Book Review: AWS Cookbook

Tl;dr: The AWS Cookbook is a must have addition to your reference library. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author.

John Culkin read the review I did of Linux Networking and reached out to me and asked what I thought of his book on AWS. He was nice enough to send me a copy. Now that I’ve read it, I would happily pay for it. He and Mike Zazon did a great job. They provide a git repo too, but it looks to me like it only has the cleanup scripts, not the how to scripts. That makes commercial sense. If they’d have put all of it in the repo then why buy the book?

What I Liked

This book is practical. It’s a cookbook, but the best kind: the kind you use all the time. It’s the “Joy of Cooking” of AWS books. It’s a “problem” and “solution” approach. You can either grab this when you have a problem and can look up how to solve it (cleanly documented) or just read it and learn as you go. I remember learning Unix in a similar way by reading Unix Power Tools. Spending time reading this book will make you a better cloud Engineer. Period.

I also really like that it’s all aws command line. This book is about showing you how to do it with the most universal, repeatable, consistent way. No AWS console. No language specific solution. Just good old command lines.

Watch for the scorpion symbols. Those point out places where you can get badly stung. These may be where the book is the most valuable.


I wish all the reciptes were available on GitHub! That would have been amazing. But alas, writing a book is a LOT of work and John and Mike deserve to get compensated for their time.

Another Thought: Certification Study

I have all three of the AWS Associate level certifications. They are a badge that basically says one has achieved a certain level of knowledge. Not that you know how to apply that knowledge, just that you have the knowledge. As I was reading through recipes it occured to me more than once “oh, that was in my SysOps cert study and now I see how it really works.” If you want to really boost what you get out of AWS certification study, this book can really help you.


Buy this book. It will make you better, and it’s only a matter of time until you need one of the recipes. Having it at hand will save you hours of work. Time is the one thing you can never get back, and this book will save you time. I love it. I think you will too.