I agree that you learn it through the book then the manual. By all means, the manual is massive and very detailed!!! I guess it's like a Spring Bible. But it has so much details and texts... you get to miss the popular features that are commonly used. Spring In Action is definitely A+ for me but I like to add Spring Recipe 2.5 (not 3!!!). When I first started to use Spring, I felt like a deer caught in car's headlight but Spring Recipe 2.5 answered all my questions. After you read few books, I definitely would read over the documents. You'll find many "Oh~ I can also do it that way"