Alfred Hitchcock never won an Oscar for Best Director. The closest he came was a Best Picture Oscar for Rebecca in 1940. Though his films made between 1954 and 1964 are now considered his greatest, at that time he was considered a popular entertainer but not a serious artist.
Fortunately for us, some young film-makers in France recognized his genius at the time. One of them, Francois Truffaut, befriended him, and in 1962 they spent a week discussing each of Hitchcock's films with the help of Helen G. Scott as translator. Transcriptions were published in 1966; Truffaut published an updated version in 1983 when Hitchcock died.
This book is a course in film history and in film-making. It is also an artist's memoir. But for me it's a book about story-telling. As Hitchcock discusses all those famous sequences---the crop-duster scene in North by Northwest; the shower scene in Psycho; the glass floor in The Lodger; and so many more---he explains they were all invented to convey the right information to the audience at the right moment. And he has a lot to say about the writing of each film: the story, the treatment, and the dialogue.
In 2015, director Kent Jones followed in Truffaut's footsteps by making a documentary which pairs audio clips from the Hitchcock-Truffaut conversations with commentary by contemporary directors including Wes Anderson, Martin Scorcese, Paul Shrader, Richard Linklater and others. All of them acknowledge Hitchcock as a role model and this book as a textbook for directors film-makers.