User research is a lean-forward activity: you have to remain actively engaged. It's very different from watching TV: a lean-back, passive activity.
UX books have to serve many purposes. Here are three lists aimed at making people enthusiastic, giving them practical how-to advice, and teaching them the research skills they will need.
Stepping through your UI and asking two deceptively simple questions at each stage can give you great insights into the problems your users will face.
Spend just one week to get the information you need to build your product right first time. Use these techniques to plan your sprints or even to work out what product to bring to market.
Design validation is not a phase, it's a continuous part of the process. Testing your designs tests your assumptions and lets you make quick course corrections.