Here's what I think are the important things to absorb from the first week's reading.

From "A Brief History of System Administration:

   General history of Unix through to Linux, and the appearance of the Windows
   NT family of operating systems.

From ULSA "Chapter 1 -- Where to Start"

   Essential duties of a sysadmin:

    1) Accounts
    2) Planning, adding, maintaining, removing hardware
    3) Planning, adding, maintaining, removing software
    4) Backups and recovery
    5) Monitoring systems and looking for problems
    6) Troubleshooting and fixing
    7) Documentation
    8) Security, security, security
    9) Holding users' hands

   Linux distros:

    Big three families: Redhat (RPM), Debian (DEB), SuSE (RPM)

   Man pages:

    Know the "invariant" man sections: 1 user commands, 2 system calls,
    3 library calls

    Know that Linux uses 8 for administration commands, 5 for file formats,
    and 7 for extensive documentation on various topics, ranging over
    widely varying topics such as ip, tcp, udp, libc, numa, and netdevice concepts
    (do a ls /usr/share/man/man7 on a Linux box).

    Understand history of nroff and nroff -man with relation to man pages 
    (try zcat /usr/share/man/man7/uri.7.gz | nroff -man on a Linux machine)

   Finding and adding software

    Know "which", "whereis", and "locate".

    Basics of rpm query: rpm -q

    Basics of dpkg query: dpkg -l

    Package managment: know that yum/yast is for RPM, apt is for DEB

    Understand the concepts of the (wget, tar xf, ./configure, make, make install)

From ULSA "Chapter 2 -- Scripting and the Shell"

    Bash basics: pipes and redirection; variables and quoting; the major filters
    cut, sort, wc, tee, head, tail, and grep; how to structure a Bash script;
    echo; variable scope; control flow with if/while/for; comparison and file
    evaluation (-d, -f, -x, -e)

    Perl: PCRE; scalars, arrays, hashes; automatic type conversion; interpolation;
    control flow with if/while/for; CPAN basics (and "don'ts"!) 

From MWS2008R2 "Chapter 1 -- What's New with Windows Server 2008 and 2008R2"

    Powershell, server core, Hyper-V, IPv6.

From MWS2008R2 "Chapter 2 -- Installing and Upgrading to Windows Server 2008R2"

    Windows 2008R2 installation; automation of installation

From "The Evolution of the Unix Timesharing System"

    The filesystem, processes, interprocess communication (IPC), redirection.