I don't remember how I discovered genetic algorithms. At some point, I got a copy of David Goldberg's book, Genetic Algorithms in Search, Optimization, and Machine Learning. It was a great book, and I had a lot of fun writing my own GA package in C (the code in the book was written in Pascal).
Goldberg's next book, The Design of Innovation is even better. The discussion of how to make GAs a principled engineering approach to solving problems, rather than a black box with too many knobs and levers, really energized my interest.
So now I'm learning the ECJ system using Eclipse. With the help of some nice YouTube tutorials on setting up ECJ with Eclipse, I'm off to the races!