I studied out of this book for a semester and I have to say, I thoroughly hated it. If you actually want to learn how to converse in Chinese, the lessons and vocabulary in this book are not useful at all. You learn either esoteric words or, more often, words and phrases that are outdated and not representative of how native speakers talk. Likewise, the grammer is not very well integrated into the lessons, and the excercises are poorly explained and don't help you learn much. Half the time they contain words which aren't in the lesson you're studying and, without outside knowledge, you wouldn't know what they meant and have to look them up. The lessons overall are boring and are pumped up with propaganda and useless facts like how many people can fit inside Tiananmen Square. I much prefer the Zhong Wen Ru Men series produced by Princeton University, which is taught using dialogues, which help you learn how to converse, rather than just stuff you with useless facts and vocabulary.