I wholeheartedly second the prior reviewer's thoughts. I, too, bought this book at a bookstore on the strength of its packaging, premise, etc., etc. It wasn't until I began reading it that I learned that the author wrote the first edition of this book after only about a year or two of trying to write and sell screenplays. That was my first indication of a problem. The second came when I learned that since then, and as of the 2nd edition, ten years have passed and the author has still not had a script seriously reviewed, much less optioned or produced, by Hollywood agents and producers. And this man is trying to tell us that he can reveal the secrets of writing well and selling your work? Buyer Beware!!!
Now, I have no problem with the "those who can't do, teach," philosophy. Many of my best instructors were people who were able to successfully convey information and develop talent, but were unable to do the same for themselves. However, this book breaks down into three main messages, each taking fully one-third of the book, and the first two worthy of a good, private journal, not a textbook:
Message One: The Story of My Life. Talk about vanity projects. The author gives us his life history, tells us about how good he is, how much confidence he has in his own ability, yada, yada, yada. Enough already. Save it for the psychiatrist's couch or group therapy. A book purporting to teach screenwriting and screen-selling is not the place for self-affirmations. Believe me, sales to suckers like me do not constitute success. (In fact, this is the first, and only time, I've publicly admitted to purchasing this book. P.T. Barnum, I love you.)
Real World Lesson #1: No one cares if you host jazz improvs in your house if you can't even write a screenplay that would make a dog howl.
Part Two: Nobody Understands Me. Under the guise of telling us the "truth" about the Evil Hollywood Conglomerate, we are treated to page after page of diatribe. Mr. Berman is right, everyone else is wrong, and if only he could find that one person who believes in him as much as he believes in himself, we'd all realize how mistreated he was and come crying to his door, begging to be allowed a second chance to produce his work. He acknowledges, but doesn't seem to understand, that Hollywood is a business. Until you have any sort of power, artistic or financial, in that world, don't expect to be able to make a change in how it operates or to get your work read - especially if it isn't very good.
Real World Lesson #2: If you're going to tilt at windmills, make sure you have a good product behind you. Mr. Berman's self-included full-length screenplay is an embarassingly poor knockoff of a noir thriller. I can't believe he had the huevos to include it in his book as a sample of anything other than what to avoid. I guess I'll grant him guts, in addition to a certain lack of sense.
Part Three: Nuts and Bolts. Believe it or not, there are a few gems in this book, but mostly resource lists and information about screenplay formatting, all of which can be obtained elsewhere (books, software, etc.) that also provide solid information on technicque.
Real World Lesson #3: Look further than the first and last few pages of a book before buying it.
My sympathies to the author's wife. He consistently refers to her patience in the face of his apparent lack of monetary or artistic success over the last ten years. I hope she can hold out. I hope Mr. Berman can start listening, and stop talking, long enough to improve his work. I don't wish him ill, I just want to let other potential readers know that there are hundreds of other resources that will provide much better, more solid information without having to wade through all the self-indulgent whining.