Wow talk about a polarized audience. I read some reviews on Amazon and its either a miracle or child abuse. I can see this whole parenting thing is going to be a very personal experience for us.
Before my daughter was born, my wife and I read several parenting books, including On Becoming Baby Wise
that Serpentelli mentioned. We also read some of Dr. Sears' books, which in many aspects are polar opposites to the methods described in On Becoming Babywise.
While I can't say that we didn't learn anything from these books, newborns don't come with step-by-step instructions. I think that good parenting comes from the heart and the use of a lot of common sense. Every baby is different and things don't always go the way you expect, or the way you read about in a book.
A lot of the books talk about what to do and what not
to do when he/she cries, but they don't mention the fact that you will develop a sense of why your baby is crying, be it a dirty diaper, hunger, tired, or whatever. I can't explain it, you just know. There's just certain things that you can't learn from a book, you learn them from the on the job training.
I have a different perspective on this than most fathers because when our first was born I became a stay-at-home dad while mom worked. I was nervous as hell at first, but as time went on, it got much easier.
Another thing that I'd like to mention is: From the beginning, talk to your baby normally and don't use baby talk like "goo goo" and "ga ga". At first, they don't have a clue what you're saying, but they are listening and they will learn more than you realize. I remember being in Walmart and there was this mother talking baby talk to her son, who appeared to be about 2 years old. The kid talked complete nonsense back to her. Both of my kids were talking in complete sentences at a very early age.