Bobby Fischer was the best, and the worst, of players. His lasting impact on the chess world is truly immeasurable. Let's enjoy chess! It's not necessary to act like a jackass -- be a good sport and become buddies with other chess players (like Boris Spassky did). You win some, you lose some, you draw some -- your rating does not matter because it will change like the weather if you're active. Allow yourself to enjoy playing, roll w/the punches (respect your opponents -- they know what they're doing too) and don't let the outcome dictate your mood all week.
Beginners must study the pulverizing games of Paul Morphy first. Don't disregard Giachino Greco either. How great could Pillsbury have been? Perhaps the gentleman Carl Schlechter is one of the most underrated old masters. Maybe Wilhelm Steinitz is underrated by history, for many great masters followed shortly after his teachings. It's amazing how well Lasker was able to play into old age. How unfortunate that Capablanca did not get a rematch with Alekhine, and that Alekhine could not stay sober. The most grueling, high-level, evenly-matched world championship battle was Kasparov-Karpov. The great Korchnoi could not touch Kasparov. Did computers taint Kasparov's legacy, or was it Kramnik's Berlin Defense?
I am grateful for the written contributions of Bill Wall and Raymond Keene, among so many others. Horowitz, Lasker, Fine, Minev and C.J.S. Purdy are some of my favorite writers of the past. I prefer Tarrasch over Nimzowitsch; both have their place. Richard Reti (or Max Euwe) is a must read. Lev Albert, Dan Heisman, Gary Lane, Neil McDonald, Cyrus Lakdawala, Tim Taylor, Sam Collins, Jon Watson and John Nunn are some of my favorite contemporary writers. There are many excellent chess writers not mentioned here.
Do not be duped by the Amazon.com special. So many students are publishing their school term papers w/a fancy title, calling it a chess book (that does not live up to the title) and putting it up for sale! This definitely falls under the category of "never judge a book by it's cover!" So much of this stuff is not worthy of being called a book -- it's just slick marketing. Always look at the qualifications/expertise of the author, editor and publisher before making a purchase. I must also say that I'm suspicious of those companies that require a book to be exactly 144 pages in length. It makes me wonder what nuggets of knowledge were left out. Yet, a 144 page book properly written and edited from a reputable chess publishing company is 10X better than the Amazon.com special.