Book Review: ‘The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity’ By Christian Espinosa

Growing up was not easy for entrepreneur, Iron Man and author, Christian Espinosa. “I played football, but I was also smart, but I also liked heavy metal, so I felt out of place from each particular clique” Espinosa revealed reminiscing on his formative years. As a response to various socio-economic difficulties beyond control, Espinosa’s mindset changed dramatically as he threw himself at every challenge and character development opportunity, trying to be the best he could be. This path took Espinosa through the US military, to mountain summits, scuba dives, and the boardroom as he rose to prominence as a VP in what he calls ‘the intelligence-ego driven world of cybersecurity’.

This all changed in 2014 when Espinosa’s itch to succeed led him to start his own cybersecurity company: Alpine Security. Now, Alpine Security has been acquired by security consulting firm Cerberus Cyber Sentinel Corporation, bringing in a new era with Espinosa offering his expertise as a new Managing Director.

However, Espinosa’s hard-earned experience is not simply limited to the boardroom. In his latest book, ‘The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity’, Espinosa shares his decades of experience in the fast-paced world of IT Security. The decades of combined experience can practically be felt dripping through the pages as the chapters outline the essential steps to overcome the biggest adversary in cybersecurity. No, not the cybercriminals, but the toxic culture that many cybersecurity professionals find themselves in. The book takes a holistic approach to self-betterment, discussing the importance of so called ‘soft skills’ in the world of cybersecurity.

Perhaps this is what makes this book so challenging and engaging is that it peels back the cultural aspects of the cybersecurity industry that have been fermenting for decades. Espinosa states that “business leaders rely on their cybersecurity staff to protect their data”, yet “in my more than thirty years of experience in cybersecurity and leadership, I found that these technical employees are the root of the problem”. In order to solve this problem, Espinosa proposes “The Secure Methodology” and its seven steps, beginning with ‘Awareness’, and culminating in ‘Kaizen’ –the Japanese philosophy of continuous self-improvement in a world where the need to be the smartest person in the room stems from deep rooted insecurity rather than confidence.

The book outlines how technical employees, who may struggle with interpersonal skills and insecurity, can deploy Espinosa’s methodology, not just to help security professionals to communicate better and reduce risk overall, but for anyone that would like to work on becoming more confident and fulfilled with the life we are given. While I will not outline each step – that is for you to discover when you read the book – I will state that they intuitively link together to form a comprehensive formula for self-betterment.

Espinosa’s choice words make for an interesting read as humorous anecdotes are woven in seamlessly with heartfelt advice and genuine concern for industry and personal wellbeing. Espinosa is certainly one to watch as his knack for storytelling and his experience in business and the world promises exciting things in the future as Christian and Cerberus Sentinel use their combined experience to better the world of cybersecurity.

You can buy the book here now for less than the price of a coffee!

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