Top 5 Cybersecurity Books

  1. Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime — from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door by Brian Krebs
  2. Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon by Kim Zetter
  3. Worm: The First Digital World War by Mark Bowden
  4. Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War Fred Kaplan
  5. Bytes, Bombs, and Spies: The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations by Herbert Lin (Editor), Amy B. Zegart (Editor)

I can’t speak to how good all these books are but I follow Brian Krebs on LinkedIn and I think he is worth following. I will be reading all of these! I have read and written a review for Kim’s books here.

I’m currently reading The Hacker and The State by Ben Buchanan and I’m really enjoying it!

Who is Josephine Wolf?

Book Review: Confident Cyber Security

Confident Cyber Security: How to Get Started in Cyber Security and Futureproof Your Career by Jessica Barker

The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. Jessica Barker is the co-CEO of Cygenta and a leader in cybersecurity awareness who is very active on social media.
  2. The book acts as a primer for those interested in cyber security but don’t have a foundation in it.
  3. I think the sub-title is misleading as the book spends 95% of its content teaching the basics of cyber security, which isn’t bad in itself, but it doesn’t go deep on ‘how to get started in cyber security and futureproof your career’.


As I said in point 3 above, the book spent all its content educating on the basics of cyber and did not dive deep into getting into the field or futureproofing your career in cyber. This is all contained in 1 chapter second to last in the book. This is not a bad book, but it doesn’t accomplish the goal on the cover. I was looking for something deeper about securing a future in a cyber career.

Who Should Read It?

Anyone interested in cybersecurity that does not already have a foundation in it. Those with a basic understanding will find, like me, 90% of the book covers the basics they already know.

How the Book Changed Me

I wouldn’t say this book had a huge impact on me. I got a couple of book and website recommendations and further solidified my cyber security understanding. Other than that, I learned maybe to abandon a book a little earlier in the future.

Book Review: The Art of Invisibility

The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data by Kevin D. Mitnick

The Art of Invisibility: The World’s Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data by Kevin D. Mitnick

The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. Kevin Mitnick is a famous hacker, who teaches you how to reduce your attack surface in this book.
  2. Any privacy you think you have is false.
  3. While some of this information is dated, the book was published in 2017, it still has a lot of useful information.


While I knew most of what was covered in this book, I did still find the content interesting. The little stories that Mitnick shares throughout the book were very interesting. Also, the length that one has to go to remain anonymous in our digital world, even back in 2017 is pretty crazy. I don’t believe that many American’s understand the amount of their privacy they are giving up by maintaining their current lifestyle, including participating in social media and using technology. Mostly, we have given up data about us, what we do online, by using tools like google, gmail, cellular phones, etc.

Who Should Read It?

While I think that this book is overkill for most, as most people don’t think that what they are doing is giving up their data. They believe as Mitnick points out that no one cares about what they are doing because they are just one of the 8 billion people on the planet. Hacker’s are going to over after the low-hanging fruit. They will not only attack large companies, data shows that they are attacking SMBs and individuals. Everyone should be aware, but this book is going to scare people and I believe that most people don’t have the skill set to execute Mitnick’s advise, even the minor things.

How the Book Changed Me

  • It made me more aware of existing privacy concerns.
  • I plan to implement some of the suggestions that Mitnick discusses to protect myself and my family.

Book Review | Countdown to Zero Day

Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon
by Kim Zetter

The Book in Three Sentences

  1. The first cyber war attack by the US targeting centrifuges in Iran.
  2. This was the first attack, but it is seen as only the beginning and shows that many systems all over the world are in danger of being exploited.
  3. Real physical destruction can be caused by a malicious computer code.


This book is not the first cyber security book I’ve read. The story telling was done well, if a little long winded, like many non-fiction books I think this book could have been condensed further. At times it read as though the author was trying to make an article into a book, but at 400 plus pages, I think there was too much repetitive content. Nonetheless, this was an interesting book and covers a pivotal part of cyber history. Stuxnet is mentioned and discussed in many of the virtual training classes I have been taking in the last few months.

Who Should Read It

I think there are two categories of people who would be interested in this book. One being history people. I fit in this category as well. This was such a pivotal part of how technology is changing modern warfare that it can’t be ignored.

The second group that will be interested in this book are those with an interest in computers especially information security folks. This is the first virus designed specifically to target a very niche device. It was purposely written to attack, just that device to accomplish political goals.

My Takeaways

  • It made me aware that governments can leverage malicious code to attack each other, minimizing human loss
  • I learned that governments is keeping zero days to themselves in order to carry out attacks against their enemies

Books about cybercrime

A guardian article was recently published covering the top 10 cybercrime books. What they didn’t do is rank them with any third-party data. Below I’m putting those 10 books plus another with their goodreads rankings (0-5 being the best), to help me, and maybe you, choose the right book to start reading first.

The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security by Kevin Mitnick3.76
People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd3.37
The Blue Nowhere by Jeffery Deaver
I read this years ago and it is still one of my favorite books!
Impostor Syndrome by Kathy Wang3.29
Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon by Kim Zetter
This is nonfiction and has over 6,000 reviews on goodreads. It looks like a great place to start.
Manipulated: Inside the Cyberwar to Hijack Elections and Distort the Truth by Theresa Payton3.91
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow3.93
Digital Fortress by Dan Brown3.68
DarkMarket: How Hackers Became the New Mafia by Misha Glenny3.78
Zoo City by Lauren Beukes3.63
Inside Jobs: Why Insider Risk Is the Biggest Cyber Threat You Can’t Ignore by Joe Payne, Jadee Hanson, Mark Wojtasiak3.88

Exciting New February Releases

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam M. Grant

Book Synopsis: Why do we refresh our wardrobes every year, renovate our kitchens every decade, but never update our beliefs and our views? Why do we laugh at people using computers that are ten years old, but yet still cling to opinions we formed ten years ago?

This book sounds equal parts minimalist and environmentalism. Right up my alley and I’m excited to read it when it publishes on February 2. Also, it’s from the author of Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates

Book Synopsis: Bill Gates shares what he’s learned in more than a decade of studying climate change and investing in innovations to address the problems, and sets out a vision for how the world can build the tools it needs to get to zero greenhouse gas emissions.

I may be in the minority here as I know that he created a monopoly with Windows but I like Bill Gates. I think he and his wife are truly giving back a lot of their wealth and time to try to make things better for people all over the world. In this book, I hope to gain some insight into how he thinks we can beat this thing. It releases, February 16, 2021.

Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert

Book synopsis: In Under a White Sky, Elizabeth Kolbert takes a hard look at the new world we are creating. Along the way, she meets biologists who are trying to preserve the world’s rarest fish, which lives in a single tiny pool in the middle of the Mojave; engineers who are turning carbon emissions to stone in Iceland; Australian researchers who are trying to develop a super coral that can survive on a hotter globe; and physicists who are contemplating shooting tiny diamonds into the stratosphere to cool the earth.

Publishing February 9, Elizabeth Kolbert wrote The Sixth Extinction. Even though, I’m not sure I loved that book, it is wildly popular and I heard her speak on Bill Gates podcast, so I want to give this new book a chance.

Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age by Annalee Newitz

Book Synopsis: In Four Lost Cities, acclaimed science journalist Annalee Newitz takes readers on an entertaining and mind-bending adventure into the deep history of urban life. Investigating across the centuries and around the world, Newitz explores the rise and fall of four ancient cities, each the center of a sophisticated civilization: the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, the Roman vacation town of Pompeii on Italy’s southern coast, the medieval megacity of Angkor in Cambodia, and the indigenous metropolis Cahokia, which stood beside the Mississippi River where East St. Louis is today.

Another book coming out on February 2, this one looks to be a lighter read, but still with an important message. I like lost city stories like Atlantis (I know fictional) and I’m looking forward to see how Annalee helps these cities of the past come alive and tell us the story of why they disappeared.

A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet

Book synopsis: Contemptuous of their parents, who pass their days in a stupor of liquor, drugs, and sex, the children feel neglected and suffocated at the same time. When a destructive storm descends on the summer estate, the group’s ringleaders—including Eve, who narrates the story—decide to run away, leading the younger ones on a dangerous foray into the apocalyptic chaos outside.

This one came out last year but still sounds very interesting to me. It’s the only thing on this list that is fiction, but it is a powerful story. The Sierra Club calls this one out as a Must-Read. That’s a strong endorsement.

The Great Purge

Goodreads site

I had around 730 books on my to-read shelf on Goodreads. Even if I read 50 books a year that’s over 14 years before I get through that list. I have been on Goodreads since 2007, that’s also 14 years. and I have read 726 books. I’ve been adding books for 14 years, but I don’t think I’ve ever done an audit of all the 700+ books on my to-read and I can’t remember why I added some that have been there for over 13 years.

So in the last few years, I have gotten better at writing notes in Goodreads as to why I added certain books, then when I come back later I can see if that reason is still enough to keep the book on my list given that I will probably have added even more books. But again, I hadn’t reviewed the list.

Now that we are up-to-speed, I’ve started to review them over the last few weeks. It’s hard. I’m afraid to take anything off my list because I assume that I had a good reason to add them in the past. Why do I think that past me is smarter than present me? So, I have to be brutal in the culling.

How I’m going about it. When I come to a book on the list…

  • If I don’t immediately know that I love the book and can’t wait to read it
  • I look to see if there are any notes on the book from myself or better yet a recommendation
  • If no recommendation then I look to see if anyone I follow has done a review
  • Lastly, I read the book description
  • If after reading the description I’m still on the fence then I look at some of the reviews

Reading the reviews is hard because everyone is so different. Many people don’t just randomly pick a book and start reading. They have an interest in the topic a reason for picking up the book in the first place, so you have to take that into account. Plus, those that write reviews are invested in the book enough to create a review.

I usually review every book, more for myself than for other readers to see if they should read the book or not, I look at it as a history or journal of what I’m reading. But we can assume that not everyone is like me and that those writing a review have strong feelings one way or the other. So you tend to get people that hated it or loved it not too much in between.

I’m still making my way through all 730ish books on my to-read, but so far I’ve already taken off 100. It’s going to take a while and I can’t be in a rush or somethings will be dropped because I’m in too much of a hurry to complete the task. I could also keep things I shouldn’t because I’m rushing.

I’m thinking this is something I should really do yearly as well. Since many times my interest ebb and flow. I may lose interest in a topic and don’t want to invest the time in a book that is on a subject that no longer interests me.

Reading More

Books, Books, Books and more Books“Books, Books, Books and more Books” by Chiot’s Run is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

8 Ways to Read (a Lot) More Books This Year is a must-read article for any bibliophile. Neil Pasricha wrote this article back in 2017, and everything in it still pertains to today. I really like a lot of the content on Harvard Business Review (HBR) and this article is no different. If you are like me you like reading about reading. It’s meta I know. Book geeks are deep man!

If you are a reader you won’t hesitate to read the article. Even though HBR has a paygate the first two are free a month, so you can read this one free! Just incase you already used your 2 freebies this month, here are some highlights.

  • Centralize Reading in Your Home – Basically, make it easy to read, keep them close, and reduce other distractions, like social media and television.
  • Make a public commitment – Like posting your challenge on GoodReads, I know, I know that’s social media, but its book geek social media so everything in moderation right?
  • Book Lists! – I love a good book list and Goodreads is full of them, but if you need more I would recommend: The New Lifetime Reading Plan, Book Lust, and More Book Lust.
  • Change Your Mindset about Quitting – No one is going to call you a quitter! Give a book a few chapters and if you don’t like it, pass it on. Slogging through a book is the quickest way to get you off reading for the rest of the year if not longer.
  • Take a break from magazines and newspapers and fill that time with reading books.
  • Churn Rate – Keep the books moving on the shelf, don’t leave the same ones on there all the time. Make changes to what is on the shelf, so you stop and look instead of passing the bookshelf again for the thousandth time.
  • A little adds up – Just because you can’t sit down with an hour of uninterrupted time and your favorite drink, doesn’t mean you don’t have time yo read. Take it short spurts if you need to. Read a little here and a little there. Something is better than nothing and all these little reading spurts will add up to books completed.
  • Change up your medium, this one is not in Neil’s article, but I listen to audiobooks, read on a kindle, and read print books. I like to read print books when the lighting is good in the daytime and I switch to the Kindle at night and don’t worry about if I’m near a lamp, as the device is backlit, this would work with an iPad too. Lastly, audiobooks help a great deal. When I’m out for a walk or during my daily commute I listen to audiobooks.