|There's more than one way to do things
While I would agree with you that learning from others would be best (that's why I hang out at the Monestary to begin with), I work in sort of a Perl Desert. All about me use C# and VB. I also learn *very* well from books, when properly supplemented.
I learned Perl to begin with by reading Programming Perl (the Learning book was paged through and seemed good, but not presented in a way that works with how I learn) and using what I learned to stagger my way through a few downloaded Perl scripts.1.
I expect that the way to increase my Perl skill is to read as much theory as possible, then study others' scripts that use that theory, then write my own as well.