What I think should be on your book shelf.

Recently a Professor asked me what 5 fiction books someone new to Information Assurance should read to get a feel for the Cybersecurity industry.

That got me thinking. What should someone in Cybersecurity have on their books shelf?

Time Management for System Administrators – Tom Limoncelli

This book teaches time management tricks and techniques to System Admins. However don’t hold that against the book. Published in 2005, this is the number one book I recommend anyone in any IT related field reads. While it’s a little dated in some of the technology, the methods Mr. Limoncelli teaches are worth it. It is probably the number one book I recommend to everyone.

While there are other books out there that people like, like Get Things Done, or home brewed systems, this is the one I found that resonated with me. It’s more than just managing your time at work, it covers how to manage your work life balance. Sometimes people ask me how I do as much as I do. This book is secret.

It’s Not All About Me: The Top  Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone – Robin Dreeke

One thing I’ve seen again, and again, in our industry. People lack social skills. We get along fine amongst ourselves, but dealing with non-technical people we get a little short. Mr. Dreeke isn’t a technical person. He’s a counter terrorism expert for the FBI. What this book is, is his top ten techniques to talk to anyone. While this book has been popular in the Social Engineering circles of our industry, it’s one of those books that everyone should be reading, just to learn how to interact. Using these techniques will leave one feeling more fulfilled, and surprised at the doors that get opened.

On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction – William Zinsser

While some people have problems accepting it, our industry is moving away from letting our code and technical skills talking for us. Like the book above about talking, this is one of the go to books for writing. The book is designed to improve the writing skills of anyone working through it, regardless of how good a writer the person is to start with. In an industry where writing is becoming more important in our Reports and even text communication, we need to find something to step up our writing skills. I like this one.

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win – Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford

Reading this book, made me stop several times and try to figure out which of authors I worked with previously. Then I realized, we’re all fighting the same battle. Our biggest roadblock is ourselves. We have large egos, and see everything from a technical standpoint. There is a problem, it’s technical, or the solution is. However we lose sight of the fact, we only have our jobs because of the business side of the house. While the story in this novel follows someone tossed in to the role of VP, some of the topics covered in the book will improve anyone in IT’s relationship to the business.

Rework – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

This book is written by the people at 37 signals. It really does give the reader a 21st century view of business, and how to be successful. My whiteboard at work has a quote from the book on it, it’s about 7 one line bits, but content from this book is over the top useful. It covers the basics of everything a Company, Department, or team would need to be successful and how.

Little Brother – Cory Doctorow 

Mr. Doctorow’s Young Adult novel about a teen and his desire to strike back at a corrupt government that became very draconian, after a bombing in his home town. While some of the things mentioned in the book don’t exist, a lot of the tech, and the descriptions of how to use it were. This book reminds the reader that it only takes one person with determination to start an army and strike back at Big Brother.

Homeland – Corry Doctorow

The follow up to Little Brother.

Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson

Classic style cyberpunk. It has everything. The VR world, the dystopian future, double crossing conspiracies, corporation owned walled cites. This book gives us an idea of using a computer program to reprogram peoples brains along with quite a few other things.

Daemon – Daniel Suarez and Freedom(TM) – Daniel Suarez

These two books are one larger story, a software developer creates an AI, and using his gaming engines recreates society in the real world. The Darknet is how those in the new society communicate and interact. It’s currency is a lot like the Bit Coin trend we see going on now, The Governments of the World and Big Business don’t like the way things are going. Really this shows a lot of Geek Culture and where it could go as things like Maker Spaces and others come on line. The technology helps form the way.

The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage – Cliff Stoll

While this one reads like a fantasy novel, it’s pretty much where Cybersecurity started. While there were other people doing similar work this one shows the things they had to go through to get it all started. Setting up a paging system to contact the admin when a user logged, so the admin wouldn’t have to sleep at the office. Creating packet capture devices using printers. Working with the Government and private industry to track a phone call to another country, and having to create “interesting” data to keep the attacker on the line long enough to perform said trace.

* Note, all the links do go to Amazon, no I don’t have an affiliate program set up. It was just convenient.

Agree, Disagree, or want to add a few you think we have, add them to the comments.