Cover of Hackers:
		     Crime in the Digital
		     Sublime   Review

When I first heard of this book, I thought it sounded interesting and said "Sounds like it is pretty light reading while still being interesting."

Yeah, Right.

While the book is interesting, it is anything but "light reading". Light reading does not include footnotes and an extensive bibliography. It quotes a variety of sources and includes some of the big names in the computer security industry.

First, I should note that this book makes a cursory attempt to talk about the meaning of the word "hacker", includes multiple references to Richard Stallman, it sticks mainly with the anti-authoritarian aspects of the word and generally relies on the "computer cracker" connotation of the word. This book sets out to present both the hacker's and the "Security Industry's" point of view and compare how they talk about each other.

The most telling quote, I think, comes right at the beginning of the book:

A young Missourian cooly psycoanalyzed the opposition. 'They're overdependent on things they don't understand. They've surrendered their lives to computers.'

One thing this did for me was help me to understand why I don't like cars: I don't understand them. I can't hack them.

More than that, though, it had me nodding my head in agreement. This, I thought, is why people are so hostile towards computers. They've given up understanding the machines, so anyone who pursues understanding them is someone they fear.

This same train of thought is found in another quote in the conclusion of the book:

Top Management may regard the long-haired hackers as lunatics, but the lunatics can put the business in a straitjacket.

There is the distance, the feeling that the hacker is weird if not a little mentally unstable. In the same way, someone more in tune with the hacker mindset (like myself) sees management (or "mangle-ment" as they are often called) as money-grubbing power-mongers who don't have a clue what they are doing.

Ultimately, this book nicely contrasts the current "establishment" with the underground culture of the hackers. Even if the author didn't dwell on the segment of hackers involved in security, the story would be much the same. For example, the Free Software hackers versus the proprietary software vendors illustrates the same sort of contrast.

The book is well written, timely, and a good read. Recommended.