On the acquisition of skills.
The way to self-sufficient living will inevitably require you to have certain skills, that you either already have, or like most of us will develop over time. So apart from living a lifestyle that makes you resilient in certain disaster scenarios you can also see it as a journey where you learn a lot of new things on the way.
To some extent learning new skills nowadays has been made far easier by the internet. There are heaps of very good blogs and forums that will give you a lot of knowledge for free. Also, with streaming services like YouTube you now can watch people do a certain task and explain it from anywhere. With nearly all skills that we try to learn nowadays we eventually end up watching a few video tutorials about it. So, while books still have their place, it is not strictly necessary anymore to build yourself a huge library.
Find the right sources
So generally speaking, you can acquire a lot of valuable information for free. Sadly, not all of it is good information. A lot will either be wrong or lacking essential details, especially among disputed topics. So, what you will need to be able to successfully research a new skillset in the internet is critical thinking. And you will not get around to working through multiple sources. Try to find and establish a common ground. Furthermore think for yourself what you think sounds reasonable and what does not. Apply common sense. Later on, you will get a better feeling for which sources to trust and which ones to better ignore.
Also, a lot of the information will likely come from the US or Europe. Therefore certain key aspects like units of measure or seasons might be off. Certain bugs that exist there will not be a thing here and vice versa.
Another drawback of relying on the internet for valuable information is that it is dependent on the availability of Electricity. If keeping prepared for a prolonged power outage is a thing for you, you will not get around to having books about the most important topics at home.
A good source of information that I want to mention here is the survival library. It contains a ton of mostly older eBooks on a multitude of topics such as gardening, but also emergency preparation. And its all for free! Definitely worth a look! I think it makes sense to print out or at least download the stuff that you like to keep, and not rely on the availability of the website in the future.
Now theoretical knowledge is just one side of the coin. Even with the best of preparation expect to make a lot of mistakes. Its just the way it is. Even after nearly 10 years of working as a mechanical engineering professional I still make mistakes (and more than I would care to admit) and so does everybody else. Accept the fact that the process of achieving a decent skill level of anything can be a long process.
Sometimes you meet people that claim they will simply “start gardening” or “go hunting” when disaster strikes. They very likely will not do to well in a situation like that. They probably just read a book or watched a YouTube videos while sitting on the couch next to the fire, but could not be bothered getting their hands dirty.
If you truly want to learn a new skill you will eventually have to do it on your own, but somebody showing you “how its done” is a very good way of accelerating your progress. It thus makes sense to try and build up your network. For things like gardening or beekeeping local clubs can be a very good way of meeting like minded people. Often clubs will offer training lessons or bulk purchases for discounted prices. However they can also consume a lot of time.
To give you two real life examples I learnt how to keep bees from a few very good YouTube channels, which showed me all the necessary steps that have to be done to successfully keep bees. I also read all the books that I could find during that learning period. Only after I had had bees for over a year, I also joined a local club to just get a bigger network of people. My Partner did look up on how to gut a deer on YouTube as well and the first time she did it, it took her a very long time but we ended up carrying a lot of very nicely processed meat out of the bush.