Don Jones

Tech | Career | Musings

Jeffery Hicks and I have collaborated on what we feel are the definitive books for learning PowerShell. These books have proven hugely popular, and have helped tens of thousands learn the shell the right way. We keep them easy to read, relevant, and real-world.

FOR THE TOTAL BEGINNER. If you’re a total beginner, and maybe not even sure what a “server” is, start with Don Jones’ PowerShell 4N00bs, which Don authored solo. Focused on PowerShell Core, this book will give you the absolute basics, and get you ready for more advanced books on the topic. After reading this, move on to the next book on this list.

MOVING INTO PRACTICAL WORK. If you’ve got some server administration experience under your belt, or you made it through the 4N00bs book, then grab Learn PowerShell in a Month of Lunches (presently in its 3rd Edition). This is the starting point, where you read a chapter a day and learn how to use the shell the way it wants to be used. This isn’t a programming book – this is just the shell as a command-line shell. We cover all the gotchas that you’ll never figure out on your own, and get you positioned to be effective with the shell in just four weeks of reading. This book does focus on Windows PowerShell, not PowerShell Core, but it’s over 90% applicable to PowerShell Core. You may just find that some of the examples aren’t as Core-friendly.

BUILDING YOUR OWN TOOLS. Then, move on to PowerShell Scripting in a Month of Lunches (formerly Learn PowerShell Toolmaking in a Month of Lunches; this is a complete rewrite of that book). Even if you have zero programming background, we’ll have you producing automation tools that follow PowerShell’s native patterns and practices. Especially useful for folks who do have programming experience and tend to stray off the path in terms of how PowerShell wants to be scripted. This is an entry level book with a strong focus on patterns, tons of examples, and introductions to the higher-level areas of scripting. 100% applicable to PowerShell Core, although the running examples are Windows-specific.

MASTERING TOOLMAKING. After that, The PowerShell Scripting and Toolmaking Book will be your PowerShell scripting companion for life. We pick up where the Month of Lunches books leave off, and provide more in-depth coverage beyond the entry-level. This is an Agile-published book, which means we are continually expanding our coverage (two major expansions already!), updating to cover new PowerShell versions, and more – but you only pay one price for that lifetime access to the latest information.

THE IN-DEPTH REFERENCE. Finally, we always suggest having PowerShell In Depth by your side. Written in conjunction with Richard Siddaway, this book is a reference rather than a tutorial, with more comprehensive coverage of everything the shell can do. Our focus is on the administrator (rather than a professional developer, who tends to approach the shell from a different perspective).

NOW, SHARE WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED. Don’s non-technical book, Be the Masterexplores achieving your own success in career and life, so that you can have the room to start sharing what you know with others. It’s a re-thinking of what it means to be a student or a teacher, and to be an apprentice or a Master, with life and career advice to help you reach your own success, and to help others reach theirs.