Recommended Reading

If you’re not a bona-fide security expert, and you’re involved in drafting homeland security policy, designing security procedures, or implementing security at any level, you should read this book.

It doesn’t cover specific issues and methods in detail (other than as examples).  But it gives a very good overview of the concepts and trade-offs involved in security, with real-world examples to help understand the concepts in real-world terms.

Note: Some in the military and intel communities dispute some of the terminology Schneier uses (which may be a valid criticism, since Schneier uses definitions common in computer security, but applies them to non-computer security); but even those who disagree with his use of terminology rate the book highly.

My one suggestion: The many examples are useful to clarify concepts and ideas you don’t understand, but once you “get it” (or if you already understand it), they get in the way.  So keep a highlighter handy to mark the key concepts – it makes it much easier to go back and review the book later.  (At some point I may publish a “Cliff’s Notes” version that just lays out the concepts without the examples).

A fairly comprehensive review of both the modern history of terrorist acts and groups, and the main issues, approaches, and responses to terrorism today.  Although aimed primarily at students and novices to the field of terrorism and counterterrorism, there are some valuable resources in the book for experienced readers as well.

The information content is extensive, and the case studies are an excellent resource for novices and experienced readers alike (even the index is a useful reference).

This book is highly packed with information, and the high volume of information may be challenging to absorb in a single reading; I encourage you to keep a highlighter handy and be prepared and willing to re-read sections as needed.

Suggestions to add?  Please leave a comment.


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