Some writers devour 'how to write' books, and some won't touch them.
Which writer are you?
As a new writer, I picked up many 'how to' books, searching for the secrets of writing. The problem was I didn't understand them, found them too complicated. I'm not sure rather I was grabbing the wrong ones, but now as I re-read them, I find them much more understandable.
Can you learn from 'how to' books?
I believe it is helpful to read what other writers think about the art of writing. You won't discover a magical blueprint. What you will find is multiple views, which you can adapt to your own writing over time.
I continue to grab how to books, and now as I read, I can relate to what the writer is sharing. I continue to pick up additional helpful hints with each new book.
What is the best way to read a how to book?
I suggest reading it from beginning to end. Use sticky markers to tab anything that seems useful. The more you write, the more the practices you find in these books will come into play. Later, you may choose to reread these books. I believe you will be surprised at how much you've actually used the knowledge without even realizing it.
Do you read 'how to' books? Do you follow from beginning to end? Do you jump around to the sections you want to read most? Book recommendations welcomed.