First I have to tell you that I have NEVER used Flash. We were in a meeting, and we were trying to figure out how to deliver a presentation on our construction company's portfolio to a tech-savvy client. I said, "let's make a Flash-movie slideshow with the photos we have and we'll e-mail it out to them". I said I could make something basic but still slick, in the 2 weeks we had until they wanted to make contact.
Again, no Flash experience, and I just committed to getting this important marketing piece done - now concerned that I might have been overselling my abilities. What did I do? Besides downloading a 30 Flash CS4 day trial from Adobe's website, I did what I always do - I bought a book! I made a whole stack at the bookstore, and sat in the cafe in the store looking through all of them to make sure I got the best book - the one that would make me successful. Some were very high-tech, one looked like greek, one was too cartoony and silly, and then Rich Shupe's book "Learning Flash CS4", the companion book to "Learning ActionsScript 3.0", just stood out. His tone was calm, the instructions were basic, and it included a book-long project with several major Flash components like embedded movie clips, kinematics, sound with controls, tweening. Pretty much everything someone might want to do, with sample files available at each stage from their website, to help check your work.
Any expert would say the book was light on explanations and detail, but when you are starting out, you need just enough to get it working, and you know someday you'll understand because Rich tells you so; sprinkled around are subtle encouragements like "you'll learn more about that in a later chapter, for now just do it this way" kind of statements. And at the end of each chapter there is a review, and an explanation of how what you learned fits in to what you are about to learn.
I am a learn by doing, learn by example kind of person. I dabble here in anything they'll let me try. By Chapter 6, I had an intro page, 5 icon buttons to navigate with, a short interval of tweened animation (a silhouetted airplane flying in - large at stage right, to small at stage left, as though it is flying in over your shoulder), two slideshows with their own controls, a page that launches to our corporate website, and an animated intro where our logo fades in, with a slogan appearing one word at a time, and then dropping stage right with an intro message.
Also, now I know just enough ActionScript to be dangerous from this book, but I plan to buy the companion book, Learning ActionScript 3.0, as well - it is a few months older, but ActionScript 3.0 is what Flash CS4 uses, so I can't imagine there is any issue there.
This book is just enough instruction to be successful and understand all the concepts, not overwhelmed with detail. The author speaks plainly but without condescension. You are encouraged but not overtly cheerfully. It gives you the concepts and assumes you will know how to apply them to your own work - just my style. I am not sure I would have been as successful with another book - this one was perfect.