This book is great for giving you the basics. I'm starting from scratch with Mandarin. The explanations for sentence structure and grammar are very clear, with plenty of good pattern sentences. I have compiled my own list of essential sentences for memorization from this book.
Good as the book is, I still think you'll need to attend a class or get a tutor to learn pronunciation. Pinyin, the standard romanized system for writing Mandarin, doesn't at all approximate the sounds in Mandarin. Even the excellent guidelines to pronunciation in this book aren't enough. When I sat down with my tutor, I was quite surprised to find out how certain words were really supposed to sound.
The book gives sentences in Chinese characters, pinyin and English translation. I'm only attempting to learn the spoken language, so I can't say how helpful this book is with learning how to write. I suspect it's only supplemental.
This book, by the way, is geared to students, not business people or tourists, so a lot of the vocabulary has to do with school activities. But regardless of your orientation, you're still getting the correct sentence structures from this book.
I believe in having a lot of textbooks when learning a language. I learn different things from different books. But this book is turning out to be my main resource for putting together my own study plan. I'm quite pleased with it.