So, I get asked this question A LOT: “What CISSP study guide should I buy to study in order to pass the CISSP exam?”
I wouldn’t say that there is one definitive CISSP study guide that you absolutely have to have, but having taken the CISSP and passed it, I would say there are definitely some books that seem to do an excellent job of covering the material.
If you have no idea what the CISSP security certification is, you should probably check out my article on Lifewire: Perparing For The CISSP Exam, to learn a little more about it first. That article also goes into the basics on how to prepare for the CISSP exam. For this blog entry, I’m talking strictly about what books to consider purchasing for your CISSP exam preparation.
The CISSP is really a beast of an exam and a lot of people call it “a mile wide and an inch deep”, meaning that there is a lot of material to cover but it doesn’t really cover any one subject “down in the weeds” as they say. Everyone studies differently. What works for one person might be completely different for someone else. That being said, I will tell you what I used as my study resources, and how I went about studying.
What CISSP Study Guide Books Do You Recommend?
The definitive source for the exam material comes directly form ISC2’s, Official (ISC)2 Guide to the CISSP CBK, Fourth Edition ((ISC)2 Press). This book is considered the absolute truth when it comes to content related to the exam. While it may be more of a desk reference-type book that is not fun to read, it has the “official” positions on all test content topics. This means that when you have a question about a definition of something you’ve been studying, this guide always has the “right” (ISC2) answer. I would buy this book strictly to have as my go-to guide for definitions.
My next absolute must-have CISSP study guide is The CISSP All-in-one Exam Guide, Seventh Edition (or whatever the latest edition is). This is THE book. Shon Harris has been writing these guides for many, many years and knows the material inside and out and can explain it well. I read this thing cover to cover.
The last book I’m going to recommend might sound a bit silly, but I’ll explain why I picked it in a second. My last book resource is the CISSP for Dummies book. I know, I know, what you’re saying. What? A dummies guide? I wouldn’t recommend it as your only guide, but the reason I liked it is because I used it as a kind of condensed outline when I was studying. It was easy to flip around in and I would write notes on the pages and use it for last minute cramming and such. I used it almost like a outline / workbook. Anyway, it was pretty cheap and I’m glad I got it.
Everyone is Different
Again, other people have CISSP prep books they like better than these, I’m just telling you the ones I liked that helped me. For more tips on preparing for the CISSP, check out my article on Lifewire.