The Linux Phrasebook by Scott Granneman is without a doubt the best hands-on book I have ever read that teaches practical command line usage, and I always recommend it to anyone new to the Linux command line. In fact, I would highly suggest reading this book before reading the Linux+ Guide to Linux Certification.
This small, pocket-sized paperback consists of sixteen easy-to-follow chapters covering a variety of topics that you will most likely encounter in everyday usage.
But exactly why is this book so helpful?
The Linux Phrasebook contains two important parts for the new Linux student. The first chapter briefly describes basic Linux concepts such as everything is a file, names are case-sensitive, use the forward slash to separate directories, and other basic Linux knowledge that makes life easy for the Linux newcomer.
After that, the remainder of the book provides hands-on real-life command line examples followed by descriptions in fun, informal, and easy-to-understand language. The commands are practical and they are what you will use most of the time, so there is little theory involved. Simply type the example, watch it run, and read how it works.
Chapters are short and grouped according to topic. Topics are diverse, up-to-date, and practical. Using ls, aliases, setting up ssh to log in without prompting for a password, using rsync for backups, grabbing web pages from the command line, managing processes, Samba, printing, and a multitude of other useful examples abound.
Even after reading through and following the examples, the Linux Phrasebook makes for an excellent pocket reference, and its small size is convenient enough to carry around or shelve near a computer.
This book serves as a good foundation upon which to expand one’s knowledge of Linux, and it offers some of the best, easy-to-grasp explanations of commands that I have ever read.
In short, this book is highly recommended. There is simply no better introduction to the Linux command line as succinct and useful as the Linux Phrasebook.