Mandarin Chinese questions.?

I have a few questions about Mandarin; try to answer as many as you can… Thanks!

Ok, whenever I speak to my friend in Mandarin, he pronounces the "zh" sound like a regular "z" and the "sh" found like an "s" sound. Is this correct? He is a native speaker so I assume it is right.

Also, whenever we talk in Mandarin, he has to speak slowly in order for me to understand him, how can I improve my listening skills when I listen to a native speaker speak at his normal rate?

One more…. Is there a website or book with audio that can help my pronunciation when speaking Mandarin?

He is from beijing.

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