My CISSP Journey, Part 4: Writing a Study Guide

In the earlier parts of this series, I describe my experience preparing for and taking the CISSP exam, and later when I had an opportunity to write exam questions and proctor exams. In this part, I tell the story of my chance to write certification study materials.

In part 1 of this series, I mentioned that there were no available books for self-study for the CISSP exam, but instead, I borrowed a colleague’s binder from his in-classroom training a few years before, in the late 1990s.

As today’s story begins, at this time, I had written three books: Solaris Security, Sun Certified System Administrator for Solaris 8 Study Guide, and Enterprise Information Security. In another part of the country, Wiley Publishing and an author were working on the first edition of CISSP For Dummies, a user-friendly study guide for the CISSP exam. The project was apparently behind schedule, and the acquisitions editor at the publishing company called me on the phone one day and asked if I’d be willing to help out.  We negotiated an agreement that survives to this day, in which I am co-author of CISSP For Dummies. Over the last nineteen years, we have published six editions of the book and will soon be working on the seventh edition.

The book covers all of the knowledge domains that a CISSP candidate is expected to know to pass the exam. I especially like the For Dummies style, as we write in a friendly, more casual style while still imparting the knowledge required.

Starting with the 5th edition published in 2016, CISSP For Dummies is the only CISSP study guide approved by (ISC)², and it says so prominently on the cover. This is an endorsement that is not included in any other CISSP study guide.

I genuinely felt like my writing career was going to be sustained, as I had by this time written major titles for three different publishers on two continents. Feeling like I was not writing up to my true potential, I hired a literary agent in 2006, who found more publishing opportunities for me. One of the first such opportunities was to write an academic study guide for the CISSP exam by a publisher that sells direct to colleges, universities, and vo-tech schools. In 2009, the first edition of CISSP Guide to Security Essentials was published. The instructor edition includes the book and explanations for the study questions in the book, along with a complete set of PowerPoint slides to be used for classroom or virtual classroom instruction.  CISSP Guide to Security Essentials was published in a second edition in 2015.

In Part 5: earning the CISA and other certifications.

In Part 6: continuous education and CPE recordkeeping.

In Part 7: paying it forward.


1 thought on “My CISSP Journey, Part 4: Writing a Study Guide

  1. Pingback: My CISSP Journey, Part 7: Mentoring Others | Peter H. Gregory

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