I was very pleasantly surprised to find this book. I've enjoyed Mr. Kerman's books in the past, they're always very informative and practical. And I think that's the key: practical. I like using Flash and I love making Flash projects, but I find ActionScript a really cumbersome language. It's no Ruby. That's fine, but I don't want a book that's cumbersome too.
Creating Flash projects over and over again, you definitely realize there are certain patterns to your work. You need video, you need a preloader, you need to parse XML files, etc. A lot of books try to cover everything available to a Flash programmer and end up really telling you very little. By focusing in on what's important, Mr. Kerman has written something very close to a masterpiece in the field.
Chapter 1 is an excellent overview of the new features in Flash 8, and frankly I wasn't even aware of half of them because Macromedia doesn't really emphasize the new features of the ActionScript language, they emphasize the authoring environment and the visuals. Chapter 2 is an overview of constructing a real-world Flash project and it is priceless. You become a great Flash developer when you see how a Flash project is really just a lot of pieces put together. You learn in this chapter how to break apart your projects, how to arrange content, and so forth. It's an excellent prelude to the rest of the book.
The rest of the chapters of the book (and contents of the CD-ROM) cover eight projects similar to the types of real-world projects I've been doing lately. I'm not going to cover them all, they're all really good, but let's take some examples from the Portfolio chapter. This is an excellent example of what's great about this book. This chapter takes you through building modular components that you put together to make a portfolio. The thumbnails are separate from the larger views, and they are separate from the chapter navigation. You don't build one project, really, but as many as you want! You can combine these things as much as you want. And when you're ready, dig into the libraries that you didn't have to study in detail. You have worked up from a great foundation, but you're well entitled to play with the foundation too, if you want!
If you find yourself building Flash projects, especially websites, that are of any real size, you should really get a copy of this book. The writing is great, the code is solid and the possibilities are endless. And for this price it's a downright bargain.
Finally, a really great book on Flash 8!