When I was starting out I attended an official course for beginners organized by the central beekeepers' association of our country.
We'd have very experienced people come in and share their guidelines, ideas, recommendations.
It turned out that the things they were teaching us were - not so rarely - not only out of sync with each other but actually pointing in opposite directions.
For me the net result of this experience was: since all these guys work with bees in their own ways which often contradict each other - obviously bees must be quite resilient to the various approaches people take. Not so fragile. One doesn't screw up bees so easily.
It may not sound like much but this was actually a very good insight because it helped me get rid of some of the "newbie block" that I had - worrying about too many things including what to worry about.
When you start from zero (and there is probably nothing that can prepare you in the sense of "oh I did X and that's similar to bees so it's a good start") it is very hard to absorb all the information that you get because you don't have a frame of reference.
You understand the words but they don't convey meaning so well. They don't relate to anything. Then, as you progress, you flash back to everything that you've read or seen and intepret it in a new light and with much improved efficiency.
For this reason it's a good idea to keep going back and revisiting the sources you've already used - chances are you will keep learning new stuff from them even though for an outside observer you're just rereading the same things over and over again.
If I had to choose just a few favorite sources it would probably be Michael Bush's website http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
and this one: http://scientificbeekeeping.com/