America is a great land of opportunity. I am sure we all want to get ahead in this country. We want to find the type of employment that is suited for us. We wish to advance in the work world. We wish to make friends.

The best way to get ahead in the world is to speak the mother tongue of the country you are living in. In this case, we are talking about English. With so many “English as a Second Language” courses being taught there is no excuse for not learning. The problem is, what book do you use to learn from?

Have you been looking for a good ESL manual? If you have, I think this is one to consider. The topics cover: Your Life, The Civic Life, along with the everyday aspects as dating, enjoying money, handling stress.

The editors put it together in an easy to use form. You have conversation starters such as, “How much time do you spend each week in cars? Why?”

There is a section in each chapter for vocabulary building. A section on common sayings is included, as well. To increase the conversation we have such questions as this: “Do you prefer to drive in the city or the country? Flat or hills?”

Each chapter in the book concludes with quotations. An example is this one by Woody Allen, “I have bad reflexes. I was once run over by a car being pushed by two guys.”

This manual helps conversation by giving common subjects to talk about. Since English is one of the confusing, difficult and strange languages for a foreigner to grasp and be comfortable conversing in, the compilers pack in 45 chapters over 30 questions, 10 or more targeted vocabulary words, some proverbs, and quotations per chapter.

Each chapter focuses on a promising conversation topic. They start with easy questions and continue on to questions a bit more abstract. Each question is there to allow the speaker to share his life experiences along with his insights.

This manual will go best with the advanced ESL student or even at coffee shop conversation clubs. It will bring about authentic, not stilted communication, which should be the purpose of an ESL course. It is easier for a person to learn a language through conversation rather than by a given list of vocabulary words. That is what makes this a welcome addition to the material which can be used for the immigrant who must learn English to advance in the world.

Eric H. Roth has taught many ESL courses at Santa Monica College, UCLA Extension, Cal State Long Beach’s American Language Institute. Toni Aberson has taught English and supervised teachers for over 35 years and holds to the view that when you have a lively classroom you have optimal learning going on.

This manual is available at It can also be purchased on the Web site: There is a substantial discount available for schools and bookstores.

Dane Robert Swanson is the best looking book reviewer in Santa Monica and wishes to get feedback from you.

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