Monday Sep 25
Bill Brenner: 3 Books that Changed My Life
Updated on Sunday, 1 February 2015 11:53

In this series, I asked infosec professionals to name 3 books that changed their life. This entry includes picks from journalist, writer and podcaster Bill Brenner.

When I set out seeking contributors for this piece, one of the first people that came to my mind was Bill Brenner. Throughout the years, Bill has been someone I (and many in the industry) admire for his insights, willingness to help others, and his unabashed sharing of his own personal struggles through his writing in The OCD Diaries. At this personal blog site, Bill shares his challenges, failures, and successes with relationships, depression, disease, and his faith — sub-narrated by tunes that demonstrate his undying love for metal music.

Bill’s career in journalism and editorial positions has capitalized on his gift of telling meaningful stories – now we get to hear his story, told with the same care and charisma. If you visit Bill at The OCD Diaries, please visit my favorite section under the inspiration tag.

As Bill says, “It’s about staring adversity in the face and making it blink. It’s about becoming better — on our own and together.”

In an ode to the Bill’s unmatched strength in this journey, I happily kick off this series with his list of “3 books that changed my life”. Here’s what Bill shared:



1. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

This book was my first introduction to the idea that there’s evil in the world, and that the evil can touch good people who are twisted along the way. I re-read it constantly as a young reporter. For a journalist covering the courts and cops beat, there is no better education into the criminal justice process.

billbrenner-book02-roosevelttrilogy 2. Edmund Morris’s Theodore Roosevelt Trilogy Bundle: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex, and Colonel RooseveltTeddy Roosevelt was a guy who dealt with staggering adversity, including a childhood of sickness and the death of his mother and first wife hours apart. Edmund Morris brilliantly illustrates Roosevelt’s journey through grief and how he remade himself into the titan we all know of today. These books inspired me to move beyond my own episodes of adversity.
 billbrenner-book03-heroinediaries 3. The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock StarI’ve always been a huge Motley Crue fan, and this book, by Crue bassist Nikki Sixx, captures diary entries he wrote during the year of his deepest descent into heroin addiction. The book taught me that there are common threads in all addictions, including the ones I suffered from. It was one of the first lessons that addiction is merely a symptom of a larger problem — a hole in the sufferer’s soul. I also love the honesty of the book. Sixx invites various people from his life to comment on the passages throughout the book.

Ways to find Bill Brenner:

Go to “3 Books That Changed My Life” series introduction post.

# # #

  1. Comments3 Books that Changed My Life: Reading Lists from Infosec Pros | Security Uncorked   |  Sunday, 01 February 2015 at 11:51 pm

    […] Bill Brenner: 3 Books that Changed My Life […]

  2. Comments3 Books That Changed My Life Liquidmatrix Security Digest   |  Tuesday, 03 February 2015 at 10:02 am

    […] My friend Jennifer Minella is doing a series where she asks folks from the security community about three books that changed their lives. She kicks it off with me. […]

Leave a Reply