I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. I really like Shunryu Suzuki's writing, dont get me wrong, but as a beginners book I don't see enough nuts and bolts stuff in any of his books. For Rinzai Zen I would choose Zen Training by Omori Sogen. On the soto side i'd go with Opening the Hand of Thought by Uchiyama. For the Harada-Yasutani line (in which I practice) I would go with The 3 Pillars of Zen, Philip Kapleau.
Alan Watts introduced alot of people to (quasi) zen noodling and scholarship, but as Watts was never a zen practicioner I would never recommend his writing to anyone interested in starting a zen practice.
just my 2 or 3 cents
I agree Shunryu Suzuki is not for begginers. It may be that this is the first zen book a majority of people read but the first time i read it i didnt feel that i understood zen any better than before i picked it up. Once one has got a good grasp on what the zen tradition is about then one can return to Suzukis books.