I like the Pimsleur system. I have used it with Traveler's Spanish, the Spanish I, and for French. I prefer the cassettes to the CDs becasue of they are easier back up so as to retrace areas. The concept of listen/repeat in your car on the way to work without alot of book-study at the lower levels is effective, easy, fun. The purpose of this particular set of 4 cassettes is to provide an introduction into the Pimsleur system to see if you like the system and want to move directly up to the larger Level I set. If you are planning to use this set to get ready for a trip to Spain or Central/South America, this may not be the correct set for you. If you will only be there for a short trip, this might be OK. But if you are going to be there longer, or if you want to brush up on your high school Spanish, then pass over this set and go for the Traveler's Edition set, which is specifically designed for those purposes. It works, its fun, get the right one. If you are not sure if you have any aptitude for Spanish or if you want to go further, this is a good set to sample. If you know you want to go more deeply into the language, this will not be enough.
I think that this "Quick and Simple" set of CDs is the best way to get started with Pimsleur products, rather than buying the more expensive, more comprehensive products right away. You'll get a sense of whether this is the route you want to go if you want to learn more Spanish. At the same time, it is worth knowing that there are other high-quality competing approaches (e.g. Platiquemos Spanish). The Quick and Easy CDs will expose you to the heart of what makes Pimsleur unique. The approach is based on (1) The Principle of Anticipation (a mastery technique that is different than rote recall), (2) Graduated Interval Recall (an approach that provides new stuff to memorize at optimal intervals), (3) Core Vocabulary (an efficient, optimal selection of a small number of key words that you need to know, as opposed to an extensive vocabulary), (4) and "Organic Learning" (learn speech, eg sound, rhythm, intonations, as opposed to a bunch of textbook gramatical rules). I should add that there's something subtly humorous about the content of the CDs, so if you have a sarcastic or wicked sense of humor, you won't be totally bored. Like many, I find the approach efficient and useful, and I have had lots of fun with the CDs as I drive around town blathering away in Spanish. But it really isn't the only game in town. For instance, if you are going to speak in Mexico, then Platiquemos has some advantages. Don't be fooled by the $50 coupon that comes with the CDs. In my experience, a much better price can be found using Amazon.com.
In Jan 2004 I was planning a trip to Venezuela in March 2004. All the guide books suggested that a little bit of Spanish would go along way to getting what you want. Since I didn't know any Spanish whatsoever I was in quite a fix. Luckily I stumbled on this product. I said hey what the hell for 15$ it was worth a try. I could really test whether this was a gimick or whether it really work. I was pleasantly surprised. After taking the 8 lessons I know enought Spanish to get around. How to greet people, how to find a hotel, restaurant etc. How to ask for something etc. It was just basic stuff but it helped alot. I'm sure if I would have go the entire package of 30 lessons then I would have been able to communicate in Spanish quite effectively. I now am going to Italy at the end of summer. I plan to buy the whole 30 lesson set for Italian. I am confident that during the summer I will learn Italian quite well. The only disadvantage to this thing is the for the whole set you have to pay alot of money. But if you don't believe then just buy the starter set of 8 lessons for 15$. See it works for you. If it doesn't no major loss.
This program was very easy to do, 30 minutes a day and I learned how to get around and ask how much, where is, is it over there etc. Very travel orientated, but sometimes I had a hard time understanding their pronounciation and had to do the lesson twice.
It was great to hear the conversations in the beginning and got easier as I went along. While in the Dominican, I could actually understand what people were saying sometimes