A good friend/co-worker recently turned 30. In preparation for his birthday party I gave some thought to my 30th birthday and the things I now know or have an idea about and what I wish I had known at that point in my life.
I decided to buy him a few books that had impacted my life since my 30th birthday and that I wish I had know or read earlier in life.
I'll split the post into two parts; computer books and life/metaphysical books.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. A more exhaustive list can be found here (recently updated).
He already had The Web Application Hacker's Handbook but had he not I would have purchased a copy for him. There are lots of Web Hacking books but WAHH is probably the best and most comprehensive one.
The other books I did purchase were The Phoenix Project and Zero to One.
The Phoenix Project is absolutely one of the best tech books I've read in the last few years. Working for Silicon Valley companies I think it can be easy to take for granted the whole idea of DevOps and the power it brings when you can do infrastructure as code, micro services, and the flexibility DevOps can bring to prototyping and developing code and projects. There is also the "security guy" in the story that serves as the guy we never want to be but sometimes end up being unbeknownst to us.
The running joke is that Zero to One is in the Hipster starter kit but I thought it was a great book. The quick summary is that Peter Thiel describes businesses that iterate on a known problem and can be successful and there are businesses that create solutions to problems we didn't know we had. Examples of the latter being companies like Google, Facebook, PayPal, Uber. It's a short book and should be required reading for anyone thinking of starting a business.
The following is life stuff, so if all you care about is tech shit, feel free to eject at this point.
1st, Many Lives Many Masters by Brian Weiss A nice gentle introduction into the idea that we reincarnate and our eternal souls. Written by a psychiatrist who more or less stumbled into the fact that people have past lives while doing normal psychiatry work.
"As a traditional psychotherapist, Dr. Brian Weiss was astonished and skeptical when one of his patients began recalling past-life traumas that seemed to hold the key to her recurring nightmares and anxiety attacks. His skepticism was eroded, however, when she began to channel messages from the “space between lives,” which contained remarkable revelations about Dr. Weiss’ family and his dead son. Using past-life therapy, he was able to cure the patient and embark on a new, more meaningful phase of his own career."
2nd, A New Earth by Eckert Tolle This is the best book i read in 2016 and I've been sharing it with everyone I can. Everyone in infosec should read this book to understand the way the ego works in our day to day lives.
In A New Earth, Tolle expands on these powerful ideas to show how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world. Tolle describes how our attachment to the ego creates the dysfunction that leads to anger, jealousy, and unhappiness, and shows readers how to awaken to a new state of consciousness and follow the path to a truly fulfilling existence.
3rd, Self Observation by Red Hawk. The practical application guide if you got something from A New Earth. An instruction manual around self-observation.
"This book is an in-depth examination of the much needed process of 'self'-study known as self observation. We live in an age where the "attention function" in the brain has been badly damaged by TV and computers - up to 90 percent of the public under age 35 suffers from attention-deficit disorder! This book offers the most direct, non-pharmaceutical means of healing attention dysfunction. The methods presented here are capable of restoring attention to a fully functional and powerful tool for success in life and relationships. This is also an age when humanity has lost its connection with conscience. When humanity has poisoned the Earth's atmosphere, water, air and soil, when cancer is in epidemic proportions and is mainly an environmental illness, the author asks: What is the root cause? And he boldly answers: failure to develop conscience! Self-observation, he asserts, is the most ancient, scientific, and proven means to develop this crucial inner guide to awakening and a moral life. This book is for the lay-reader, both the beginner and the advanced student of self observation. No other book on the market examines this practice in such detail. There are hundreds of books on self-help and meditation, but almost none on self-study via self observation, and none with the depth of analysis, wealth of explication, and richness of experience which this book offers."
Rich Dad Poor Dad, I talked about this in 2013: http://carnal0wnage.attackresearch.com/2013/12/best-non-technical-book-i-read-this-year.html