I am frequently asked about the best source for a CISSP audio book, so I thought that I would share my personal experiences. There is lots of chatter on the Internet about ripping the audio from Videos or DVD’s. One guy is actually typing the Shon Harris CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide so that he can run text-to-speech software to convert it into MP3 files.
So before I share my recommendation, I would like to point out the irony of using material in violation of the copyright to learn about the ISC2 code of Ethics, one of which is to “Act honorably, honestly, justly, responsibly, and legally.” The CISSP body of knowledge also covers intellectual property and copyright law. I guess at some point we all need to decide what color hat we are going to wear and I actually became more resolute in this personal decision as a result of my CISSP preparation.
I took the SANS® +S™ Training Program for the CISSP® Certification Exam at a large SANS conference. The session was taught by Dr. Eric Cole and I was extremely impressed. It was also very intense, and that’s why they call it a boot camp. The classes went from 8 am until 7 pm at night for six days.
Dr. Cole did a fantastic job at holding everyone’s attention, displaying his characteristic very high energy level. Honestly, some of the material in the ISC2 Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) is not all that exciting and some will be new to even experienced security professionals. When you get right down to it, there is not a short-cut to earning a CISSP. It takes a good deal of preparation and “learning to drink the ISC2 kool-aide.”
Many participants will say that attending a SANS course is like “drinking from a fire hose.” I would have to agree, but that is how I prefer to learn—at a rapid pace. One of the under-touted benefits of the preparation course is the MP3 recordings that come with the course. I left with a bag full of ten 1-inch spiral bound books, one for each domain. After I left the conference, I reviewed these books and the notes as I listened to the corresponding audio files. I can honestly say that this course was the best investment I could have made to prepare for the four hour exam.
The advice that I give my students is to use software that supports variable speed MP3 playback. This allows you to speed up the parts that you understand and to slow down when you need to. Windows Media Player support this and so does Maple MP3 Player for Android.
So, before you do anything unethical or go through the trouble of ripping audio from DVD’s, you should seriously consider the SANS CISSP course. It is offered in a variety of formats, including Mentored, On-Demand, and Self-Study, as well as the large conferences.
As part of the course, SANS includes a free “CISSP® Study Guide” by Eric Conrad, Seth Misenar and Joshua Feldman. This book also includes some MP3 files that are also well made. You have my personal guarantee that none of the CISSP audio books or products that I have recommended sound like a cheesy text-to-speech robot.
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