Update 02-26-2010: I threw this book out a few months ago even though it had all my notes written on the pages. I wish I had it back. I would downloaded and would like to learn the new est version. There aren't many books on the shelf for computers anymore - especially for programming. I still feel perl is a great language for digging data our of log files etc.
Update 04-24-08: I will likely be dusting this book off and bring it in to work. The notes I wrote in it make it invaluable to me. There is a new version too. UltraEdit is a great text editor and only costs $50 for the latest and greatest text version of the program.
I spent a year with the book and went through almost every chapter in detail. I typed in nearly every chapter, wrote notes in the book, etc.
It's not perfect and falls a little short occasionally in the area of being pro-active. By this I mean there are some areas where the author could have emphasized things a bit more.
Also, he makes it seem like learning PERL is a breeze. I found it a lot of work after spending 2000 hrs with the book. I can can code pretty well and consider myself an intermediate non-professional. This language is an outstanding way to learning advanced programming techniques common to all languages. It is also something I will use as I move from windows 2k/xp to Mac OS X Tiger - which has perl built in and is accessible through the Terminal.app window.
Bottom line: if you have a need to manipulate text based data files or even excel - since there are many plugins for Perl or want to do Web cgi scripts this is a great book although it does not focus on web applications but primarily on the building blocks of text manipulation and general programming fundamentals, loops, statements, troubleshooting, etc you cannot go wrong with this book. Also, don't be fooled by its size. It is the right size instead of a giant telephone book that you will never read like most programming books. Also, much more helpful for learning than the Perl in a nutshell classic O'reilly book.