la mothe books a fantastic. ive got both of them. 2nd one is extremely advanced and definately not for the newbies out there. First one is very good for an introduction to the area of games programming. I used the first one in a few demos which ultimately lead to my job here at sega (well that an my ai msc :) ).
Frank luna’s book is also a good source of information and the structure is quite manageable. Books to stay away from include Beginning Direct3d by wolfgang engel. Its poorly written and reads like the docs with directx samples.
If i was going for one id go with la mothe. As for them being outta date, the same techniques still apply. Only difference is he used direct 7\8, which has a few differences to dx 9, but combine that with luna’s book and your set. La mothe second book is really dx independent because he’s teaching you to write a 3d api from scratch..
As for having to know dx or opengl for a games job thats a bonus but you do have to know these if your not interested in a graphics job. ai and networking require you know these areas really well. Although to do any games job you do need to at the very least know how to blit some debug text to the screen or set up a vertex buffer etc :).