The Humble Hacker’s Book Bundle


Once again, No Starch Press has teamed up with Humble Bundle to offer an incredible selection of computing e-books at a ridiculously low price. And this time the bundle covers one of the most relevant and exciting technology areas -- hacking! And, to be frank, the Humble Hacker’s Book Bundle -- available until May 11th -- includes some of the best security/hacking books available today. 

If you don’t know how these bundles work, allow me to explain briefly. The Humble Bundles (most of which provide groups of innovative games that you download to your system to play) allow you to pay some small amount and then download the bundle’s components. If you pay a little more, you get more components and, if more than the average price (or a somewhat higher price), even more components. You will see something like this when you go to the Humble Bundle site and look into one of its offerings.

bundle 02

And you can slide your contribution distribution around or enter the amounts on the right side of this tool:

bundle 04

Not bad, huh? The prices will vary for bundles, but they are all pretty amazing deals.

Each bundle is generally available for a few weeks and a good portion of the proceeds support some particular charity. This is no small deal from a charity perspective. Humble Bundle has raised more than $71 million dollars to date for various charities around the globe.

When you find a bundle you just have to have, you get to choose how much of your purchase price goes to the developers, whether any of it is put into a tip jar, and how much is donated to the charity associated with the particular Bundle. The Humble Hacker’s Book Bundle is helping to support the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) – an organization that you probably recognize for its efforts to defend civil liberties online. 

The list of books available in this bundle include:

  • Automate the Boring Stuff with Python
  • The Linux Command Line
  • Hacking the Xbox
  • The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy

These books will get you started with an impressive set of extremely useful skills.

Pay more than the average and you’ll also get:

  • Silence on the Wire
  • A Bug Hunter’s Diary
  • Designing BSD Rootkits
  • Bitcoin for the Befuddled

At this point, you will have sunk more deeply into the art of hacking.

Pay more than $15 and you’ll also get these:

  • Hacking 2nd Edition: The Art of Exploitation
  • Practical Malware Analysis
  • Python Crash Course
  • Black Hat Python
  • The Maker's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

By this time, you’ll be quite steeped in hacking skill and wisdom.

And, yes, you really get to choose in what directions your funds go. So you’ll be supporting a worthy cause at the same time you fill your e-library with some excellent and timely books. Your choice, your split. This is just an example.


And did I mention that this particular bundle provides some of the best hacking, programming, and security books available today? All from No Starch Press and valued (based on the price of the paperbacks) at over $350. And, while I haven’t read even half of these books, from my experience with the publisher, No Starch Press books are exceptionally approachable, practical, a tad quirky and full of useful examples and insights.

Will these books prepare you to be a security expert? Well, when I consider the variety of skills that allow an individual to become an adept hacker (or security professional who knows enough to defend against hackers), I think about …

  • Knowing how to program, understanding code
  • Being able to set up a system with open source tools and use them effectively – in particular, a Linux system because so many hacking/security tools are built to run on Linux
  • Knowing how to get a lot of work done on the command line – using advanced command line skills
  • Scripting
  • Knowing how to test and debug programs
  • Understanding networking infrastructure
  • Knowing how the web works
  • Effectively using sniffers and protocol analyzers
  • Working with databases of various types (i.e., possessing SQL skills)
  • Understanding digital forensics
  • Being comfortable with cryptography – and knowing its strengths and weaknesses
  • Reverse engineering – knowing what it is and how it works
  • Understanding basic privacy and security technologies

Along with a good amount of patience and persistence, these skills make the difference between just knowing a few hacking tricks and really understanding how security works and how it breaks.

Given the skills listed above, the books included in this bundle provide the kind of skills and insights you need to become an expert in this field -- the Linux command line, scripting, malware analysis, debugging, rootkits, passive reconnaissance, privacy -- even a book on how bitcoin works. I'm excited. In my estimation, this bundle contains some of the best ever hacking/security books. Some I already own. The rest? Well, I’m about to download them.

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