Sunday, March 1, 2015

Books read to date in 2015

One of the advantages of a good commute is having the chance to get some good reading done.  I've taken a different tact the last few months in my technical reading in that I'm choosing books that I hope I'll enjoy.  For the most part, its been a good experience.  Here's what I've managed to get through so far this year:

The Cuckoo's Egg by Cliff Stoll.  This has been the only 'reread' for me so far this year.  If you're in IT, you might this this book and enjoyable read.  Cliff recounts his adventures back in the late 1980's chasing a hacker internationally on the ethernet through university, military, and other government networks and computers.  If you consider yourself a geek and you haven't read this book, you really should.

The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford.  The team leads at my current contract recommended I read this book.  It's marketed as 'A novel about IT, DevOps, and helping your business win.'  I enjoyed this book (and probably most people do) because it was easy to associate characters in the book with real people I've worked with.  On top of that, the problems the characters confront in their business are taken from 'last month' in many IT shops around the world.  Readers can relate to this book.  In some ways, I could say I've lived this book about 8 years ago, and I'm trying to help implement those solutions again where ever I end up working.

Social Engineering in IT Security by Sharon Conheady.  I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would have.  Sharon doesn't only give a great overview of the tools, tactics and techniques of IT related social engineering, she also gives it a historical context and augments the 'theory' with real life experiences.

Cyber Warfare by Jeffrey Carr.  I found this book to be something of a disappointment.  Even though it was a second edition (2011) I didn't find many updates.  I believe its intended target audience is CIOs and it seemed to me that the author included more legal documents and previously published papers in this book it needed.  I seriously considered returning this book and getting my money back.

Callings by Gregg Levoy.  I really enjoyed reading this book, perhaps because I'm very interested in the topic.  Certain readers might find it a bit academic, but there are many interesting, true stories that keep the narrative engaging.  This is NOT an IT book - rather it more about 'finding and following and authentic life.'  I originally got this book from the library on a whim, but after reading it I bought a copy.  Beware - some editions of this book (like the one I got from the library) have the last 20 pages out of order.  Check the page order from 300 on before you buy your copy.