I highly recommend reading a book. I used PHP for Dummies, which I thought was excellent.
Really, the best thing to do is to read a book and then get your hands dirty trying it out and writing some scripts and asking for help and listening when it doesn't work. The people on this forum are GREAT for PHP help.
read a book and practice and keep practicing....
I learned from the official PHP manual at PHP.net. Nobody but the creators can make anything more concise unless the language is an ANSI standard. PHP is not. Java is not.
i learn php from a small seminar then i try to din e-books and w3schools.com plus ive visited forums and classes..
I learn php from a lessons in my language. And mainly from practise. I dont know it fully wel, but I'm learning. MySQL was a lot easy for me. I just read the MySQL manual and start creating and importing tables.
I learned from the Hudzilla book that was previously linked.
I think that when you are very first starting out, it helps to follow an organized book that will teach you the basics of the programming language - data types, built in functions, database functionality, etc. I spent a week or two just reading through the book and experimenting with the test scripts.
After I had a basic handle on the language, I graduated to bigger and better things. I don't like learning from pre-made scripts. I think that there's too much to sort through with too little return. Instead, I set a goal for myself (such as creating a user login system), attempt to write it, and refer to tutorials and the forum here when I have trouble. At this point, php.net is also a great resource because it will point you to built in functions and uses that you might not have read about your original book (since there is too much to cover everything).
But in the end, it comes down to writing your own stuff. Learn by doing, no other way.