Did you know that Microsoft TechNet has very comprehensive books on planning, architecting and deploying SharePoint? I can not recommend reading these books strongly enough if you plan on working on the back end of a SharePoint installation, even on a development environment.
For 2007, I recommend starting with “Getting started with Office SharePoint 2007”, then “Planning and architecture for Office SharePoint Server Part 1” and Part 2, then “Deployment for Office SharePoint Server 2007.”
I’ve read those 4 2007 books many times and highly recommend them. All 4 are available with other great resources under the SharePoint 2007 topic “Downloadable books”. They were required reading for the Microsoft Certified Master in SharePoint 2007.
The TechNet Downloadable books for 2010 are filling in, too. I haven’t read those yet, but I imagine these versions are just as important and helpful. Keep in mind that the Microsoft Documentation Team is constantly adding to and improving these books. What you see in one downloadable book today for 2010 will surely be changed a bit when you download it again in a couple months before your next deployment.