Nilesh Raje wrote:... "Ruby in Practice" will help me jump start on Ruby so I can take on Rails quickly...
Well, according to the publisher's web site this book it is not an introduction to Ruby. For that, go for example with the pickaxe book "Programming Ruby 1.9: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide" by Dave Thomas, with Chad Fowler and Andy Hunt.
To start with Rails, a popular choice is "Agile Web Development with Rails" by Sam Ruby, Dave Thomas, David Heinemeier Hansson, et al (which contains a short introduction to Ruby)
(No, I don't have any connection to "The Pragmatic Programmers" except as a satisfied customer)
Ruby is very easy if you already know Java. Syntaxes are a little different, more compact and using variables are much easier. Personally I feel, the content of the book seems very OK for a person who already has a base in OO concepts.