I have a friend who is interested in starting a side business where she would freelance websites. I have recommended for her Wordpress as probably the best choice where she could most quickly start making useful, customized websites for clients.
While I have done a decent amount with Wordpress I am not really plugged into that community so I don't know what the go-to learning tools are. From personal experience I know that reading the wrong thing can be worse than reading nothing at all and I simply don't know what the community-accepted recommendations are. What websites/screencasts/books are the must-haves for a complete novice who is trying to get started with the platform?
I would like to point out that she is not so interested in using it as a blogging platform so much as a simple CMS and site-builder that will allow her to build custom websites so the question is more: what are the best resources for a complete programming novice to learn Wordpress theme development?
PS, if you feel like Wordpress is not appropriate for this either please let me know and I'll change my recommendation.