Hart is not only a brilliant playwright, he's an entertaining and highly engaging writer.
We vicariously live his journey from belonging to a dirt poor Jewish immigrant family living in a boarding house in the Bronx, and the various jobs he took as a teenager to contribute to the family funds (he took a job stacking animal skins, guaranteeing him plenty of space on the subway).
We are the invisible audience as we watch the risks he took (quitting said job without another prospect lined up), and bluffing his way into a Broadway theater house and getting hired as an office boy. We also watch and sympathize as he gets conned into taking crummy summer camp jobs as a social director. The worst in every way was the one where he had to sleep in a tool shed, with deplorable food and no budget by which to produce the social activities, only to discover at the end, he wasn't getting paid a dime because the owner of the camp absconded with all the money.
He worked those camps for six years, finally getting better and better camps and also better jobs during the year as director of small theater plays with volunteer actors. He spent his day time hours writing plays on the Beach at Coney Island (his family had moved to Brooklyn by then).
After the six years, he submitted a play, first to Theater Director Jed Harris who gave him the runaround, and finally to George S. Kaufman who ran with it.
As interesting as those harsh year, the best part was reading about the process of writing a play as Kaufman and Hart spent hours and hours of each day writing, shredding, writing again.
I assume that Hart must have learned how to write through Kaufman, and also from just doing it. And maybe watching all the countless plays on Broadway his aunt took him to. I say that because he dropped out of school at a young age. So this magnificent writer figured it out without a college or even a high school degree.
Certainly he was a genius, but let's not forget those six years of writing for hours each day on the beach. Also, I think Kaufman must have provided invaluable tutoring.
Also fascinating was the process and transformation a play must go through in order to succeed. Act One provides a rare insight into the nail biting hazards of making a play fly with the audiences. His first play, the one with Kaufman, titled Once in a Lifetime, almost bit the dust before it even launched. The efforts to change and revise and finally succeed should be required reading for any aspiring writer, playwright or not.
Really, the whole book should be required reading for anyone who loves to write for any reason.