etc. As someone else mentioned, "Europe Through The Back Door" is an ESSENTIAL pre-read, especially since this is your first trip to Europe. Check this web site for details.
A trip of 16 days is not a long time, so you'll need to plan your transport carefully. I'd highly recommend "open jaw" flights for best efficiency.
Four cities is workable in that time frame, and Bruges is a good choice. You could also consider Rothenburg (on the way to Munich), as it's a favourite. Plan for at least 4-5 days in London and Paris, as there's LOTS to see! Italy is always fantastic, but I doubt you'll have time.