Well now I know what the "See this is why i hate buying off-brand crap" part ment...
Buying a PHP book that is just for function reference is IMO worthless as PHP has an excelent manual for them on the web which is kept up to date.
I'm not sure if this was any help, but I hope it didn't make you stupider.
Experience is something you get just after you really need it.
PHP Installation Guide