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This is a reasonably good book, with a decent selection of exercises. For a beginner self-learning text, this is a nice choice.

-Grammar and pronunciation are very good (more on this later).
-Book is easy to read, logically laid out, etc.
-Comes with a good-quality listening CD, and learners should always get a listening CD.
-Plenty of exercises.

-Accent may need some work (more later).
-Some exercises are just cheesy, like long sections of learning how to say your name, then being asked to write the exact same phrase for ten people (Ich heisse John, Ich heisse Mary, etc etc). This repetition can be a good thing for a beginner, but I won't complain if you skip some of the repeats as you go along.
-Apparently the eBook version isn't very good, but why is anyone buying the e-version of a book that you're supposed to read alongside its listening CD anyway? Then again I'm not an eBook reader.

Now the accent. A standard treatise that people learning German should prepare themselves to hear every time they see a new material is that the vast majority of classes / books / etc don't do a good job of disclosing what accent they're teaching you. Imagine if you were learning English and when you actually came to America people told you that you had been taught to speak like you were from Boston or Chicago and you had no idea! Classes are ideally supposed to teach "high" German (Hoch Deutsch), which like Standard American English isn't really spoken by anyone outside of formal business settings but it's designed to be a generic treatment of the language. As I've seen so far, this book has a bit of an accent, as many materials do.

An example: The word ich (translating to the English "I"). In High German, it should be pronounced like "ick" as if an English speaker sees something disgusting. This book teaches you to say "eek" (like if you're frightened of a bug). Most German speakers in a casual setting will pronounce it more like "ish" (as in you speak Engl-ish). The accent is not particularly strong, and it's pretty close to the formal High German, so for a beginner it's not a lot to complain about. But someone who masters this book might get some corrections from their peers for some odd pronunciations. As I understand it this accent would be more from the southern/Bavarian side of Germany, although again it's not very bad.

Again the way you're "supposed" to learn German is to learn Hoch Deutsch first, and from there to learn to relax your speech a little for informal settings. So no matter how you learn German, at some point you have to learn accents. For anyone unfamiliar, the same things happens with English- most people in the world have to learn the difference between British and American English, and even from there to learn regional dialects, before they can be effective English speakers. This is similar to the way any German learner needs to learn the difference between Hoch Deutsch and Swiss or Bavarian German or what have you.

So one star off mostly for not disclosing what accent was being taught to the beginner, but otherwise this is a very good book.
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on August 9, 2013
This is a great book. I'm only in the middle of Part 2, but I've learned so much. I went to Germany and everyone was impressed! It was amazing how much I could understand in general conversation, at the store, and on TV. Especially since it introduces so many verbs/conjugations early on. The Self Teaching Guide is too close to this book. I really don't see why anyone would need both. The text is nearly identical, but this one has more explanation, while the Self-Teaching Guide has the same introductory text but more practice examples at the end of each part.
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on July 14, 2016
Excellent text but requires almost the level of intermediate German background. Great for review of the major points of grammar and
includes several references to conversational German. I enjoyed "reading" (literally) through the text and testing myself as I went. I
have yet to use the CD for pronunciation, but have some background in that.
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on December 9, 2012
We bought this AND German for Dummies - both similar but with just enough difference to make both helpful. These books are easy reads, contain CDs which helps greatly with pronounciations & accents. It's crazy how similar German & English are. The Germans speak so rapidly (in person) that's it's hard to pick up those similarities but once you learn the key similarities, it's much easier. However, don't get too comfortable with those similarities as there are a few words that are almost the opposite in meaning. German DMYSTiFied actually makes it a fun learning experience. I believe this book would help teens as well.
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on June 30, 2012
I have just started using this book, but so far so good. German is difficult for me, but this book is helping me breakdown the language so I can get a better grasp on all the grammar and pronunciations!
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on January 1, 2014
I took two years of German a decade ago, so I bought this hoping to use it as a refresher. I find it poorly organized. It also spends too much time on simple things, and doesn't have enough practice drills for more complex concepts. For example, 5 pages are dedicated to "My name is __. What is your name? What is his name?" But less than two poorly explained pages on using nicht versus kein. I was able to pick and choose exercises that I needed, but definitely needed other books and CDs to supplement. It's also kind of difficult to actually use; it never really lays flat on the table, and always finds a way to slip out of your lap. Because of this, you can't quite write on the pages. I do feel like this book was a waste of money.
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on July 18, 2015
This is one of my favorite books. I always recommend it to anyone learning German. There are books and websites that go into further detail about the mechanics of the German language, but this book is a good starting place to understanding the language. You will need a decent vocabulary though.
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on April 24, 2016
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on June 28, 2016
Does everything the title suggests!!!
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on July 3, 2014
Giving it a three star review in anticipation that the replacement book/cd will come with a working CD. I'm a little concerned it won't though as another reviewer got a second one and also had a disc that didn't work. I don't know why they don't just give a download code or something. CDs are the worst way of distributing content. Big mass-duplicators are never perfect and it makes for a poor user experience. I kinda wish I had bought it locally so I don't have to wait to return and get a new one.

That being said I'll be adjusting my review depending on whether the disc works or not.
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