A reader from Berkeley , April 24, 1998 [1 out of 5 stars] "The Inept Paranoiac" might be a better title. I did manage to finish the entire book, but only because it's such a good example of what technical writing should never be. Meinel's prose is abysmal; sentence fragments, logical inconsistencies, and typos (an average of one per page) abound. The content is even worse, if such a thing is possible: she never defines "hacking," but prefers instead to use the term to describe anything from a passing familiarity with graphics to using "finger" on an email account. Fully half the book is devoted to either a great deal of trivial information regarding Windows 95 graphics or paranoid and immature rantings about "elite super-duper hackers" (p. 15) who she feels despise her. The latter makes Meinel appear painfully immature and insecure; it's difficult to take anything she says seriously after reading statements such as "This newbie note is my flame against those flamers to whom I am sooooo superior" (p. 67). The remainder appears to be aimed at inept--or perhaps retarded--thirteen- year-olds, as chapter sections like "How to Break into Absolutely any School Computer" indicate. Overall, reading "The Happy Hacker" is genuinely painful for anyone with the vaguest familiarity with either hackers or the English language. A guide to hacking for newbies would be a wonderful thing indeed, but this book ain't it. Avoid at all costs, unless you're a consummate masochist.