Learning web design (and how to manage a design business) through trial-and-error sucks. It’s inevitable that there’ll be some struggle along the way, but the entire journey shouldn’t be fraught with mistakes and misery.
One of the benefits of reading a book written specifically for web designers, developers, and other creatives is that the lessons within it usually come after the author’s own years of mistakes and trial-and-error.
So, rather than start your design career off as a starving artist, or keep going business as usual with burnout always looming overhead, stop and take some time to read. Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, spending time inside one of the best web design books can give you the clarity, motivation, and inspiration needed to make a positive pivot in your business and life.
So, to answer the question posed in the headline, I’d start with the first recommendation: The Principles of Beautiful Web Design, since it gives you an overview and doesn’t get into the technicals too much. The typography and color book recommendations are the next best candidates, then I would go on to ‘Steak like an artist’, just because it is fun yet illuminating.