thanks for tips on the CIA book I didn't realize they had a pastry book too, I'm a big fan of their "savory" textbook, but was starting to think that it was their baking book too - glad to hear it's not (cause it's of course lacking).
Just going to throw out the idea of the "On Baking" book out of the On Cooking series which the non-CIA schools often use as textbooks too. having said that my first pastry chef instructor (CIA trained) gave us mostly different recipes because several just don't work =p Having said that, having the On Baking book has given me insane freedom for experimenting and having solutions where no others seemed to exist. it also is a real stickler in using percentages so it's real easy to scale with.
(on the tomas keller tip: is Bouchon a good book for pastry? the way french laundry is fer savory?)
agreed on the physical dexterity being an important aspect - just sayin, watch a real pastry show off a little (a simple roll, or throwing around foccacia like it's their beer coaster) and you'll understand quickly about the dexterity thing. (muscle memory ftw)