I'm an experienced programmer and web developer and a great fan of the O'Reilly series, so I picked up this book expecting good things. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The book's structure and style do not provide a useful introduction to Mason for the beginner, nor is the book an easy-to-use reference when starting out; rather than helping inexperienced users avoid obstacles, it actually presents more. Unravelling the book is the greatest task I've faced yet in learning Perl and Mason. One particular problem I encountered was the introduction of seemingly random syntax and phrases (and standards) which are only explained four chapters later; the "cook-book quick start" approach is unfriendly, and confusing. Unnecessary complexity abounds from the very first pages, and the examples are bizarre and stumbling. Overall, while this book might be a useful reference (a la Nutshell) for people who already know Mason, it completely failes to deliver on what it should; a comprehensive, easy-to-follow introduction for developers new to the subject. A useful book if you know Mason, but otherwise only buy it if you like the pretty aqua colour of the spine.