Recommended Books

 

While I believe that for today’s busy sysadmin, dynamic online resources are a better source of up-to-date information, there are certain books that have a general and timeless quality that quickly reward the reader. These books are an invaluable addition to your desktop (the physical piece of furniture, that is) and may never go out of date, which isn’t something you can often say in this field.

My brief reviews are here, and just as a disclaimer, if you purchase these books via these links I’ll get a small commission from the Amazon Affiliate program. Which would be nice.

The Practice of System and Network Administration “The Practice of System and Network Administration” is simply the best text I’ve ever read on what I do for a living. It’s general enough to be used by Linux, Windows, Backup or Network administrators, but detailed enough to be a virtual How-To manual on managing and maintaining an IT infrastructure.

This is one of these books that if I’d owned it and read it ten years ago, I have no doubt that my career would be far beyond where it is now. Any time spent studying or even browsing this book will be time extremely well spent.

In the Beginning was the Command Line “In the Beginning was the Command Line” is something you’d never so much as hope that you’d see published – a polemic in favour of the power of the command line, and a philosophical analysis of the powerful metaphor that an interactive text interface provides. Neal Stephenson is the author of some great cyberpunk and science fiction novels, such as “Snow Crash” and “Cryptonomicon”, and in turning his hand to non-fiction he goes off on some inspiring rants, including one where he likens MacOS to an expensive to maintain sportscar and Linux to an owner-customised tank.
Time Management for System Administrators “Time Management for System Administrators” is not just a great book to read, it’s a great book to be seen reading. I used to go to a lot of time-consuming and irrelevant software development meetings and used to leaf through this book during them in order to passive-aggressively make a point. It recognises that System Administration has a workflow that presents unusual problems in managing time, and outlines some very useful strategies in managing these.
Linux Server Hacks, Volume 1 I’ve had a lot of good times reading “Linux Server Hacks”. The best way to learn something you don’t understand is with a really really interesting example, and this book is full of them. Every page shows another great little project that if you try it, your life as a sysadmin will become better.

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