well snich - if you look in your may fundamentals book they probably cover rigging a hand but my advice is definitely not to put ik on the fingers! It wouldn't be helpful
put an ik solver from the shoulder to the wrist if you wish - this helps when a character grasps an object etc.
For the fingers I'd look up 'Set driven key'. It may seem complex at first but it's worth learning. Because there are so many joints in the hand it takes a while to animate it using key frames and rotating each individual joint. Create a locator or a control box and add an attribute called for examples sake 'Fist'. This helps you set up a slider with a minimum, a maximum and a range. Default is 0, max is say, 10. Use 'Set driven key' to pick a driver - that would be your control box or locator, and 'driven' : the joints whose movement you want to control - that being all the necessary joints in the hand necessary to form a fist.
If this seems either absurdly complex or way over your head it probably has more to do with my style of writing than with the truth. It isn't dead simple but it's also doable.
This tutorial on zoorender explains how very nicely. I think also MtMckinly has a tutorial on this site that goes over rigging and I'm sure he also covers rigging the hand.
Just another link with a quick explaination.
Check out the subsurfacescattering on my tongue...