50 Most Influential Security Book List

The most influential security book list for professionals in the industry that are a must-read from the Security Degree Hub.

1. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

This ancient handbook still sets the standard for all defensive personnel. This historical Chinese manual embodies the original conceptualization of warfare, and it defines the parameters for violent engagement between hostile parties. The thirteen tenets of warfare encapsulated within Sun Tzu’s work cover every philosophical angle of combat. The lessons specifically pertain to conduct between military forces, but the basic principles can be microcosmically applied to any individual security officer. This is the single most influential book in the realm of defensive ideation, and it has been the dominant rulebook in Asia for over two millennia.

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The concepts contained within the book are intrinsically diverse, but the end result is a succinctly comprehensive analysis. Ultimately, the guide comprises a successfully fine-tuned methodology for all security operations. This ancient Chinese wisdom is shockingly adaptable for personal use in the current era. The text covers basic protocols that anyone needs to plan for a hostile encounter. Strategies are provided in riveting detail, and the information has retained relevance in modern culture. Tactics are included for energy conservation, troop organization and deception of the enemy. At its core, the book also teaches important adages about the prosperous nature of diffusing a battle through non-violent outreach.

2. The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence by Gavin de Becker

The author of this incisive exposé portrays trends in societal violence with gritty realism to promote an understanding of human psychological impulses. This publication has received critical acclaim since its release in 1997. It demonstrates the statistical inevitability of violent crime, and instructs readers on how to avoid escalating potentially hostile interactions. A primary goal of the non-fiction work is to point out general indicators of a propensity towards violence. These warning flags include false comradery, excessive charm, unsolicited assistance, unrequested promises, denial of rejection and a tendency to overly inundate with unnecessary details. By identifying these exhibited characteristics in advance, security workers can address threats before they have the chance to develop. This book warrants a cause for alarm, but provides the solace of reassurance through highly effective defensive maneuvers.

3. Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Japanese samurai were some of the noblest warriors in history. This 17th-century manifesto codifies the rituals that define the zenith of battlefield achievement; however, the specific lessons are presented with a spiritual basis that transcends its own time. It is an immensely popular piece of literature that continues to influence security procedures around the world. The edict glorifies the role of skilled combatants in a feudalistic age, but the samurai saga is riddled with inspirational advice that can be applied to any lone ranger security personnel.

Beyond its focus on the moral rules of a fighter, the text encapsulates a cognitive acceptance of one’s own preeminence. The self-awareness of death is considered a primary tool for warriors by Tsunetomo, who was a distinguished samurai that bolstered his legacy with the release of these profound dialogues. Self-sacrifice is considered a chief virtue within this context because it signifies the preservation of a greater purpose. By lacking a reluctance to face death, warriors lose any inhibitions of fear that would otherwise compromise their ability to be completely committed to the battle.

4. On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace by David Grossman & Loren Christensen

Using his repertoire of military experience, Grossman captures the visceral state of the human psyche during perceptions of extreme danger. With the assistance of Christensen, who is a retired police officer, this incredibly insightful book was published. The text delves into the complexity of deadly force. The publication definitively establishes the fundamental role of a security officer. Collectively, the thesis posits that these individual workers use their presence to ensure societal safety; according to the authors, this defines them as modern warriors. With more detail than any other researcher could muster on the topic, this thrilling study starkly carves out the innate place in culture that protection workers occupy.

5. On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Dave Grossman

Grossman wrote this book almost a decade prior to his aforementioned collaborative effort, but this piece laid the groundwork for such advanced documentation. Because it explores the moral quandaries behind using deadly force in the line of duty, this work is a necessary companion to read alongside the previous entry on this list. The cognitive reflexes surrounding fatal attacks are thoroughly explored in this well-researched novel, and the dilemma is tackled without any heavy-handedness. In fact, it is the stunning realism of the text that has allowed it to be especially pervasive among security workers. The dilemma is presented with an understanding of the true impact death can have, and the author willingly explores scientific evidence of an instinctual drive to kill in the face of danger. All evidence is presented in an objective fashion, but the material is stunningly compelling in its factuality.

6. The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders & Deceivers by Kevin D. Mitnick

Undeniably, security operations have recently transitioned into the realm of online infrastructure. The cyber realm presents new challenges that require an overhauled approach to be quelled. Mitnick’s piece defines the core values of online security, which forms an encompassing overview of threats in the virtual field. Espionage no longer requires a physical presence, and even professionals that do not specialize in computer systems need to protect their own electronic data to avoid a compromised mission. This book provides basic steps to protect vital information online. There are also several anecdotal tidbits on how to conduct useful hacking options. Overall, the writing shows that the masses are subjected to social engineering campaigns that subtly override their own points of view. This allows them to be unwitting agents for negative social movements.

7. The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi

Although it originally started circulating in 1645, this guidebook is still exceptionally popular in today’s world. Musashi’s epic contains instructional methods for learning swordplay that rival modern techniques; however, the true value of this series is found in its Zen roots. The overview defines the essential layout for proper martial arts instruction. Using the metaphor of a functioning household, this archaic literature became the backbone of Eastern self-defense methodologies for centuries. Although some of the language is presented with lofty riddles, this manual has earned a permanent place in any security officer’s library. This is because it makes fluidly meditative conduct an accessible possibility.

8. How to Survive the Most Critical 5 Seconds of Your Life by Tim Larkin

Although the author is known for a controversial presentation style, the material he disseminates is vitally valuable for all security personnel. Larkin is a staunch advocate for the effectiveness of violence, and his books have resulted in bans on his own international traveling. This is because he is providing the public with information that they need to know. Fortunately, legal attention has only facilitated an increase in the author’s publicity. Despite his polarizing figure, Larkin manages to present sincere arguments in favor of instant assault. His name is well known among security organizations due to his brash nature.

9. Special Forces Unarmed Combat Guide by Martin Dougherty

The art of weaponless combat has finally been condensed into a single resource. This relatively recent manual simplifies the various methods available for dealing with armed opponents. Basic diagrams provide easy instruction for all students that want to work in the security profession. The book serves as a perfect reference for handling any unbalanced predicament. There is a pronounced emphasis on deflection techniques, which are exceedingly useful in defensive occupations.

10. Kill or Get Killed by Rex Applegate

This expansive guidebook is far more comprehensive than the preceding entry on this list, but it is also contains undecipherable jargon that has a tendency to disservice the layman. It has an extensive publication history, and is currently distributed as an official manual for the United States Marines. Although it was first published in 1976, the text finds itself reprinted on an annual basis for global consumption. The coded euphemisms will be no problem for informed security operators, but people new to the field will have trouble deciphering certain terms. There are riveting chapters pertaining to riot control, crowd regulation and enclosed combat. Applegate’s writing has become the gold-standard by which all current American security publications are juxtaposed. This book will never wane from its status at the forefront of defense analysis.

11. Mental Dominance by Haha Lung

Even though this book was only released in 2009, it has made serious shockwaves in the world of security operations. The presentation converts Eastern wisdom into accessible Western knowledge. Every portion of this book demonstrates that the real battle takes place in the mind. Fortunately, this territory does not have to be murky; with the assistance of this instructional literature, anyone can develop an intuitive sense of defensive matters.

12. Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence by Rory Miller

Oftentimes, self-defense training fails to accommodate the unpredictability of potential hazards. Martial arts practices can be overly geared toward competitive performance, which can cause them to lose sight of real-life applications. This book consolidates essential fighting basics with the reality of the street. Even though Miller emphasizes astute coordination to ensure the debilitation of aggressors, he never appears to lack compassion for the people involved. The statistics may be unsettling, but the information can instigate revelations within any security professional’s daily regimen.

13. Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun by Paul M. Barret

To be a successful security operator in America, one needs to have an astute awareness of the country’s gun culture. Barret’s chronology of weaponry in the United States is invaluable. The guide provides a detailed analysis of the use of firearms. The historical information provides a helpful perspective in discerning responsible gun ownership. The book ingeniously promotes the obligation of conscientious firearm awareness while simultaneously deflecting the notion of collective recklessness.

14. Shooting To Live by William E. Fairbairn

This work from a British commander was published in 1942, but it exemplifies modern American tenets. Fairbairn taught marksmanship skills to the British troops during World War II, and this guide collects his teachings in an engaging way. This title is exceedingly influential because it initiated the perception of security through guns that has become a modern trope in popular culture. This manual is concise and brutal.

15. Defensive Tactics: Modern Arrest & Control Techniques for Today’s Police Warrior by Loren W. Christensen

This book is an essential instructional utility for all prospective police officers. It teaches precise ways to safely approach potential perpetrators of violence. The guidelines are structured to avoid violations of civil rights, and the author stresses alternate non-violent scenarios every step of the way. Any security professional can greatly benefit from this detailed manifesto about initiating interactions without propagating an altercation.

16. Strong on Defense by Sanford Strong

The author’s eponymous pun in the title is not a laughing matter. This book is intensely serious. It depicts a series of threatening criminal behaviors and provides proper responses. The author emphasizes a need to constantly focus on survival instincts. These tendencies can be used to protect families from an endless litany of dangerous interactions. Synaptic response is explored in great detail, and the author explicitly explains how to hone immediate reflexes that could save lives.

17. Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin D. Mitnick

Online security is grippingly dramatic in this autobiographical account of the information era. The secrets revealed in this book are directly from the source. The damage caused by a mischievous hacker is unprecedented. This guide allows security officers to keep their operations concealed, in addition to providing aspirations for individuals in the vast field of technological security.

18. Hacking: The Art of Exploitation by Jon Erickson

The rules of engagement have been irreversibly changed by the internet. This book sums up the urgent significance of the modern hacking threat. Erickson shows how computer manipulation can be a useful defensive mechanism, but one with an unavoidable vulnerability. The flaws of standard internet coding can be maliciously manipulated to infiltrate a target’s privacy. Vital information can be instantaneously stolen, and individuals can be discretely monitored without an iota of their awareness.

19. Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly about Security in an Uncertain World by Bruce Schneier

Overcoming personal anxieties is an integral element for any professional security officer. These crippling emotions are unnecessary, which is evident as Schneier exposes the flimsily irrational foundations that support a majority of society’s fears. The author offers psychological advice to counter any nervousness readers might have about the rapidly changing planet.

20. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique by Renzo Gracie

Mixed martial arts have come to signify the epitome of self-defense. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most popular self-defense styles among American security professionals. This traditional guide to the fighting methodology sums up the dynamic range of this martial arts method. Diverse security operators can unite over the content of this publication, which can also be used to synchronize their skills.

21. Combatives for Street Survival by Kelly McCann

McCann’s fighting initiatives shy away from fanciness; instead, they deliver a straightforward annihilation. The book contains basic protocol on calming aggressors, but its most shining benefits are contained in its military principles. The author is a renowned United States Marine that wrote this book after his retirement. It contains several pieces of advice for anyone that wants to protect themselves outside. The book mandates a focus on reducing instinctual flinching. Any security professional can increase their personal sense of power by picking up a copy of this book.

22. Get Tough by William E. Fairbairn

Although he was employed by the British military, Fairbairn was an exemplary student of Asian defense tactics. His vicious fighting style is memorialized on paper through this publication. The martial arts form is blunt, but that does not stop it from being exquisitely effective. This video shows the sheer force of his training techniques.

23. Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected by Rory Miller

Miller once again uses his expertise to promote public preparedness. This handbook instills life-changing knowledge that can stave off future assaults. Security professionals apply this information to always be on guard for potential hazards. At its core, this manual does an exceptional job portraying the personal prosperity of being able to combat the unknown.

24. The Concealed Handgun Manual: How to Choose, Carry, and Shoot a Gun in Self Defense by Chris Bird

Laws for firearm possession vary by municipality, but the intention is always the same. Bird’s book describes the simplest methods to ensure complete compliance with local concealment legislation. This encompassing guide provides tips for safe storage, as well as methods for selecting the right weapon. The text teaches advanced holstering techniques that enable a quick draw for emergencies. Demand for this book has always been high, and it has been updated with six extensive re-releases. It provides a stunning analysis of the different kinds of killers everyone needs to be prepared to face.

25. Into the Kill Zone: A Cop’s Eye View of Deadly Force by David Klinger

Administering fatal justice is an unfortunate aspect associated with security work; fortunately, this guide exists to provide coping skills for instances where deadly force was necessitated. The internal operations documented by a retired policeman reveal the exact rate at which deadly encounters with cops occur. The book has startling statistics, but anyone with a security occupation should not be sheltered from the unfiltered facts.

26. Krav Maga: How to Defend Yourself Against Armed Assault by Imi Side-Or

The unique fighting style summarized in this publication is the most efficient method for unarmed fighters to disarm the arsenal of their opponents. It is an incredibly nimble martial arts methodology, and its practitioners have advanced evasion abilities. The guide provides a variety of techniques to use against different kinds of weapons. Once an opponent has been deprived of their attack object, they become severely disadvantaged to the sporadic movements of this training type. Credibility is structurally assured with this publication because the author of this book created the Israeli defense movement. Female security officers are especially adept at mastering this fierce fighting style.

27. Hand-to-Hand Combat by U.S. Naval Institute

When it comes to mobilized military forces, the only country that compares with the Israeli armies is the United States. This book essentially provides an overview of American fighting styles that have been adapted for use by trained professionals. With dedicated attention, this manual reveals the perceptual advantages that the United States Navy has gained through detailed physical awareness. The guide defines Western combat with more accuracy than any instructions that were released before it. Overall, this teaching utility provides pristine assessment abilities for anyone that needs to gauge potential threats during their time at work.

28. Warfighting by U.S. Marine Corps Staff

This publication from the United States Marines is complementary to the Navy manual is several regards. Primarily, this book expands on unarmed combat to detail the rules for exchanging fire. The previous entry on this list serves as a perfect foundation for this material, but the bulk of massive military learning can be gleamed through this individual book alone.

29. Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George Thompson

This is the best book for ending confrontations through the use of talking. The techniques can be used to diffuse hostage situations, let alone prevent a violent occurrence. Social connections can be created to avert potential disasters. Invoking a sense of mutuality will temporarily disable a hostile party, which generates time for a surefire response.

30. Cold Steel by Jim Grover

Although the content of this publication is historical in nature, it actually provides a riveting analysis of America’s combat revolution. Incrementally, militarized weaponry has evolved throughout time. This guidebook presents a snapshot of World War II battle preparedness. While the text emphasizes the obsolete bayonet, the mental tactics are still adaptable to the basic regimens of any security personnel. Furthermore, there is excellent information on knife combat in this book, including invaluable throwing techniques.

31. In the Gravest Extreme Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection by Massad Ayoob

During passionate struggles, it can be cognitively challenging to discern situations that actually constitute the application of lethal force. Ayoob forcefully dismantles arguments against defensive firearm usage. The author demonstrates a profound grasp of both sides in regards to this controversial issue. Ultimately, judgment is issued in favor of firearm possession. The conclusion is not arrived at in a light-hearted manner, but it touts significant ethical justifications that are impossible to dispute.

32. Armed Response: A Comprehensive Guide to Using Firearms for Self-Defense by David S. Kenik

According to Kenik, a firearm owner should avoid being finicky. Shakiness will only create tragic accidents. This book attempts to dispel all misconceptions about defensive gun use, and it does an astonishingly remarkable job of highlighting the weapon’s usefulness in protective scenarios. It is perhaps the most thorough guide available on the subject, and the knowledge it spreads is sure to enhance the security credentials of any employee in the field of defense. The read is extremely enlightening, especially when it provides glimpses of heroic efforts that occurred in real life.

33. Sharpening the Warrior’s Edge: The Psychology & Science of Training by Bruce K. Siddle

This book applies scientific experimentation to the art of physical training. No other author has managed to objectively understand the cognitive elements of combat. Siddle manages to compartmentalize physiological reactions, which allows the analysis to be perfectly synthesized into a textbook read. The text captures the palpable response mechanisms that are ingrained within human nature. All security professionals can breeze through this report to gleam more about how they act in the line of duty. The content of this book can help any defender hone their skills of protection.

34. Black Medicine: The Dark Art of Death by N. Mashiro

Bravery is a trait required to read this book, but the details pay off for anyone that withstands the sheer intensity. The techniques included in this document are perhaps the most dangerous of any book on this list. The intrinsic challenge of mastering this material has rendered it as a cult icon for security workers. It would be more influential if a larger amount of people were able to grasp the power, but the rigorous inaccessibility only lends to its appealing mystique. Without extrapolating on the physics behind certain motions, Mashiro demonstrates wickedly brutal combat techniques that manipulate hidden weak points in the human body. Attacks are designed to target different nerves, including sciatica. There are also gruesome instructions on how to disable an opponent by removing their eyeball. The book is just the first in a series of four increasingly violent manuals.

35. Attack Proof by John Perkins

Invincibility is no longer a myth, although the regimen it requires is exhaustingly grueling. Perkins demonstrates the steps that anyone can take to be immune to offensive attacks. The training routine is centralized on the importance of deploying chaos. This allows fighters to fluidly confuse their enemy combatants. The book’s aim is to cultivate a deeper sense of self-awareness within its readership.

36. Tactical Advantage: A Definitive Study of Personal Small-Arms Tactics by Gabriel Suarez

Suarez provides the most compelling analysis that has ever been conducted on the topic of small-arms usage. Handheld firearms comprise a majority of guns in America, but their collective utility had not been previously tracked in detail. The final product culminates in an overview of the best tactics to use in tandem with a personal firearm. These techniques are statistically supported as the safest way to neutralize any threat.

37. Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams

An understanding of physical techniques is often not enough for an individual to achieve mastery of a martial arts style. This is because the practitioners lack a proper mindset to garner the maximum utility from their fighting form. Hyams alleviates this inability by demonstrating the immense benefits of using Eastern spirituality. Zen allows for fighting styles to be fluidly aligned between mentality and physicality. In essence, this generates dramatically increased stamina and resilience.

38. Kung Fu Meditations and Chinese Proverbial Wisdom by Hua Ellen Kei

Studying the original meanings behind defensive methodology ingrains a profound understanding of the form. This collection compiles every integral bit of information about the topic, which allows it to be presented in an extremely approachable fashion. The clarity of mind that this publication espouses can be used to eliminate stress in any security occupation. The reduced anxiety will not be coupled with impairment; instead, it will be attached to an increased lucidity in consciousness.

39. Beauty Bites Beast: Awakening the Warrior Within Women and Girls by Ellen Snortland

Self-defense is not strictly limited to men. Snortland provides a fine-tuned approach for security that is specifically designed for women. This is an uplifting manifesto that motivates girls to pursue their fighting ambitions. The language of the book is spiked with attitude, and the author propels feminine issues to the forefront of national security. Every lady that wants to learn true battle skills should immediately consult this empowering guide.

40. Hardcore Self-Defense by C. R. Jahn

Sometimes, security literature fails to consider the emotional severity involved in the field. This book details the visceral aspects of self-defense without shying away from unsavory situations. This book is influential among many authors in this field, allowing the material to have a vicarious influence on security professionals. As a result, people do not have to read this book to realize they have been reading it for years. It has maintained an underground presence in the occupation’s sphere of awareness. The text promotes mixed martial arts at its finest.

41. Fight at Night: Tools, Techniques, Tactics, and Training for Combat in Low Light and Darkness by Andy Stanford

Adaption to low light is challenging because it facilitates a staggeringly different fighting environment than most people are capable of handling. This guide teaches basic steps to account for reduced visibility. It also trains its readers to turn darkness into an advantage.

42. Cheap Shots, Ambushes, and Other Lessons: A Down and Dirty Book on Streetfighting & Survival by Marc Animal MacYoung

Everyone needs to be aware of the tactics their enemy might use. This book consolidates illicit strategies that fighters use to earn less than honest victories. A diligent awareness of these underhanded tactics will prevent them from being deployed. Additionally, it can be useful to spruce up one’s own fighting form with a couple of these shocking techniques, just in case of an unstoppably rampaging opponent.

43. Defense Tactics for Law Enforcement: Weaponless Defense & Control and Baton Techniques by Bruce Tegner

This guide is the definitive resource for security officers that prefer to be armed with weaponry besides firearms. Tegner sums up the sheer effectiveness that can be acquired in police forces that utilize non-fatal instruments in their enforcement routines. As an added bonus, this book features one of the best demonstrations for professional baton usage that has ever been published.

44. Killing Zone: A Professionals Guide to Preparing or Preventing Ambushes by Gary Stubblefield

Surprise attacks pose a constant threat to security professionals around the world. This is why they need the universal guide to prevent ambushes. This compact guidebook details the nuanced factors that can reveal an upcoming ambush, which can be used to properly defend against the upcoming strike. As an added bonus, intricately sneaky arrangements can be cooperatively implemented to design one’s own ambushes.

45. Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C by Bruce Schneier

As security needs evolve, methodologies adapt. A primary example of this occurring can be found in the shift towards cyber warfare. Advanced protection measures are needed to secure online activity on a regular basis. This book dissects the coding skills that are revolutionized the field of encrypted communications. The text is highly relatable, especially for information security jobs.

46. The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography by Simon Singh

Conspiracy theorists are usually the opponents of security guards, but this work is uniquely relatable to the profession. As a member of any defensive operation, it is crucial to maintain a vow of secrecy. Successful security programs eventually eliminate any trace of the original activity. This book chronicles an awe-inspiring history of the secrets that have been lost throughout time. The author attempts to preserve these lost artifacts by tracking correlations between a series of fascinating technological events in human history. In the conclusion, Singh showcases an equivalency between modern computer encryption and an ancient society’s unexpectedly advanced secret-keeping activities.

47. Bob Kasper’s Sting of the Scorpion: A Fundamental Guide to Knife Combat by Bob Kasper

Elite knife-handling techniques are difficult to find, especially since faulty advising can lead to debilitating accidents. Luckily, Kasper has gathered all the information on the topic and put it into one spot. Everything that a blade enthusiast needs to know is contained within this singular publication. Anyone that desires specialized knife training should consult this manual.

48. Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method Vol. 1-4 by Bruce Lee

The relentless kung fu master personally espoused his traditional fighting methodology in an expansive collection of combat instruction. Security officers often read this guide as a default because it entertainingly combines advanced combat training with ponderous ideations directly from the legendary popular culture icon. This book is not reserved for martial arts enthusiasts; instead, it has achieved cult popularity among security professionals.

49. Walden & Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau’s unconventional body of work is perfect for defense occupations because it teaches the skill of environmental integration. When one is able to seamlessly blend into their surroundings, they can truly observe the behaviors of others. The literature also challenges the pretext of civilized interaction, which is a perfect negotiating method to undermine the confidence of radical figures.

50. American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms by William Doyle

The only reason this book has been placed last on the list is that it has just been released; therefore, it has not had enough time to garner a significant influence. The details contained in this explosive non-fiction exposé are going to resonate into the future. This book will surely be heralded as a classic from the current decade. The progression of American weaponry is illustrated in stunning detail. This evolution is graphically enthralling.