Right up front, the authors of this book state that you really should have done smoe coding befor in order to get the most from this book. But with that pre-requisite covered 'Learning Perl' is a fun and information dense learning tool. Not to say that you can’t do it if you have never coded before, but it will be more of a struggle. Luckily I am familiar with how to code (note: there may be those who strongly object to this statement), and so this book turned out to be a fabulous resource.
Coming in at under 275 pages, the book doesn't waste time in getting down to what you need to know. I am a self-learner, and I was constantly amazed at the end of each chapter at how much we had covered. Given such information rich text, you might imagine it to be a little dry. Not so. The book exhibits a quirky, geeky sense of humor. And be warned; it uses footnotes extensively. While that may not be your bag, I found the footnotes made the book more like an internet browsing experience (or an author who uses excessive parentheses - like me). I treated the footnotes like a link to more detailed and in-depth information.
I do have one small beef. The authors assume that you are a UNIX programmer. There are numerous references to UNIX arcana, which you are supposed to just know. Phrases like 'If you want to make a Perl program [..] like the utilities cat, sed, awk, [..] and many others..' mean nothing to me. Furthermore there is little (a couple of paragraphs) to explain how to get Perl up and running on a Windows box. Now, I can easily overlook the little Microsoft digs, but I think more of an effort could have been made to reach out to the 'other side'.
So now, I am building my own Perl library. I love the functionality it gives me. Once I figured out how to call programs from other web platforms I was one happy camper. It is surprising how well it integrates with Windows. All in all, the time spent with this book was well worth it. Mainly the book provided a quick and comprehensive introduction to a powerful and flexible language. Thankfully the authors took a difficult subject and made it easier with their light in tone / heavy on the info style. Check it out.