I'm not one to write reviews prior to finishing the material, especially prior to taking the certification test that this book helps study for, but I purchased this book to help reinforce my knowledge of the material for the upcoming (1 month away) CISSP exam in my area and noticed there are no other reviews of this book. So, since other people may be purchasing this book very soon to help study, I figured I'd provide a little more information than what Amazon provides just to help guide people into making a wise purchase since nobody else is. So - is it worth it? Beats me, I'll update this in about 6 weeks. Here's what I can tell you so far:
The book itself is divided into one chapter each for each area of the CISSP exam. Each chapter has 25 questions in it, so there really isn't a ton of content in the book itself. What is nice is that every answer (A, B, C, or D) is explained in detail so you know why an answer is or isn't something, and that lengthy answer is why the book is longer than it otherwise would be with only 25 questions for each section. If this was the only content provided, the book would be an easy 1-star, pass and walk away recommendation - BUT it comes with a link to extra online bonus content which I feel (at least right now) makes the book worth my cash. Here's what's on the website:
1.5GB (~124 files) (~30-ish hours ?I think?) worth of MP3s which are recordings of Shon providing training to, well, me. I'm only through the first chapter, but she appears to be a good trainer and has a good voice (which, if you've heard bad audio trainers or audiobooks, you know will drive you crazy). I will continue listening to all of the other recordings (1+ hour drive to work everyday helps, lol), and I would recommend this resource to people. The one drawback is that the MP3s appear to be very dated. The modified date is from 2005 but in one of the recordings she references the soon-to-be-released Windows Server 2003 (HA!). That said, most of the material carries over from year to year all the same, but if you're looking for the audio training to mirror the newest objectives - look elsewhere. As I always say, this is a great supplemental material, but not "prime" material. I'm a fan of using a ton of supplemental material to get the biggest, overall picture anyway. If Shon or her publishers read this - thanks for the MP3s, they're great in the car!
The website also includes 3-4 online flash quizzes for each section of study (about 33 total quizzes, all said). Each quiz has approximately 50 questions, for a total of a ton of questions. Each question tells you once you submit it whether you're right or not and why (although it doesn't break it down into why each individual answer is wrong like the book does). I prefer to know the answer right away, so I'm glad it doesn't make me wait until question 50 to learn the answer to question 2.
If you can't tell by now, so far I think the book is a good study aide. I'll update this after I take the test to let you know how well it helped, and whether or not the questions were similar in content/context/writing than the actual test. In my opinion, knowing how the question is written is nearly as important as knowing the answer to it. It's amazing how difficult you can make an easy question just by wording it in an awkward way. For now - I'm happy I got this book & would recommend it to others. Sorry for being so wordy.
After a few weeks, I continue to agree with myself that this book is overpriced for the print-content alone. Q&A is good, but it all sums up to the size of one practice test. I might pay 10 bucks for that content, but not what the current price is. I also still agree with myself that the online content makes this book worth its retail price, but I have two complaints about the online content & need to append my previous comments about the online Q&A interface. First - after you answer one question, but before you move on to the next, the system tells you if you're right or wrong. If you're wrong, it provides an explanation. What's odd is that the explanation doesn't actually say what the right answer is and very frequently you still can't tell from the explanation given. No problem, you think, it's cool, because after I complete the test I can go back to the previous questions and see what the correct answer is. This is correct because, once the test is done, you can select a previous question from a drop-down list and it'll have a red X next to your wrong answer and a green check mark next to the correct answer. Problem here (my Second complaint) is that now that you can see the correct answer, there is no way to bring up the explanation of the problem again. So, if you don't remember the explanation 50 questions and an hour later, you're really out of luck.
Summing up this update - I think the programmers & editors dropped the ball in the 2 mentioned usability aspects of the online Q&A software. It works, but can be frustrating quite often. This doesn't kill the deal, or my rating (still 4 out of 5 stars), but it is something they should work on for future versions.