Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pay what you want - Humble Book Bundle - Hacking

I am from the US. I find buying a car stressful. I have to negotiate, I am used to having the price posted, accepting or rejecting that price, and paying that price or abandoning the shiny object.

People from other cultures are used to negotiating, they expect it. But what about the business model where you name your price? Today, I received an email from No Starch:

San Francisco, CA (April 27, 2016)—No Starch Press, arguably the most widely respected publisher of books for hackers, teams up with Humble Bundle to offer a pay-what-you-want collection of ebooks called the Humble Book Bundle: Hacking. The bundle includes a selection of the company's finest—such as worldwide best seller Hacking: The Art of Exploitation; classics like Hacking the Xbox; and more recent best sellers like Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, Black Hat Python, and Practical Malware Analysis. This bundle is a true bargain—valued at over US $350—and with Humble Bundle's pay-what-you-want model, customers can pay whatever price they think is fair.

That is quite a deal I have read and reviewed Black Hat Python, in fact it is at my desktop within arm's reach. I have read Hacking: The Art of Exploitation, nice book. I am not sure what Xbox is, *grin* so that is a pass. I think I will buy Automate the Boring Stuff, or maybe they will let me review it . . . that is how I was trained.

I own the Smart girl's guide and have read it. It is OK, covers the basics, targeted not at security people, but teenage girls. But Violet Blue is some sort of porn writer and I am not sure what the secondary effects of giving a young girl this book would be. That is probably another study in perception management.

Some of these are own my shelf. Silence on the Wire is probably at least ten years old now, but if you can check it out from your local library or company bookshelf, the points he makes are very valid even if the technology has changed. Python Crash Course is a way to get your career on track. You can't be fully successful in cybersecurity if you don't know the basics of Python.

"Many people call themselves hackers, but few have the strong technical foundation needed to really push the envelope," says Bill Pollock, founder of No Starch Press. "True hackers never stop learning, never stop pushing boundaries. Our core mission is to produce the books that hackers really want and need, and we're not pulling any punches here. We've included several of our best sellers to make this bundle right for just about anyone."

So the bottom line. Some great books. I do not know how the name your price campaign will be received, but I would love to hear your comments.

Stephen Northcutt is an advisor for the SANS Technology Institute, a cyber-security graduate school and chair of the upcoming SANS Boston 2016, August 1 - 6 where he will be teaching MGT 512, Security Leadership Essentials.

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