there are many excellent books, sure, but there's still nothing like having someone who knows it tell you in person -- or on a forum like this.
Funny, I've always found the bulletin board a poor way to transfer knowledge, especially when the question demands a long answer. Spend some time reading posts here and on photo.net. The shoe polish/excrement ratio is low.

each of you guys IS a book
Right, and most are from vanity presses. If you don't know what a vanity press is, the modern equivalent is a blog, except that the blog form is, like the bulletin board, hostile to anything longer than one screen.

but there's nothing like someone who knows.
Interesting idea. So tell me, when you went to school how many of your teachers dispensed with a text or collection of published papers and simply taught off the top if their heads?