Yes, many do, I think. Some do for sure.
Specifically, is it wack or is it good?
If it wasn't wack it wouldn't be any good.
am I wasting my time?
Yes, definitely—but in a cosmic sense. So you might as well have fun with it. If tarot sounds like fun give it a go.
is the Rider Waite deck a good place to start?
I would go Thoth, but I think Crowley had style.
Any good book recommendations?
Neuromancer by William Gibson. Although this is a good book, it's not a relevant recommendation. I do have one of those, but it would give away too much. I'm sure you can find it, though.
Should I take a course?
Yes. But not on tarot. Unless you want to.See you, space cowboy.