Before I go on a tirade about this book, I would just like to say that it does have a good layout and organizational structure, as well as a nice appendix of built in PHP functions. I would also like to mention that I am a professional Computer Engineer. I bought this book to quickly learn php syntax/semantics so I could make a simple DB front end.
Other than that,
1.) The book is rife with syntax errors and typos. Much of the example PHP code won't even come close to compiling in PHP 5.
I spent about 3 hours trying to figure out why a few simple lines of PHP code directly from the book wouldn't work. Since I had not been introduced to PHP previously (hence buying the introduction book) I was not able to recognize the errors in the text. The examples were apparently made for a previous version of PHP. It wasn't after googling around for a while I found out the error was in the book.
2.) The author had no idea who she was writing the book for.
The author states at the beginning of the book that it was not written for programmers (to my dismay), but for someone who could "take (the book) off the shelf, skim though, and say, Hey, this PHP thing looks like a neat language, and ever-so-easy to learn!"
First of all, if you aren't a programmer, you don't learn programming languages. If you know a programming language and use it, guess what, you're a programmer.
Secondly, the author wants to assume to reader isn't a computer scientist or programmer, but that they know how to properly set up a linux system with an Apache Webserver and SQL/PHP support. Anyone who is a novice user would probably spend days getting this to work correctly to begin with.
Thirdly, nobody picks up a programming language book and randomly decides it's a "neat language" that is "ever-so-easy to learn". People decide what they want to learn first and then find a book on it. So writing an entire book on that basis is pretty flaky in my opinion.
Another problem with this book I could see was that the examples were introducing unexplained elements. I.e. using language elements that were not previously described. I understood much of it, but for a true novice this could be extremely confusing.
In summary, the book tries to compromise between technical value and accessibility to a beginner, but ultimately just ends up with a poorly crafted piece of literature. My recommendation would be either to buy a different book, or save your money and use one of the many free PHP guides available on the internet.