Brilliant analysis and explanation of Hollywood, by William Goldman, Oscar winning screenwriter extraordinaire: compulsive reading if, like me, you're a junkie for behind-the-scenes gossip and insight into even the most trivial aspects of the film-making process. Goldman's irrerevent humour and total honesty makes it completely unputdownable: he's at his best when discussing an individual script's journey from idea to film, and provides an example at the end where he writes a short script specially and runs it by producers, directors, editors, costume designers, cinematographers, and so on. He's also wonderful at pithy wise one-liners, the most pithy and wise and famous of which is probably:

Nobody Knows Anything.
What he means by this, of course, is that ultimately, however much he or anyone else writes about star power or the importance of marketing or a great screenplay, there will always be Blair Witch Projects and Star Wars, but the quote is often applied to pretty much anything under the sun, including but not limited to sports and politics.

If you like this, try Rebel Without A Crew, Robert Rodriguez' fascinating diary of the low-budget making of his first (frankly rubbish) feature El Mariachi, the basis for Desperado, or Goldman's sequel Which Lie Did I Tell: Further Adventures In The Screen Trade, also good but clearly not meant to be read immediately after the first one, which was written 15 years earlier: I read them back to back and the similarities are actually a little embarrassing.