What a disappointment and, in my view, a sad reflection on an otherwise excellent series - The missing Manuals. The content is wooly and confusing. In an attempt to be 'dummy' friendly it makes a relatively simple subject a messy muddle.
There are plenty of better books on this subject. Highly recommended is: Applescript The Comprehensive Guide to Scripting and Automation on Mac OS X by Hanaan Rosenthal
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Started to learn applescript about two years ago. Found myself coming back to this book time after time. Full of useful scripts that can be placed in other scripts. They are all well explained and simplified for both absolute beginners and those who have acquired more knowledge. My copy is now so worn out through me going back to it for information. Something rare, despite owning a large number of help manuals. If you are interested in automating the mac environment, go for it. It will save you precious time. One slight problem, I would like to have seen more information on scripting Iwork, but then this information is quite rare, even on the applescript website.