Book Review: Confident Cyber Security

Confident Cyber Security: How to Get Started in Cyber Security and Futureproof Your Career by Jessica Barker

The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. Jessica Barker is the co-CEO of Cygenta and a leader in cybersecurity awareness who is very active on social media.
  2. The book acts as a primer for those interested in cyber security but don’t have a foundation in it.
  3. I think the sub-title is misleading as the book spends 95% of its content teaching the basics of cyber security, which isn’t bad in itself, but it doesn’t go deep on ‘how to get started in cyber security and futureproof your career’.


As I said in point 3 above, the book spent all its content educating on the basics of cyber and did not dive deep into getting into the field or futureproofing your career in cyber. This is all contained in 1 chapter second to last in the book. This is not a bad book, but it doesn’t accomplish the goal on the cover. I was looking for something deeper about securing a future in a cyber career.

Who Should Read It?

Anyone interested in cybersecurity that does not already have a foundation in it. Those with a basic understanding will find, like me, 90% of the book covers the basics they already know.

How the Book Changed Me

I wouldn’t say this book had a huge impact on me. I got a couple of book and website recommendations and further solidified my cyber security understanding. Other than that, I learned maybe to abandon a book a little earlier in the future.

Book Review: The Art of Invisibility

The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data by Kevin D. Mitnick

The Art of Invisibility: The World’s Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data by Kevin D. Mitnick

The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. Kevin Mitnick is a famous hacker, who teaches you how to reduce your attack surface in this book.
  2. Any privacy you think you have is false.
  3. While some of this information is dated, the book was published in 2017, it still has a lot of useful information.


While I knew most of what was covered in this book, I did still find the content interesting. The little stories that Mitnick shares throughout the book were very interesting. Also, the length that one has to go to remain anonymous in our digital world, even back in 2017 is pretty crazy. I don’t believe that many American’s understand the amount of their privacy they are giving up by maintaining their current lifestyle, including participating in social media and using technology. Mostly, we have given up data about us, what we do online, by using tools like google, gmail, cellular phones, etc.

Who Should Read It?

While I think that this book is overkill for most, as most people don’t think that what they are doing is giving up their data. They believe as Mitnick points out that no one cares about what they are doing because they are just one of the 8 billion people on the planet. Hacker’s are going to over after the low-hanging fruit. They will not only attack large companies, data shows that they are attacking SMBs and individuals. Everyone should be aware, but this book is going to scare people and I believe that most people don’t have the skill set to execute Mitnick’s advise, even the minor things.

How the Book Changed Me

  • It made me more aware of existing privacy concerns.
  • I plan to implement some of the suggestions that Mitnick discusses to protect myself and my family.

Book Review | Countdown to Zero Day

Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon
by Kim Zetter

The Book in Three Sentences

  1. The first cyber war attack by the US targeting centrifuges in Iran.
  2. This was the first attack, but it is seen as only the beginning and shows that many systems all over the world are in danger of being exploited.
  3. Real physical destruction can be caused by a malicious computer code.


This book is not the first cyber security book I’ve read. The story telling was done well, if a little long winded, like many non-fiction books I think this book could have been condensed further. At times it read as though the author was trying to make an article into a book, but at 400 plus pages, I think there was too much repetitive content. Nonetheless, this was an interesting book and covers a pivotal part of cyber history. Stuxnet is mentioned and discussed in many of the virtual training classes I have been taking in the last few months.

Who Should Read It

I think there are two categories of people who would be interested in this book. One being history people. I fit in this category as well. This was such a pivotal part of how technology is changing modern warfare that it can’t be ignored.

The second group that will be interested in this book are those with an interest in computers especially information security folks. This is the first virus designed specifically to target a very niche device. It was purposely written to attack, just that device to accomplish political goals.

My Takeaways

  • It made me aware that governments can leverage malicious code to attack each other, minimizing human loss
  • I learned that governments is keeping zero days to themselves in order to carry out attacks against their enemies

ChatGPT Learning Possibilities

…and ways people can take advantage of this new artificial intelligence.

I’ve been hearing a lot about ChatGPT and I wanted to explore more of what it can do. I wanted to see how easy it was to use myself. I created a user account and typed in my prompt:

write an information article about software bill of materials in easy to understand terms

I published what I got as a post on this website. This strikes me as interesting initially in two ways. First, I can type in questions and have this AI produce short and easy to understand articles for me to learn more about whatever topic I want, probably cybersecurity for the moment.

Secondly, I could also have it write lots of content for this blog or any other along with google adwords or anything else. All I’m doing is posting content, and I don’t even have to write it anymore. ChatGPT comes up with the content about a subject I want it to write about and people visit the site to read the content. I mean it’s not horrible content after all. Nothing really wrong with it.

This could flood the internet with many useless sites that are written by the same AI. Yes, I’m well aware that the internet is already flooded with lots of useless content, but not all of it is generating revenue for the owners. Just an idea. This is pretty neat, but getting a little scary quickly too!

Vegan Food Review: Field Roast Breakfast Sandwich

Field Roast Classic Style Sausage, Egg & Cheese Plant-based Breakfast Sandwich

Would I buy it again? No.

The good: In my opinion Field Roast has the best breakfast sausage I’ve tried. It has great texture and taste and most of all is the correct size (large) to fit nicely in a bagel or English muffin. They did a fantastic job on this. The “egg”; Just Folded Egg is your only option. It is simply the best vegan egg on the market. It has no challengers as far as I am concerned.

The bad: It’s the cheese. That is where this falls apart. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been vegan for 2 years, I know good plan-based cheese is hard to find, but this stuff just has a bad flavor that ruins the rest of the sandwich. I think they would be better leaving it off. The English muffin bun did get hard in the microwave, that could have been user error, but in my experience it happens to most of these breakfast sandwiches when microwaved. So no points off for that.

Summary: I would not buy this again, but I would buy all the components separately save the cheese. Field Roast makes a delicious breakfast sausage and Just Folded Egg does not disappoint. Buy your favorite plant-based cheese (if at all) and make your own.

2021 Books in Review

I was only able to read 17 books this year. This is the least number of books I have read since 2009. I’m not very happy with that, but 2022 is a new year and another opportunity to read more books!


  • Only 5 books from outside the US
  • 63% of books were written by Men
  • 69% of books I read were on the Kindle (4 audiobooks, 1 real book and the rest were kindle books)
  • 3,286 pages
  • 1,879 minutes of audiobooks (~31 hours)
  • Almost half the books I read where about the environment (44%)
  • 4 audiobooks came from the library, saving me $89.10

Top rated (5-star) books:

Book Review | The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff
The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and our Health—and a Vision for Change by Annie Leonard
3525 / 5Non-fiction, environment

Wow! I wish I would have read this years ago! I learned so much about all our crap! I’m already on the road to simplify and minimize, but this really got me thinking about what more I can do.

Similar books that I’m interested in:

The video that started the conversation…

Other book recommendations from the book:

Other Notes:

  • – Climate change non-profit fighting the use of fossil fuels.
  • – The Water Footprint Network is a platform for collaboration between companies, organizations and individuals to solve the world’s water crises by advancing fair and smart water use.
  • – Center for Sustainable Economy.
  • – We all rely on services provided by nature, often without realizing it or in ways we don’t fully recognize. Earth Economics identifies and quantifies those benefits to ensure they are included in the decision-making process at all levels, so communities can mitigate risk, increase resilience, and protect their natural capital wealth.

Paradigms are so pervasive and invisible that they can be easily mistaken for truth. When this happens, we limit our creativity in finding solutions to the problems we face, since our thinking is cramped and predefined by society’s dominant framework.

There are the downshifters, those who voluntarily live simply, unplugging from commercial culture, working, and buying less.

…downshifting, enough-ism, or voluntary simplicity–involves embracing a shift towards working and spending less.

Annie Leonard

2020 Books in Review

I had high hopes for 2020 as far as reading went. But 2020 had other plans for all of us. My wife and I welcomed a new baby girl into our lives and the world gave us a global pandemic. You would think I would have more time on my hands with a global pandemic, but preparing and having a third little girl did divert my time slightly. While I planned to read many more books in 2020 I only made it through 36 books this year. Less than the 55 I was able to read in 2019.

Although I read less I think I did better with reading diversity. In 2019 I read only 23% female authors’ books, while in 2020 I managed 40%, still less than half, and something I can still improve upon, but better. 89% of the books I read were non-fiction. I believe fiction is important to read, but my favorite genre is definitely non-fiction, I really feel like reading those books is time well spent. Back to diversity; I also look at the nationality of the writers I read. In 2020, I read 77% from United States writers. I did manage to read 3 Canadians, but that’s still the North American continent.

As far as how I liked the books, my average score was 4, the lowest was 2, and the highest was 5. I’ll make sure to link to all the 5-star books below. My favorite binding or way of reading was Kindle (48.6%). This makes sense when you see how many books I read about minimalism this year and last. Next was audiobooks, 31.4%. I’m sure I would have read even more audiobooks in 2020 if my commute would have lasted past March.

I read 6,524 pages digital and real this year. I listened to 6,170 minutes (102.8 hours, 4.3 days) of audiobooks. I enjoyed listening to books on walks while riding an indoor bike and sometimes laying on the ground waiting for a child of mine to fall asleep.

Topics or why I read the books I did this year. 9 books were related to minimalism, 5 were general education, 4 on the environment and cycling (4 each). This is a big one. I saved $310.09 by using the library in 2020.

One thing that was different this year is that each book got a blog post, something I have not been very good at doing in the past. I hope to get better at this.

5 Star books I read in 2020:

If you can only read one of these books read, How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger.

Book Review | How to Be an Antiracist

How to Be an Antiracist
by Ibram X. Kendi
3054 / 5Non-fiction, Race

This year changed a lot of things. A major one of those things was the Black Lives Matter movement. It brought to the forefront hundreds of years of oppression. I’m no expert on this movement and as a privileged, white, heterosexual, male, I can’t begin to understand the struggle of African-Americans in this country. Having said that, not trying is failing. Reading a book doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t make a huge difference. I’m trying to learn and see things from another person’s eyes.

Ibram’s book does that. I encourage you to listen to this 6 minute NPR story about this book:

Book Review | A Rose for Emily

A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner
A Rose for Emily
by William Faulkner
364 / 5Fiction, short story, classic

Emily is a member of a family in the antebellum Southern aristocracy; after the Civil War, the family has fallen on hard times.

A very short story that you can read online here. A bit of history and a somewhat sad story. Very well-written and an enjoyable read. Only 4 stars as I wish it was longer. Looks like the whole movie is available on youtube: