Reading List

This is an unordered list of reading. A combination of books, articles, and other places that have stuff worth reading.


This is current a work in progress, if you have suggestions send them to the list – (information here)



The Phoenix Project The Phoenix Project is a great introductory book into how to start tackling problems we see everyday by relating them to a fictional company – also a conveniently short read. The story starts with an IT group familiar to many of us, who needs to get the next major release of software out without failing, otherwise the business will outsource all of IT. The cast of characters is too familiar – overly cautious and involved security admin, firefighting changes in production, the jack-of-all-trades know it all that’s always too busy,an overly aggressive marketing manager, executives with no appreciation for IT, and the services and change management organization everyone loathes and ignores. Through the help of outside guidance, the VP of IT is show the way of automation workloads, optimizing IT like a manufacturing environment, and process changes around change control and integration with development. The story is about a way to understand DevOps, Continuous Integration, Kan Ban, and Lean IT without ever directly defining it or implying definitions or specific technologies. It’s a good book to start in the process of “getting it”, even if some of the changes are a bit idealistic (like a season security VP changing his perspective literally overnight). Amazon
Visible Ops Handbook With many of the same authors as The Phoenix Project, the book reads very similar though it is more directed at changing operations to work with ITIL processes. It’s more explicit in what problem is being solved, and how to fix it. At 112 pages (mostly introduction and appendices), it’s a single plane flight read. It focuses around change control and how DevOps plays into ITIL. Not great, but another quick introductory read. Amazon
In Search of Certainty In Search of Certainty by Mark Burgess is a long and thorough book explaining, often in academic terms, how to create a system that scales and can create dependable policy. Mark created CFEngine, one of the largest configuration management tools in production, and he’s got some interesting things to say about the theory of complexity. If you’ve heard the comparison between Declarative and Imperative programming or policy, this is a walk through exactly why Declarative is the only sane choice. Knowing the realities of technology – things will change, things break, and every assumed step in a process has exceptions and ways to fail, how do you create a system that reliably handles these changes? This is a long read at 447 dense pages. Not for the faint of heart or faint of science. Amazon
Essential System Administration, 3rd Edition, O’Reilly The definitive O’Reilly text on Linux and UNIX system administration. There is a new edition in the works, so keep an eye out for it. The progressive writing style of this book will take you through things from the bottom up. (Courtesy Jonathan Rogers) Amazon
UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, 4th Edition, Prentice Hall This book is both an excellent reference and a great learning tool. In addition to discussing practical topics, it also discusses the work of a system administrator in general and best practices. One of the other things I love about this book is that any time there is a material difference between different versions of Linux/UNIX in how you do something, the book outlines how to do it on each platform, from Linux to HP-UX to AIX to Solaris.(Courtesy Jonathan Rogers) Amazon
UNIX Power Tools, 3rd Edition, O’Reilly This book is not as linear and focuses more on specific topics. It’s a great reference with lots of tips and tricks from the Linux/UNIX masters at O’Reilly. (Courtesy Jonathan Rogers) Amazon
LPI Linux Certification in a Nutshell, O’Reilly Although this is intended as a reference for passing the LPIC-101/102 tests (also known as Linux+ by CompTIA; the tests are identical), it works out as a very handy small reference book you can keep in your bag. It’s organized by topic and easy to use. (Courtesy Jonathan Rogers) Amazon