Last week a friend at work handed me a book to check out. It was called Stealing the Network. Boy did I enjoy it. It's basically a collection of 'fictional' hacker/security consultant stories. The stories cover the whole gammit of hacking, from social engineering to deconstructing worms, to stealing a 0-day exploit. I found it super interesting.
In their stories, the authors go into detail with the kinds of tools they use. Netcat, Snort, John the Ripper, and Ethereal all make an appearance, as well as many others. It's interesting to compare the list of tools used in this book with the list at sectools.org.
I'd highly recommend the book if you're familiar with any of these tools or have an interest in secure networks.