I'm not a pro, still learning (self & at college).
I just followed tutorials (there some excellent video tutorials on the right side of the home page of this site) and i get help from people on these fourms when i'm stuck. Look at the 'tutorial links' section of the fourm. You can also search over at google. And there are some good tutorials at 3dcafe.com and highend3d.com
It's all about trial-and-error. You will make mistakes and get stuck. You just learn from these.
I would take it slow and learn simple things (from tutorials). You really dont want to do things that are to advance, you'll just end up in a mess. For example: I've been using Maya since september, and i'm only really just getting into modelling.
I dont have any Maya books, although you can download infomation similar to what is in most maya books in .pdf format. There everywhere over the net and when Kevin see this post, he should know where you should go.
hope this helps....and welcome to SM
btw...do you have Maya cos if not you can download Maya PLE (personal learning edition) for free over at aliaswavefront.com