As you've now witnessed, there's more than one way to do it.
A couple weeks ago I was at a Perl Mongers meeting where someone new to Perl was in attendance. After the meeting he was looking for suggestions on how to go about the learning process. I asked "Are you reading a Perl book? Which one?" He replied that he has been working his way through the exercises in "Learning Perl." I and the three others participating in the discussion each nodded and said, "That's where I began with Perl."
Not everyone starts with Learning Perl. Obviously you can do it without, and there are other options. But it's a good book, and a good place to start. As a matter of fact, every so often I update my copy to the latest version just to see what the authors consider important "now" in an introductory book. I recommend it.