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.
WSM 22.5 modified, Mini WSM. Genesis Silver. Proud Supporter of Operation BBQ Relief!