Professional Photoshop by Dan Marqulis.
I read this over 10 years ago but there is a new updated version out - I still use the stuff I learned on a daily basis. Among other things, the book goes into great depth about the intricacies of using the Curves panel to produce results that you wouldn't believe, turning a horrible image into something that looks amazing. An absolutely authoritative book on colour, image analysis and correction. Absolutely invaluable for anyone that works with colour in print or on screen. I must get a new copy!
Just eyeball it. I asked a colorists working on a davinci system in atlanta how he became one, he said he learned as he went. Theres only so much you can do with color aside from getting into masks and only affecting certain colors/areas.
Steve Hullfish's color correction books are good. But if Mark Christiansen's book is causing problems for you, then I don't know how much you'd like the Hullfish books.
Is the issue, perhaps, that you just aren't comfortable with the basics of After Effects yet? Mark's book isn't for beginners; it's meant for intermediate and advanced users of After Effects. If you're just starting, then the best book is The After Effects Apprentice. There's a link to some free excerpts from that (as well as many other free resources for getting started) here: