I also understand your concern with the All-Clad handle especially on the 10" pan. At least once a week I use it to roast coffee beans. The way I do that involves shaking the pan constantly and tossing the beans every 10 seconds for nine to ten minutes. That put a little strain on my wrist in the beginning but I've gotten used to it.
Although I would prefer a more ergonomic handle, I wouldn't trade the pan for any other I know of.
Jock gave you good advice. If you decide to follow it, while you're at the book store, I suggest you consider buying a broadly comprehensive book that doesn't require a lot of prior knowledge. I strongly recommend either "Joy of Cooking" or "How to Cook Everything." You'll find either of these helpful right away and equally useful when you're making recommendations to your own college age kids.