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Jeremy Morgan for Pluralsight

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The Top 10 Books on DevOps You Need to Read

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I've been doing DevOps for a while now, and over the years I've read some books that really helped me along the way, here they are.

1. The DevOps Handbook

DevOps Books

This book is the first one most DevOps professionals start with. I've read it 3 times so far, and every time I pick up something new. It's a great start that gives a great overview of DevOps.

What you'll get from it: A good generalized knowledge of DevOps. A great place to start.

More Info: The DevOps Handbook

2. The Phoenix Project

DevOps Books

Another classic you must read. What makes this book different is the fact that's in novel form, which means after you go through the DevOps Handbook to learn the basics, this book will show the application of the theories and principles in an entertaining story form. It's much easier to digest and get through. If you read nothing else in this list these two books will give you a solid foundation.

What you'll get from it: Application of the principles you learned in the DevOps handbook.

More Info: The Phoenix Project

3. Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps

DevOps Books

This book is the result of 4 years of research by Puppet and some of the top minds of DevOps, Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim. This is a real world application of the theories and principles outlined in the previous two books.

What you'll get from it: Real world lessons from real organizations implementing DevOps.

More Info: Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps

4. Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation

DevOps Books

The names "Jez Humble" and "David Farley" will become familiar to you after a while, these are solid experts in the field and this book is some of their best work.

What you'll get from it: A solid foundation in continuous delivery and creating a great deployment pipeline.

More Info: Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation

5. Effective DevOps

DevOps Books

With O'Reilly books you can always expect quality, and this book is no exception. This covers the big picture of DevOps and provides some actionable suggestions for building up your DevOps organization. Very well written.

What you'll get from it: A well laid out structure to move your organization into DevOps, including tools, culture guidance, and case studies.

More Info: Effective DevOps

6. Measure What Matters

DevOps Books

Now matter how well you feel things are going, if you can't measure it, it doesn't matter. This book goes in depth into setting goals, measuring them, making changes and achieving them. It really hones in on the iterative process that drives DevOps.

What you'll get from it: In-depth insight into measuring and improving process flows.

More Info: Measure What Matters

7. Site Reliability Engineering

DevOps Books

This is a collection of essays from Site Reliability Engineers from Google who focus on the entire lifecycle and introduce effective patterns and principles for keeping things running fast and resilient.

What you'll get from it: Insight directly from Google into how DevOps helps their organization succeed.

More Info: Site Reliability Engineering

8. Site Reliability Workbook

DevOps Books

This is a follow up to the previous one that gives real examples and a framework to design your SRE strategy.

What you'll get from it: Real-world examples and application of everything you've learned from the handbook.

More Info: Site Reliability Engineering Workbook

9. Infrastructure as Code

DevOps Books

This is such a simple concept but one that has many nuances and principles, it takes a deep understanding to get things right.

What you'll get from it: A deep understanding of Infrastructure as Code and how you can leverage it the right way.

More Info: Infrastructure as Code

10. The Goal

DevOps Books

Want to read something that will help your modern DevOps structure that was originally written in... the 1980s? Yes, it sounds crazy, but this book is the grandfather of DevOps books and really focuses on process refinement to a microscopic degree. It's the inspiration for number two on this list and is written in the same "novel" format.

What you'll get from it: A deep understanding of process. You can use what you learn here in many processes besides DevOps, and in nearly any industry you work in.

More Info: The Goal

If you're looking to start a career in DevOps or just ramp up your skills, this is a great set of books for laying a strong foundation.

Technical knowledge is important for application, but DevOps is more than just tools, it's a culture change. By better understanding the foundations you'll be more effective in getting your organization where it needs to be.

If you're doing DevOps in Windows, you know it's a different world. I've started a Windows DevOps Section on Reddit.

Top comments (17)

cainverlinden profile image
Cain Verlinden

I personally would suggest to those who are entirely new to DevOps that they read The Phoenix Project (TPP) first because as you have said, it's a novel and can be a bit easier to digest. Also, a number of IT professionals will be able to relate and reasonate with a the issues that the Parts Unlimited IT team encounter. Then when finished with TPP, the DevOps Handbook will help concrete and firm the freshly introduced concepts from TPP.

jeremycmorgan profile image
Jeremy Morgan

I put in that order because personally I went with the DevOps handbook first and it was a little slow for me to get through all the information. Then TPP really tied it all together for me nicely, so the 2nd time I read the DevOps handbook it was a breeze.

That's the long way of saying you're probably right, someone could go with TPP first because it's more likely to keep and catch their interest better.

simbo1905 profile image
Simon Massey • Edited

Well yes, if you have seen how old IT fails then The Phoenix project book is a no-brainier. The 23 years old founder of the startup I had helped out wasn’t really best placed to learn from it.

teachingtls profile image
teachingtechleads • Edited

Do you think "The Goal" is a prerequisite for "The Phoenix Project"? I read it first and I feel like there are a lot of callbacks in TPP that would be missed if you didn't have the reference point of who Herbie was.

jeremycmorgan profile image
Jeremy Morgan

It could go either way. Honestly I haven't finished "The Goal" yet, but as I go through it I feel like it's the one I should have read first, not just because it was released first, but because it lays the foundation and yes there were a lot of callbacks like that. I feel after I read the goal I want to go back to TPP and I'm sure I'll understand it a lot better.

rayphaistos1 profile image
Raymond Karim Roberts • Edited

I am a Data Scientist, but I have read three of the books and have three of them in my amazon shopping cart before I read your list. That encourages me to continue on through and see where I find myself! Thanks.

quii profile image
Chris James • Edited

Good list. I especially like that the theme is around what DevOps actually is rather than the mistake most people make which is thinking it's about technology.(I always cringe when I hear the term "DevOps engineer")

If anyone reading this finds the number of books to read intimidating you might want to look into audio books. It's a bit more expensive but I legit looked forward to my commute when listening to the phoenix project.

jeremycmorgan profile image
Jeremy Morgan

Thank you! I agree, I have found a lot of people focus on the tools when it comes to DevOps, and I think a lot of people miss the point. DevOps isn't about just switching out tools and installing software, it's an entire shift in thinking of process.

I too went the audiobook route. Listened to a few of those on my commute, then came home to the physical books and went through highlighted and took notes. Personally it's my favorite way to really absorb something.

rajesh36923908 profile image

good list and i will prefer the first one the devops handbook for beginners as it has good information with lots of examples. DevOps Training institute in Ameerpet

sdeggans profile image
Shawn Deggans

The Goal is one of those books that changes your brain. You should check out Dr. Edwards Demming.

tvanantwerp profile image
Tom VanAntwerp

I really enjoyed The Phoenix Project, but do not read it before bed. It's too real and triggering; will definitely ruin your sleep.

quinncuatro profile image
Henry Quinn

What makes this different than every other list about DevOps books to read? I feel like every article/listicle/whatever all has the same set of books.

jeremycmorgan profile image
Jeremy Morgan • Edited

That's an excellent question, and I think the reason for that of course is most people find these books useful. I did go out and see what other lists had and saw a lot of technical stuff. I don't feel tech and tools is what DevOps is all about. No more than the right hammer is the key to building a good house.

I came up with this purely on personal experience. I've been in the DevOps space around 6 years now, and I have read every one of these books with the exception of "The Goal" (not yet finished) and I haven't gone through everything in #8. So I went into my shelf and picked out the ones that were most impactful for me and my career.

I've worked on some pretty high scale transformations and I feel these books helped me learn and be successful. I'm no "DevOps master" but I knew very little about it 6 years ago and the combination of these exact books (and experience of course) have put me where I am now.

aleon1220 profile image
Andres Leon

great list. I gotta ship them here to NZ and approach them this time from reading them pysically. Lets see.

yexaacs profile image
Yexaa Consultancy Services

Good List on devops related books. I will suggest Yexaa also good for Devops Job Support

jorotenev profile image
Georgi Tenev

Great list! :) I'd add Release It!: Design and Deploy Production-Ready Software to it too.