I just picked up An Innovative Approach to Speaking and Reading Japanese at Borders the other night. I'm pretty impressed so far. I bought the book, because after thumbing through it I got the impression that it was a no nonsense book on figuring out how to create Japanese sentences. After getting home and really looking through it I think I'm correct.
Gene Nishi is/was an engineer for IBM and he wrote this book after spending a good deal of time teaching other IBM engineers how to speak Japanese in a relatively short time. The fact that Mr. Nishi is an engineer really shines through in this book - it's full of tables and flow charts showing how to construct Japanese sentences. It is very reminiscent of a programming book.
That said, this may not be the book for everyone. It's pretty technical and he leaves practice and exercises up to the reader. But kamisama knows I have plenty of other books for that. This book is about ramping up to speed in the shortest possible time. I think it will help me do just that.
Also, note that Mr Nishi spends very little time at all on the "reading" part of learning Japanese. All of his sentences are written in Japanese (kanji and kana) with romaji alongside. This book is not going to aid in your Kana learning/practice.
Still, for anyone who wants to get straight to the meat of learning Japanese, this is an excellent book, and it's a lot cheaper than many others. I'm glad to see that the reviewers on Amazon agree with me.