Microsoft is a sinusoid, when talking about Windows releases. It always has perfect system followed by a total mistake and nightmare.
Since Windows 7 was a nearly-perfect system (thousand times better that Vista-joke), then we could expect, that Windows 8, that follows it, will be a nightmare, joke and a total mistake. It is.
While we're waiting for (hopefully "perfect"?) Windows 9, we need to do something to make Windows 8 at least usable. Because, out-of-the-box, this system isn't usable and is the shortest path to permanent mental illness. If you can avoid Windows 8, then do it, without asking why. If you're forced to use it, this article should be a start point for restoring your mental stability.
This is rather a check-list (with some coment), what you should do or at least consider, than fully featured article. And, yes! Everything, what is written here, was tested on Windows 8.1, so should work just perfectly on both Windows 8 and 8.1.