What do you think is the most efficient way to get an better understanding of general UX apart from just reading a lot books & blogs?
I would say that a very efficient way is to learn by studying examples. Check books or blogs for lists of websites that have great UX and then dissect those websites.
ux.stackexchange has good UX in my opinion. You could start by dissecting this site. Right a concrete list of the components that demonstrate good UX and then do more research on the particular components you want to know more about.
For example, you could analyse their reward system. Those bronze, gold, and silver achievements make it fun for users and also align with the business goals of the website
User Experience is based on users, from personal experience I have gone to the people to ask them what needs to be refined to provide a better user experience. This can be conducted through testing and surveys. The Nielsen Norman Group is also a great resource dealing with UX research.