I've lifted weights for about 12 years. I tried out the Bowflex as an alternative to free weights at home and was overall dissatisfied. I believe the Bowflex builds strength, but feels awkward, since the resistance increases so much as the bows bend. I prefer more consistent resistance throughout. For anyone just looking to get some exercise, with no real lifting experience I'm sure this would work fine.
Bottom Line No, I would not recommend this to a friend