This is what I did:
Took free skeleton tutorial here, Read the skinning info in Maya's help, asked a few questions here and experimented a lot...
I still have no idea how to create rigs but that's because I got tired of the project I was doing...
I can't say my knowledge of this area is more then totally basic but it's enough for a start. I suggest you try that before buying a book you're not sure you're going to need (anytime soon at least)
When in doubt, delete history and freeze transformations.
My latest snake game
(Requires DirectX9 SDK and Framework)