Every hormone-addled boy wants to join a rock band because “the chicks are great.” But those kids don’t know that becoming a director is an even better way to get laid. This biography, by a bunch of Cahiers du cinema writers, drives home that point beautifully, and it names names: Jeanne Moreau, Claude Jade, Fanny Ardant, Catherine Deneuve, and pretty much every other beautiful woman who ever acted for Truffaut.

If that’s not inspiring, the book traces FT’s growth from street punk and syphilitic deserter to Oscar-winning independent auteur with admirable style. The part about his flame-out with Godard is fascinating, but I have to admit that I had to skim the clinical and terribly depressing description of his last brain-tumor infested months.