Somehow the phrase "jump start" seems a little feeble when Schilli's energetic style catapults you into Perl. I didn't expect to be impressed by a "jump start guide" to a language with which I'm already familiar, but a brief thumb-through quickly changed my mind.
The first hundred pages or so provide a lightening-strike introduction to the basics of Perl. Best-suited for a reader with prior programming experience, the first chapter illustrates the most important Perl concepts efficiently, but also includes enough subtleties and effective examples that it's worth a look by a non-beginner.
After equally vigorous introductions to Perl objects and modules, Schilli focuses on two exciting areas where Perl's unique strengths are well-suited, Tk-based graphical user interface development and internet programming. Although Perl has many important uses beyond these two, they make an effective introduction to the breadth and power of the language.
Even the appendices contain a surprising variety of useful information, from the instructions for installing Perl from the included CD, to the quick references to HTML and POD, to the links to a variety of resources available through the 'Net.
Clearly, a "jump start guide" can't cover every detail of a language as eclectic as Perl; nevertheless, Schilli has done a very good job of selecting topics that will get the reader up and running quickly, while leaving them prepared to learn even more. I also consider this book nearly ideal for the reader who is already familiar with Perl as a rapid-development text-processing and scripting language, and who is now ready to move into full-blown application development in Perl.