It doesn't take a lot of effort to learn the basics of good dog ownership. Here's three books that I think cover the bases of how to establish a good relationship with your dog, understanding your dog (and yourself, too), and to train your dog. If these are on your shelf, and you make a moderate effort to put them into practice, you've got your bases covered.
"How to be the Leader of the Pack" by Patricial McConnel
Super cheap and short. Teaches you how to have your dog's respect without resorting to force.
The Other End of the Leash
Also by Patricia McConnell. Also not really a training manual, but a fantastic book on how people and dogs' instincts both clash and work together. It's a great read, and just understanding so much of why both we and dogs act the way we do will make you a better dog owner.
The Power of Positive Dog Training, by Pat Miller
This is a training book, and probably the best there is at both being accessible by newcomers and also being comprehensive. It's not short (~250 pages), but it's broken into easy to manage sections (training, chewing, housetraining, problem behaviors, etc), and provides a great week-by-week basic obedience syllabus for your puppy that covers all the important commands plus some fun tricks.