I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night….
‘They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”
Start with Andrew “bunnie” Huang’s Hacking the Xbox (No Starch Press, 2003), Bruce Schneier’s Secrets and Lies (Wiley, 2000) and Beyond Fear (Copernicus, 2003) are the definitive layperson’s texts on understanding security and thinking critically about it, while his Applied Cryptography (Wiley, 1995) remains the authoritative source for understanding crypto. Bruce maintains an excellent blog
The best fictional account of the history of crypto is, hands down, Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon (Avon, 2002). Stephenson tells the story of Alan Turing and the Nazi Enigma Machine, turning it into a gripping war novel that you won’t be able to put down.