Best Linux Books - For Different Target Groups and Use Cases

Best Linux Books – For Different Target Groups and Use Cases

This article will go through the best Linux books for all the different target groups and use cases.

Best Linux Books – Quick Overview

Here’s a quick comparison table of the best Linux books:

BookCostLatest ReleaseForThemes
The Linux Command LinePaidMarch 7, 2019BeginnersCommands, CLI, bash
How Linux WorksPaidApril 19, 2021BeginnersBoot loaders, kernels, drivers, networking
Linux Basics for HackersPaidDecember 4, 2018AdvancedNetworking, hacking, security, scripting, Kali Linux
Linux CookbookPaidSeptember 7, 2021Beginners/intermediateNetworking, command-line, GUI, security
Linux BiblePaidJune 10, 2020Beginners/expertsBasics, automation, shell scripting
CompTIA Linux+ Study GuidePaidAugust 2, 2022ProfessionalsLinux+ exam
Linux Pocket GuidePaidJuly 19, 2016BeginnersCommands, CLI, bash
Linux All-in-One For DummiesPaidJuly 11, 2018BeginnersInstallation, desktops, networking, administration, security, scripting, certifications
Linux for BeginnersPaidJanuary 2, 2014BeginnersGetting started, servers, CLI, distros
Linux System ProgrammingPaidJune 18, 2013AdvancedLinux kernel, C library
Practical Linux ForensicsPaidDecember 21, 2021AdvancedDigital forensics and investigation
Learning Modern LinuxPaidMay 24, 2022AdvancedLinux cloud, kernel, terminal, networking, VMs
Linux From ScratchFreeSeptember 1, 2022AdvancedBuilding a Linux distro from scratch
Command Line Kung FuPaidApril 17, 2014BeginnersCommands, CLI, bash
Linux FUNdamentalsFreeOctober 3, 2021BeginnersFundamentals of Linux
UNIX and Linux System Administration HandbookPaidJuly 9, 2010IntermediateUnix and Linux system administration
Efficient Linux at the Command LinePaidMarch 29, 2022IntermediateCommands, CLI, bash

If you want to learn more about each book in detail, scroll down.

Humble Bundle often has bundles of Linux books for as cheap as €1. The bundles are often on a different topic, but chances are, if you are looking for Linux books, they have a great bundle for cheap.

Why read a book about Linux?

Before buying a book, you might wonder “why even read a book about Linux”? Reading a book is one of the most popular ways of learning Linux. There are some advantages to learning Linux through a book, like:

  • Everything is usually in-depth. Tutorials online are generally short and straight to the point, but books dig deep into the subject matter and explain everything you need to know, starting from the basics all the way to the advanced techniques and methods. That’s why books are often recommended for beginners. Technically, you can also learn everything from random articles online that dig deep into a subject, but a book is more organized, focused, and has the same theme and tone throughout, whereas articles and tutorials may each be different and not as well organized.
  • Learning Linux from a (physical) book forces you to rewrite/retype every command line and code. This is a good technique to learn and remember something better. If you’d follow an online tutorial (or even an eBook for that matter), you’d just copy and paste the command line or code. If you used a physical book, you’ll be forced to rewrite/retype everything, making everything easier to remember and understand.
  • Books are usually peer-reviewed, professionally edited, and proofread. Most online tutorials are not. Mistakes and grammar errors always happen, and small mistakes in commands and code also always happen. Chances are, in an online random tutorial, all those might go unnoticed by the publishers, but a book always has fewer chances of having an error or a mistake.

I understand that this is a generalization about online tutorials and books. There are advantages to online tutorials and eBooks, like having an easy search function and being short and straight to the point (if you need it). Some books also may be (or become) outdated, depending on the topic they cover. In a perfect world, you should use everything that’s at your disposal, including physical books, eBooks, online tutorials, videos, courses, etc.

Now let’s get to the main part of the article, the best, top-rated books about Linux:

The Linux Command Line – Best for CLI beginners

the linux commandline book

If you’re a beginner to the command-line interface (CLI) or Linux in general, this is a perfect book for you. It will teach you the basics, and complex tasks like writing bash scripts. You’ll learn everything you need to know about the CLI/terminal.

  • Available in: eBook, Hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: 504
  • Latest edition release date: 2nd edition (March 7, 2019)
  • Targeted to: beginners
  • Themes/topics: command-line interface, bash
  • Author: William Shotts
  • Publisher: ‎ No Starch Press

Get the book on Amazon

How Linux Works – Best for beginners that want to become a superuser

how linux works

This popular Linux book targeted at beginners teaches you about boot loaders, kernels, drivers, networking, firewalls, servers, development tools, shell scripts, and more.

  • Available in: eBook, Hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: 464
  • Latest edition release date: 3rd edition (April 19, 2021)
  • Targeted to: beginners
  • Themes/topics: boot loaders, kernels, drivers, networking, and more superuser topics
  • Author: Brian Ward
  • Publisher: ‎ No Starch Press

Get the book on Amazon

Linux Basics for Hackers – Best for advanced users

linux basics for hackers

This Linux book focuses on security, networking, scripting, and Kali Linux. It’s a perfect book for users that want to get into security and want to learn more about Kali. It’s a great starting point for hackers.

  • Available in: eBook, Hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: 248
  • Latest edition release date: December 4, 2018
  • Targeted to: advanced users
  • Themes/topics: networking, security, scripting, Kali Linux
  • Author: OccupyTheWeb
  • Publisher: No Starch Press

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Linux Cookbook – Best for beginners that want to become sysadmins

linux cookbook

This book by Carla Schroder teaches you the essentials of Linux, focusing on both graphical and command-line tools. You’ll learn about systemd, firewalld, network connections, rescue nonbooting systems, manage GRUB, how to build a router with Raspberry Pi, and more.

  • Available in: eBook, Hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: ‎ 544
  • Latest edition release date: 2nd edition (September 7, 2021)
  • Targeted to: beginners/intermediate
  • Themes/topics: networking, command-line, GUI, security, and more
  • Author: Carla Schroder
  • Publisher: O’Reilly Media

Get the book on Amazon

Linux Bible – Best for beginners or experts wanting to stay current

linux bible

This is one of the most popular books about Linux. It has detailed guides and tutorials on how to use Linux and all its basics, along with how to use new technologies and updates. This makes it a perfect fit for beginners and experts that want to stay current with new technologies and tools, like AWS, Ansible, GCE, and more.

  • Available in: eBook, Hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: 928
  • Latest edition release date: 10th edition (June 10, 2020)
  • Targeted to: beginners/experts
  • Themes/topics: basics, automation, shell scripting, and more
  • Author: Christopher Negus
  • Publisher: Wiley

Get the book on Amazon

CompTIA Linux+ Study Guide – Best for professionals taking the Linux+ Exam XK0-005

linux+ study guide

If you’re planning on taking the CompTIA Linux+ exam, this is the perfect book for you. It goes into detail about everything you need to know to pass the Linux+ exam. You’ll learn about system management, scripting, security, automation, containers, and more

  • Available in: eBook, Hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: 992
  • Latest edition release date: 5th edition (August 2, 2022)
  • Targeted to: professionals
  • Themes/topics: Linux+ exam (Linux system management and more)
  • Author: Richard Blum and Christine Bresnahan
  • Publisher: ‎ Sybex

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Linux Pocket Guide – Best for CLI beginners

linux pocket guide

Another alternative and popular book for CLI beginners – Linux Pocket Guide will teach you about all the essential commands you need to know for Linux.

  • Available in: eBook, Hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: 266
  • Latest edition release date: 3rd edition (July 19, 2016)
  • Targeted to: beginners
  • Themes/topics: commands
  • Author: Daniel Barrett
  • Publisher: O’Reilly Media

Get the book on Amazon

Linux All-in-One For Dummies – Best for beginners

linux for dummies

This book For Dummies is a great book for beginners that split into 8 “mini-books” covering different categories of Linux: Getting Started with Linux, Linux Desktops, Networking, The Internet, Administration, Security, Scripting, Linux Certification

  • Available in: eBook, Hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: 560
  • Latest edition release date: 6th edition (July 11, 2018)
  • Targeted to: beginners
  • Themes/topics: installation, desktops, networking, administration, security, scripting, certifications
  • Author: Emmett Dulaney
  • Publisher: For Dummies

Get the book on Amazon

Linux for Beginners – Best for beginners

linux for beginners

A popular Linux book that digs deep into the Linux OS and how to use it. How to use Linux for servers, CLI, distros, text editors, and more. It’s one of the most popular Linux books on Amazon.

  • Available in: eBook, Hard copy, Audiobook
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: 202
  • Latest edition release date: 1st edition (January 2, 2014)
  • Targeted to: beginners
  • Themes/topics: getting started, servers, CLI, distros, and more
  • Author: Jason Cannon
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Get the book on Amazon

Linux System Programming – Best for advanced users

linux system programming

A Linux book that will teach you about the kernel and C library. You’ll learn about I/O operations, system calls, advanced process management, thread concepts, and more. It’s written by a Linux kernel contributor.

  • Available in: eBook, Hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: ‎ 456
  • Latest edition release date: Second edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Targeted to: advanced users
  • Themes/topics: Linux kernel, C library
  • Author: Robert Love
  • Publisher: O’Reilly Media

Get the book on Amazon

Practical Linux Forensics – Best for advanced users

practical linux forensics

A perfect book for people that want to get into digital forensics on Linux. You’ll learn how to extract evidence from storage devices and logs, perform various analyses, examine software, trace peripheral devices, reconstruct login sessions, and more.

  • Available in: eBook, Hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: 400
  • Latest edition release date: December 21, 2021
  • Targeted to: advanced users
  • Themes/topics: digital forensics and investigation
  • Author: Bruce Nikkel
  • Publisher: No Starch Press

Get the book on Amazon

Learning Modern Linux – best for advanced users

learning modern linux

A book targeted to intermediate/advanced users that want to learn more about the Linux Cloud. If you are a developer, software engineer, or any DevOps role, this book is a perfect fit for you. You’ll learn how to use Linux in a work environment, learn about the kernel, terminal, access control, networking, VMs, and more.

  • Available in: eBook, Hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: 258
  • Latest edition release date: 1st edition (May 24, 2022)
  • Targeted to: advanced users
  • Themes/topics: Linux cloud, kernel, terminal, networking, VMs
  • Author: Michael Hausenblas
  • Publisher: O’Reilly Media

Get the book on Amazon

Linux From Scratch – best for advanced users

linux from scratch

Linux From Scratch (LFS) is a project of several books (the main one being Linux From Scratch) that guide you through creating your own Linux distro, step-by-step. You’ll build out everything from scratch, from source, and learn everything about Linux, in detail, through creating your own distro. The book is free and it’s available in several formats from their official website.

  • Available in: eBook
  • Cost: Free
  • Number of pages: 362
  • Latest edition release date: Version 11.2 (September 1, 2022)
  • Targeted to: advanced users
  • Themes/topics: building a Linux distro from scratch
  • Author: Gerard Beekmans (and others)
  • Publisher: LinuxFromScratch

Get the book on LinuxFromScratch.org

Command Line Kung Fu – best for CLI beginners

command line kung fu

If you are a beginner to bash and the command line, this book will teach you about the CLI in detail. Learn about bash scripting, tips and tricks, bash one-liner commands, and more.

  • Available in: eBook, hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: 124
  • Latest edition release date: April 17, 2014
  • Targeted to: beginner CLI users
  • Themes/topics: bash (command-line interface)
  • Author: Jason Cannon
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Get the book on Amazon

Linux FUNdamentals – best for beginners

Linux FUNdamentals is a free book by Paul Cobbaut that (as the title explains) teaches you the fundamentals of Linux. It goes into detail about every part of Linux you need to know. This book (along with other books by the same author) is available for free at Linux-Training.be

  • Available in: eBook
  • Cost: Free
  • Number of pages: 700
  • Latest edition release date: October 3, 2021
  • Targeted to: beginners
  • Themes/topics: the fundamentals of Linux
  • Author: Paul Cobbaut
  • Publisher: Linux-Training.be

Get the book on Linux-Training.be

UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook  – best for intermediate users

unix and linux sysadmin

This is one of the most comprehensive and detailed books about Linux. It teaches you everything you need to know about system administration on Linux. Targeted towards professionals or beginners that want to become Linux sysadmins. It has ‎ 1279 pages that dig deep into Unix and Linux system administration.

  • Available in: eBook, hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: 1279
  • Latest edition release date: 4th edition (July 9, 2010)
  • Targeted to: intermediate users
  • Themes/topics: Unix and Linux system administration
  • Author: Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Trent R. Hein, Ben Whaley, Terry Morreale
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall

Get the book on Amazon

Efficient Linux at the Command Line – best for CLI intermediate users

efficient linux at the CLI

If you’re already familiar with the command line and want to perfect your CLI skills, this is the perfect book for you. This book will teach you how to work faster and be more efficient in the Linux CLI.

  • Available in: eBook, hard copy
  • Cost: Paid
  • Number of pages: 245
  • Latest edition release date: March 29, 2022
  • Targeted to: intermediate CLI users
  • Themes/topics: commands (CLI)
  • Author: Daniel J. Barrett
  • Publisher: O’Reilly Media

Get the book on Amazon

Best Linux eBook readers

Most of the books featured in this article are available as an eBook. If you’re using a Linux distro, you’ll probably need an eBook reader. Here are some recommendations of the best eBook readers for Linux, without going into details or specifics:

Check these out and choose the one that meets your needs the most. There are more options available – but these 8 eBook readers are considered the best.

What Linux Books would you recommend?

Have you read a book about Linux? Anything to recommend? Leave a comment below.

Where to Learn Linux

If you’re new to Linux or if you just want to learn more about Linux and improve your professional skills, you might […]

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