The most recommended cryptography books

Who picked these books? Meet our 35 experts.

35 authors created a book list connected to cryptography, and here are their favorite cryptography books.
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What type of cryptography book?


Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code

By Joseph Bruchac, Liz Amini-Holmes (illustrator),

Book cover of Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker's Story

Mara Rockliff Author Of Doctor Esperanto and the Language of Hope

From the list on picture books about languages.

Who am I?

I am a children’s author best known for digging up fascinating, often funny stories about famous people—and forgotten people who deserve to be famous again. But only one of them inspired me to take up a whole new hobby: L. L. Zamenhof, creator of the international language Esperanto. Learning Esperanto turned out to be fun and easy. It helped me make friends all over the world, and got me interested in how language works.

Mara's book list on picture books about languages

Why did Mara love this book?

If I had to recommend just one picture book about languages, I’d choose this one, because it does so much. First, of course, it shares a long-secret episode in American history—the triumph of the Navajo “code talkers” in World War II. (Not the first time bilingual heroes came to our country’s rescue: see my own picture book Gingerbread for Liberty! How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution.)  But this book also addresses language justice in a way that kids will find easy to understand. Through Chester, we feel the pain and confusion of being told one’s own language is “bad” and worthless, and the pride of having it finally treated with respect. We also see how language isn’t just a set of words, but carries culture, tradition, religion, a whole way of life.   

By Joseph Bruchac, Liz Amini-Holmes (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Junior Library Guild Selection April 2018
2018 Cybils Award Finalist, Elementary Non-Fiction
BRLA 2018 Southwest Book Award
2019 Southwest Books of the Year: Kid Pick
2020 Grand Canyon Award, Nonfiction Nominee
2020-2021 Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award Master List

STARRED REVIEW! "A perfect, well-rounded historical story that will engage readers of all ages. A perfect, well-rounded historical story that will engage readers of all ages."―Kirkus Reviews starred review

As a young Navajo boy, Chester Nez had to leave the reservation and attend boarding school, where he was taught that his native language and culture were useless. But Chester refused…

C# 10 in a Nutshell

By Joseph Albahari,

Book cover of C# 10 in a Nutshell: The Definitive Reference

Jesse Liberty Author Of .NET MAUI for C# Developers: Build cross-platform mobile and desktop applications

From the list on C# programming from a C# expert.

Who am I?

I've been a C# programmer for 23 years, and am passionate about the language. It is the perfect balance of power and ease of use, and each year it is extended by its amazing development team. I've used C# to build stand-alone applications, mobile applications, APIs, and database applications and I've never felt constrained. Finally, C# lends itself to best practices and design patterns, and continues to rise in popularity, especially with professional software developers.

Jesse's book list on C# programming from a C# expert

Why did Jesse love this book?

This is the definitive reference book on C#. The Albahari brothers have been writing about C# since the early bits, and they know the language inside and out. While this is a hefty book, you will find yourself using it frequently, and you'll be impressed by its comprehensiveness and utility. 

By Joseph Albahari,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked C# 10 in a Nutshell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When you have questions about C# 10 or .NET 6, this best-selling guide has the answers you need. C# is a language of unusual flexibility and breadth, and with its continual growth, there's always so much more to learn. In the tradition of O'Reilly's Nutshell guides, this thoroughly updated edition is simply the best one-volume reference to the C# language available today.

Organized around concepts and use cases, this comprehensive and complete reference provides intermediate and advanced programmers with a concise map of C# and .NET that also plumbs significant depths.

Get up to speed on C#, from syntax and…

The Book of Satoshi

By Phil Champagne,

Book cover of The Book of Satoshi: The Collected Writings of Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto

Christian Mayer

From Christian's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Tech enthusiast Optimist Coder

Christian's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Christian love this book?

The Book of Satoshi by Phil Champagne offers an unbiased, first-hand view of Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous architect behind the world's largest peer-to-peer system. As a former distributed systems researcher, I was fascinated by Satoshi's technical proficiency and cryptographic genius.

Champagne meticulously curated all of Nakamoto's publicly available writings, from emails to forum posts, presented in chronological order, providing an unparalleled window into the mind of a polymath in computer science, systems theory, cryptography, and even economics theory and community management.

A warning: the book is very technical at times, and some parts will get boring for a non-technical reader not interested in distributed systems.

The Book of Satoshi

By Phil Champagne,

What is this book about?

Have you, like the rest of the world, speculated as to the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, anonymous creator of Bitcoin? The world's first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin went online in 2009 and has since revolutionized our concepts of currency and money. Not supported by any government or central bank, completely electronic, Bitcoin is a virtual currency based on advanced cryptographic systems. Like the currency he created, the identity of Bitcoin's creator Satoshi Nakamoto is virtual, existing only online. The Nakamoto persona, which may represent an individual or a group, exists only in the online publications that introduced and explained Bitcoin during its…

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By Steven Levy,

Book cover of Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government--Saving Privacy in the Digital Age

Keith M. Martin Author Of Cryptography: The Key to Digital Security, How It Works, and Why It Matters

From the list on cryptography and how we secure the digital world.

Who am I?

I am a cryptography professor, which sadly doesn’t mean I spend my time breaking secret messages (at least not every day). I first studied cryptography simply because it was fun and interesting. It still is – but today it is unbelievably important, underpinning the security of almost everything we do in the digital world. I believe that developing a notion of 'cyber common sense’ is a vital life skill since so much of what we do is digital. A basic understanding of cryptography and its societal impact provides a superb foundation for making sense of digital security, so I’ve selected some of my favourite reads to get you started.

Keith's book list on cryptography and how we secure the digital world

Why did Keith love this book?

I always knew cryptography was political, but I had no idea how political until I read this book. Seeing the subject I am so fascinated by through the words of a political journalist was truly eye-opening. Steven Levy navigates a deeply fascinating period in modern technological history – the late twentieth-century battles between governments trying to maintain power and control over communications, and technologists who saw the fledgling internet as an opportunity to build a new world. Cryptography, which protects digital communications, sat plum on the frontline between these two communities, hence battles over cryptography turned into so-called 'crypto wars’ (although nobody died). Nobody who read this book was surprised with much that Edward Snowden had to say to the world in 2013 – Snowden was just reportage of the latest chapter in the same ongoing conflict.

By Steven Levy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crypto as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you've ever made a secure purchase with your credit card over the Internet, then you have seen cryptography, or "crypto", in action. From Stephen Levy the author who made "hackers" a household word comes this account of a revolution that is already affecting every citizen in the twenty-first century. Crypto tells the inside story of how a group of "crypto rebels"&#151nerds and visionaries turned freedom fighters&#151teamed up with corporate interests to beat Big Brother and ensure our privacy on the Internet. Levy's history of one of the most controversial and important topics of the digital age reads like the…

Room 40

By Patrick Beesly,

Book cover of Room 40: British Naval Intelligence 1914-1918

Mark Harris Author Of Harwich Submarines in the Great War: The First Submarine Campaign of the Royal Navy in 1914

From the list on WWI naval history without the same old story.

Who am I?

Military history has always fascinated me. I grew up in Britain with my parents’ tales of service in the Second World War on land, sea, and in the air. The First World War saw the zenith of British sea power and was an obvious draw. The scale and scope of the fighting were huge, and I’ve been researching the naval war in depth for over thirty years. The high levels of literacy of the combatants mean that it is also possible to gain deep insights into their experiences. This makes for stories I'm passionate about discovering as a reader and telling as an author. I hope this list helps you discover them too.

Mark's book list on WWI naval history without the same old story

Why did Mark love this book?

Good intelligence is the key to winning any war.

The work of Bletchley Park in the Second World War is well known. The equally important role that the enigmatically named Room 40 played in the First World War is less well known.

This book unravels the story of this formidable naval code breaking and intelligence unit. It was made up of men from all walks of life, under the leadership of the maverick genius and spymaster, Rear-Admiral ‘Blinker’ Hall.

Without the work of Room 40 there would have been no naval battles at Dogger Bank and Jutland. The U-Boat campaign against commerce would have been much harder to overcome. Most importantly, read how their work on the infamous Zimmermann Telegram led directly to the American declaration of war.

By Patrick Beesly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Room 40 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Recounts World War I intelligence operations of the British, shows how broken German codes were used to help control the shipping lanes, and identifies the events in which Naval Intelligence played a key role

The Code Book

By Simon Singh,

Book cover of The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

Rob Conery Author Of The Imposter's Handbook: A CS Primer for Self-taught Developers

From the list on self-taught programmers.

Who am I?

I taught myself to code back in 1994 while working the graveyard shift as a geologist in the environmental industry. My job consisted of sitting in a chair during the dark hours of the night in a shopping center in Stockton, CA, watching another geologist take samples from wells in the parking lot. A friend of mine suggested I learn to code because I liked computers. I don’t mean to make this out to be a “it’s so simple anyone can do it!” You need to have a relentless drive to learn, which is why I wrote my book, The Imposter’s Handbook - as an active step to learning what I didn’t know I didn’t know.

Rob's book list on self-taught programmers

Why did Rob love this book?

This book makes me jealous as the author has an incredible ability to communicate the densest of topics (Cryptography) in an engaging, wonderful way.

It draws you in and you find yourself transported to battlefields and war rooms of the past. I’ve always taken cryptography for granted - I type https into my browser and navigate to a site and all’s well. I know things are reasonably secure - but why?

It turns out that RSA, the algorithm that underpins things like SSL and SSH, is a landmark of human achievement and did something that millennia of mathematicians and scientists could not: provide secure, end-to-end encryption. A wonderful story.

By Simon Singh,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Code Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his first book since the bestselling Fermat's Enigma, Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic effects codes have had on wars, nations, and individual lives. From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo Code Talkers who helped the Allies win World War II, to the incredible (and incredibly simple) logisitical breakthrough that made Internet commerce secure, The Code Book tells the story of the most powerful intellectual weapon ever known: secrecy.

Throughout the text are clear technical and mathematical explanations, and portraits of the remarkable…

The Lost Symbol

By Dan Brown,

Book cover of The Lost Symbol

Edmond Gagnon Author Of Trafficking Chen

From the list on crime from a retired police detective.

Who am I?

I am a retired police officer who worked the streets and conducted criminal investigations for over thirty-one years in a busy city with Detroit as a neighbor. I handled everything from narcotics to arson and murder. Having lived the life, I truly enjoy a well-written crime novel, especially those inspired by real events. That is what I also write. I prefer crime stories where the protagonist is truer to life and doesn’t possess superpowers.  

Edmond's book list on crime from a retired police detective

Why did Edmond love this book?

Dan Brown grabs you within the first few pages and holds on to you through the whole book. The pace is frantic and can leave you breathless at times.

There's a great character twist at the end but I was a tiny bit disappointed with the ending. The story went so deep into the symbolic and mythical world, I guess I expected more. Perhaps I just wanted more.

By Dan Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lost Symbol as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


The Capitol Building, Washington DC: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon believes he is here to give a lecture. He is wrong. Within minutes of his arrival, a shocking object is discovered. It is a gruesome invitation into an ancient world of hidden wisdom.

When Langdon's mentor, Peter Solomon - prominent mason and philanthropist - is kidnapped, Langdon realizes that his only hope of saving his friend's life is to accept this mysterious summons.

It is to take him on a breathless chase through Washington's dark history. All that was familiar is changed into a shadowy, mythical…

'Blinker' Hall

By David Ramsay,

Book cover of 'Blinker' Hall: Spymaster: The Man Who Brought America into World War I

Roseanna M. White Author Of The Number of Love

From the list on British intelligence in WW1.

Who am I?

Roseanna M. White is a historical fiction writer whose bestselling stories always seem to find their way to war, espionage, and intrigue. A fascination with her family’s heritage led her to tales set in Edwardian and Great War England, and she’s spent the last seven years studying that culture and how the era’s events intersected with things like faith, family, the arts, and social reforms. Of course, she does all this study and writing about war and mayhem from the safety of her home in West Virginia, where life is blessedly ordinary and no one expects her to actually crack any codes in order to survive...which is definitely a good thing.

Roseanna's book list on British intelligence in WW1

Why did Roseanna love this book?

Any research into the codebreaking arm of British Intelligence during the Great War will quickly point to one man as the mastermind: Admiral Sir Reginald “Blinker” Hall. He is, at a glance, one of the most intriguing historical figures you’ll ever come across…and the more you learn, the more convinced you’ll be of that. In Blinker Hall, Spymaster, Ramsay delivers not only a thorough look into intelligence and codebreaking, using documents that have been declassified only recently to his writing, but also an insightful look into the man who orchestrated one of the most complex intelligence systems of the modern era. For anyone interested in intelligence, cryptography, or even just the invisible world behind a war that spanned continents, this book delivers it all, and does it in an engaging, entertaining style.

By David Ramsay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 'Blinker' Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Admiral Sir Reginald 'Blinker' Hall, the Director of Naval Intelligence (DNI) for most of the First World War, described as 'a genius in his own sphere and brilliantly successful', was one of the outstanding if largely unrecognized naval leaders of that war. Naval intelligence's ability to read and analyze German naval and diplomatic signals on a daily basis was a significant factor in the allied victory. The Germans never realized that their codes had been broken. The revelation of the Zimmermann Telegram, depicted as one of the most exciting events in the history of intelligence, astutely handled by Hall, was…


By Neal Stephenson,

Book cover of Cryptonomicon

Lee Kelly and Jennifer Thorne Author Of The Antiquity Affair

From the list on readers who like a good puzzle.

Who are we?

As the co-authors of The Antiquity Affair, we most love to craft thrilling stories that involve mysteries and puzzles—the twistier, the better! As both a reader and a gamer, Jennifer has always been drawn to stories that combine elements of fiction and gaming, games and books that pull you in and make you a co-adventurer along with the protagonists, an active participant in the plot. Lee grew up devouring choose-your-own-adventure stories (she’d read them several times, purposefully choosing different paths to get a sense of the whole story universe), and the adventures she pens with Jennifer feel like a return to those empowering narratives, the sense that fiction is dynamic, its own type of game.

Lee's book list on readers who like a good puzzle

Why did Lee love this book?

We’re clearly suckers for dual timeline books about geniuses solving near-impossible ciphers.

This one, by the dauntingly clever Neal Stephenson, is a heady mix of real history, invented history, and modern intrigue, all tied together by the field of cryptology. I knew absolutely nothing about code-breaking before I read this, and when I’d finished, I felt I’d earned a master's at the very least.

Although we’ll never compete with the Bletchley Park brains, we very much enjoy being thrown into the mix, pretending we can keep up!

By Neal Stephenson,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Cryptonomicon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With this extraordinary first volume in an epoch-making masterpiece, Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.

In 1942, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse—mathematical genius and young Captain in the U.S. Navy—is assigned to detachment 2702. It is an outfit so secret that only a handful of people know it exists, and some of those people have names like Churchill and Roosevelt. The mission of Waterhouse and Detachment 2702—commanded by Marine Raider Bobby Shaftoe-is to keep the Nazis ignorant of the fact that Allied Intelligence…

The Jewel

By Sir Thomas Urquhart, R.D.S. Jack (editor), R.J. Lyall (editor)

Book cover of The Jewel

Kelsey Jackson Williams Author Of The First Scottish Enlightenment: Rebels, Priests, and History

From the list on antidotes to Outlander's version of Scottish history.

Who am I?

Every country suffers from stereotypes, few more than Scotland. Since the nineteenth century, if not earlier, we—and the rest of the worldhave built a fantasy history of romantic kilted highlanders, misty glens, and Celtic romance which bears very little relationship to the much richer, much more complex reality of Scotland's past. As a writer and scholar one of my goals has been to explore that past and to dispelor at least explainthe myths which still obscure it. I live in a small fishing village on the east coast of the country. There are very few kilts and no misty glens.

Kelsey's book list on antidotes to Outlander's version of Scottish history

Why did Kelsey love this book?

What is the dividing line between genius and madness? The question is a pressing one when you face Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty (1611-1660), duelist, soldier, mathematician, genealogist, linguist, poet, historian, metaphysician, cryptographer, and endless self-promoter. It is said that Urquhart invented as many words as Shakespeare. The difference? Shakespeare's neologisms caught on, while "disobstetricate," "enixibility," and "scripturiency" remain firmly outside the dictionaries. If you're feeling brave, though, Urquhart's Discovery of a Most Exquisite Jewel More Precious Than Diamonds Inchased with Gold, The Like Whereof Was Never Seen in Any Age (he means his own writing) is one of the richest, maddest, most compelling narratives of a Scot trying to find himself and his country in the war-torn seventeenth century.

By Sir Thomas Urquhart, R.D.S. Jack (editor), R.J. Lyall (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jewel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.