I study cooking more than I cook. However, I've found that understanding the science of cooking has helped me greatly. I also remember different sources and recipes so I can study and figure out how i want to make something. I have over 500 recipes saved and searchable on my computer, complete with the source of the recipe. I'm over-flowing with cookbooks that I read cover to cover usually twice (except the sweets section). I'll place the title of the dish in a searchable file with the book reference. Have many of those too.
Recommended books: The Science of Good Cooking (Cooks Illustrated), Fire it Up, Andrew Schloss and David Joachim.
I'm pending receipt of The Flavor Bible, Karen Page
So, Scuba geek joined your website because I see many things I can learn here and many good-kind contributors in the forums.
Note: there is an inexpensive software that i recommend if you have or are starting your own e-file of recipes and sources. It saves the folder name and file name (the dish name) to Excel. Let em know if you want to know where to get it 9no, i do not sell it).