TorturousThis strikes me as the case of a (probably) good teacher in desperate need of a professional writer.
As someone who speaks Spanish, Japanese and French (all learned through books and CDs prior to actual cultural immersion), I've been through self-taught language courses and consider myself, while not brilliant, at least capable of the process.
I've been through Teach Yourself Swahili's Unit One about 5 times now, and find myself barely able to remember anything. Now let me say, I have probably been spoiled on more intuitively designed, better thought-out language courses. So I do think, once I'm done with Pimsleur Swahili, I will probably tackle this with a pen and paper and get something out of it.
There is a lot of information here, so it's not as if this course fails from lack of effort, or has no utility.
BUT the information is presented in a way that's exhausting, almost torturous to sift through.
Unit One Examples:
1) "Njema" and "nzuri" are introduced with no explanation of what differentiates them
2) Vocabulary translation are presented in sentences, rather than focusing on crucial words ("you," "me")
2) The word "si" (meaning "no") is introduced in the form of a question where it seems to mean "yes" -- anyone with even a basic familiarity with Spanish will already be grappling with remembering "si" is negative: putting it in a sentence where it seems to be a positive just throws another monkey wrench into the process ... but this type of carelessness pervades
3) "M/WA" class nouns are explained in two muddled paragraphs that I had to re-read multiple times to understand
4) Most unforgivingly, we're asked to compose a sentence using "siyo," while NEVER having been introduced to the word in the lesson! (Unless I'm missing it every time I read the chapter?)
In short, there's no thought put into systematizing learning, or organizing it in a fashion that makes it digestible.
Can you get something out of this, with dedication and patience (and perhaps a basic familiarity with Swahili already?) Yes.
Would I recommend it? No.
I suggest seeing if they have this at your local library. Burn into into iTunes, then try and buy just the book used. That's what I did, so my only consolation is that I didn't lose a lot of money, and it may come in handy once I know a bit more.