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on December 11, 2015
I bought this book as it was considered the "gold standard" by my friends who had passed the exam. It's pretty thorough and inclusive of the subject matter, but for me it was hard to distinguish the critical information from the supplemental details. This is a huge book and there are a lot of details. I eventually reached information overload and was stressed out to the point that I couldn't even stand to look at the part of the room where the book was sitting. I switched to a borrowed copy of the Eric Conrad book and found his book to be better hierarchically organized and more concise. However, even though I abandoned the rest of the text in this book around chapter 4, it's practice exams and glossary continued to be helpful to me as I studied from other books. So I don't personally consider this book the "gold standard" and I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book over the others, but I wouldn't dismiss it completely, either.

If you're undecided I would recommend reading a few pages of the different study books that are available to see what seems to work best with your learning style.
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on September 9, 2013
The book is pretty good for explaining exactly what I need to know, which is not always common with the books that are chosen from my professors. However, I downloaded the Kindle version for convenience, and there is literally no organization past just the chapters, and a page in the beginning with the sections. I have other books for similar courses that have page numbers, or the sections within each chapter listed in the contents menu. However, this edition has nothing which makes it tedious to find sections that I am looking for.

What is the point of an electronic copy if it is less convenient than a paper one?

Overall, I recommend the book, although sometimes it is a little wordy or redundant, but only in its paper form.
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VINE VOICEon September 19, 2013
Well ... it's as fun to read as a CISSP study guide can be, but Shon Harris deserves a lot of credit for injecting humor wherever possible to help you forget that you're slogging through something like 1400 pages of "broad knowledge" study material.

The chapters align with the specific subject domains of the CISSP, making it easy to focus more or less on the areas that you need (or don't need) most.

Key points are clearly called out and often repeated, making them 'stick'.

At the end of each chapter there is a summary that provides a bullet-list overview of the most important concepts from the chapter. Once you've read a chapter end-to-end, these lists provide an excellent review.

Each chapter also ends with sample questions, followed immediately by the answers (with explanations!). The CISSP (like most certification tests) is about known the *expected* answer as much as it is knowing the *right* answer, so understanding the logic behind why one answer is better than the others is very helpful.

Finally, at the very end - more sample questions! When you consider how expensive it is to buy sample test questions from (ISC)2, this is a welcome conclusion to a looooong but very useful book.
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on March 23, 2014
I first started studying for my CISSP 4 years ago but due to life and overloaded work conditions, I put the attempt at the certification on hold. Back then I had bought the 4th edition and it was a really good book to help prepare and was quite easy to read. This edition however is so painful to read. Don't get me wrong, the information is really good but seems very abstract at times and not to mention her use of 'he' or 'she' is quite distracting. I would prefer that she remained gender nutural and stay focused on the point she is trying to make. She also seems quite obsessed with peoples underwear in some sort of attempt at being humorous.

I find all these nuances make it more difficult for me to remember what I just read. I definitely wouldn't recommend this as your starting point in preparing for the exam. This book alone could very well deter potential candidates.
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on December 5, 2011
I was looking for a book to get me in the mode of studying for the CISSP exam. I read a bunch of reviews, and this surfaced as one of the prime study guides for CISSP. I purchased it, and it's huge. It's nearly 6 inches thick (maybe thicker). I travel a lot, so lugging it around quickly became a total hassle, but it is full of information regarding the CISSP exam.

So, to be clear, the book is a study guide for passing the exam. It is not a reference for all things relevant to a CISSP. If you haven't taken the exam, or really familiarized yourself with the material, there is a huge difference. The breadth of material necessary to pass the exam is immense, and no single book could really do justice to the entire body of knowledge. This book skims over the 5 bazillion topics you need to be familiar with to pass the exam. If you need to actually KNOW something about a certain topic in any depth, you'll need to find another reference to augment the topic.

What this book really taught me was that I needed a course if I was going to get through all the material. I don't require a CISSP for my job, and no one was going to force me to get it, so I knew I would never put in the time necessary to go through all the hundreds and hundreds of pages to get through it - and if I did, I would have forgotten all the stuff at the beginning by the time I got to the end. So, it was a $50 litmus test to help me decide to take a course. I'm sure a dedicated, diligent studier, however, could make great use of this book, and probably even pass the exam (I see some other reviewers have).

I would also recommend coupling this study guide with the practice exam questions, CISSP Practice Exams (All-in-One). Of all the practice exams I took, with the exception of the (ISC)2 practice exams, Harris' were, by far, the most "similar" in terms of difficulty, layout, and verbiage of any of the practice exams I took. Both books in conjunction could certainly make for a formidable knowledge base for a dedicated person trying to pass the CISSP exam. Good luck!
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on March 20, 2013
Overall it's pretty good. Some of the topics seem to be repeatedly covered to the point of redundant. I get that it's in preparation for an exam but in my opinion, less redundancy would have made for an easier and shorter read. The author throws in comments that are meant to be humorous in an effort to break up the reading a bit. They rarely hit their mark, a little more time spend on those good have gone a long ways.

Regardless, these are minor gripes with what seems to be a great study guide for the CISSP.
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on July 6, 2015
This is the best source for the CISSP exam. This book was extremely useful in preparing me to pass the test (once I started using it). The accompanying CD will also provides a PDF version of the text for your tablet/computer, and has some testing software to help you determine when you are ready for testing. Note that the ISC2 CISSP CBK has been recently re-organized and this edition does not map directly to it, but the content was still sufficient to get me to pass the test. I imagine that Shon Harris' next edition will match the new CBK.
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on September 2, 2013
I had Shon Harris videos before getting this book. The videos are awesome. I would definitely recommend the videos first. I still have not completed the CISSP exam. I have read several study guides on CISSP including the Body of Knowlegge, Kurtz's CISSP Exam Prep and C&A, and Sybex CISSP. A;; are very good material. Security is a central concern in Information Technology and few IT professionals go into the depth of CISSP. It is the true IT professional that will ensure he has this kind of depth and understanding of Information Technology. Security is not just for security personnel in IT, it is for everyone. This book covers all the most recent exam topics. It has been updated and the information is current. This is 2013 and the book came out in December 2012. Shon writes in a very clear and understandable way. The most complex topics are PKI, and encryption.
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on April 19, 2016
This book is great! The author keeps things interesting and has a very good sense of humor which makes studying that much easier. Also the tests after each chapter really help you remember all the material.
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on September 28, 2014
Read the other reviews. It's true, this book is THE most comprehensive book ever when it comes to CISSP studies. The flip side is that this book covers a TON of material and reads as easily as an operator's manual for a nuclear power plant. With this book Shon Harris does not teach the CISSP test, she provides the background that helps educate a person to make intelligent and informed choices in almost every situation related to the field of CISSP. If you're looking for knowledge, this is the book.
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