This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2015-04-24 at 5:31 p.m.
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Level up with “Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal”

by Adam C. Engst

It’s easy to forget that OS X is based on Unix, but those in the know often drop to the Unix command line for tasks that are difficult or impossible to accomplish in the Mac’s graphical interface. Six years ago, Joe Kissell penned “Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal [1],” a book designed to help readers become comfortable on the command line. Today we’re pleased to bring you the second edition of this essential reference. It’s 167 pages, for $15.

If you’ve ever thought you should learn how to use the Mac’s command line, or worried about doing something wrong while following command-line-related instructions in an article or from the Web, “Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal [2]” will give you the skills and confidence you need to make your Mac even more capable than ever before.

Written from a Mac user’s point of view, the book starts with command-line fundamentals, helps you set up an environment that will work for you, and walks you through more advanced topics as your knowledge increases. Advanced topics include instructions for carrying out more complex tasks such as SSH-ing to a remote computer, transferring files via SFTP and scp, handling permissions, logging in as root, installing Unix software, grappling with grep, and writing shell scripts that contain logic.

Finally, to help you put it all together, “Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal [3]” showcases 52 real-world “recipes” that combine commands to perform useful tasks, such as listing users who’ve logged in recently, copying text from Quick Look, using a separate FileVault password, figuring out why a disk won’t eject, copying the source code of a Web page, determining which apps have open connections to the Internet, flushing the DNS cache, finding out why a Mac won’t sleep, sending an SMS message, and deleting stubborn items from the Trash.

Working at the command line often goes hand-in-hand with a general desire to work efficiently, so we wanted to mention that Joe also recently updated “Take Control of Automating Your Mac [4]” to freshen it for 10.10 Yosemite. This 199-page title discusses the Mac’s built-in automation features, various popular automation apps (including a chapter about the macro utility Keyboard Maestro), and special Apple tools like Automator and AppleScript. It also comes with discounts on Keyboard Maestro, LaunchBar, Hazel, Nisus Writer Pro, TextExpander, TextSoap, TypeIt4Me, and Typinator. You can buy both books for 20 percent off, dropping the price to only $24.

Whether you want to approach the Mac command line with confidence, or you want to set up some serious automation to make your work more accurate and less repetitive, these books will put you in control!