Ron Jeffries wrote:
> 
> What should I have read to know this?

Dave and Andy's wonderful book for starters ;)

  These patterns are called greedy, because by
  default they will match as much of the string
  as they can. You can alter this behavior, and
  have them match the minimum, by adding a
  question mark suffix.

       --from the "Standard Types" chapter

--
Bil