Better than googling; code examples are not page-turners,
This review is from: MasteringPHP 4.1 (Paperback)
Scenario: I'm an experienced programmer and I'd tinkered with PHP a little bit but needed to get going on a serious project. Fast.
This book was the answer. It covers all the essential ground in a well structured way. Don't be fooled by the word "Mastering..." in the title. The author is not too frightened to give you another grounding in the basic principles behind web architectures - but he does it in such fluid fashion you won't get frustrated.
This book will teach you great conventions and techniques to ensure you program effectively and give you a firm foundation on which to build robust, extensible projects. The chapters: "Forms and User Interaction" and "Data Validation" are excellent.
Reading this book will incur a slight hit to your productivity. That's because the example projects are so illuminating that you'll just have to put the book down and try them out yourself. Within a few hours you'll have twenty-odd scripts open on your screen. That's pretty rare in a programming book. I usually rate them based on the brevity of the examples rather than vice-versa.
Prior to picking up this book I'd been looking up the answers to my queries using my faithful old search engine. Now I rely on this book almost exclusively. There's no crud to wade through. This book provides the answers to your questions and knits them together in a solid fabric of clear explanations, real world examples, and good style.
I think programmers of nearly every level would find this book useful.