I favor starting with books. That helped me to understand what works plus it allowed learning regional variations.
Why try to reinvent the wheel from scratch when you can tweak it to make it suit your purposes? Once you get a good feel for it then it's easy to cut loose and go in new directions.
That's my two cents for what it's worth.
A New Mexican transplant smoking and spicing up a suburban New York neighborhood.
WSM 22.5 modified, Mini WSM. 22.5 OTG. Genesis Silver. Flowerpot Tandoor 19. Proud Supporter of Operation BBQ Relief!