An engaging, brisk read that demystifies an intimidating field.



A cybersecurity expert shows how the weakest link of a cybersecurity program—people—can also be its strongest.

One wouldn’t think of cybersecurity as a timeless concept. But in his latest book on the topic, Finney, who teaches cybersecurity at Southern Methodist University, begins by showing that the inventor of the printing press was effectively the victim of 15th-century hacking when an untrustworthy colleague destroyed his business papers. Finney also points out that Star Wars is, essentially, “the story of a group of hackers with a political agenda who successfully steal government secrets and use those secrets to topple said government.” With all of its firewalls and SQL injection attacks, cybersecurity can seem like an intimidating and arcane field best left to the experts. But the author argues that it’s about human beings at its core: the ones who implement attacks and the ones who are capable of stopping them. Rooted as much in psychology as in psy-ops, this book outlines nine concepts, including “Skepticism,” “Diligence,” and “Community,” to think about and illustrates their importance via anecdotes and scientific studies. By the end, information security leaders will have a better idea of how to make every employee in their company think of themselves as fellow security officers without scaring them or confusing them. Finney shows how this group can include those who might not consider themselves computer experts, from Girl Scouts (who know the importance of “community and connection”) to theology students (“doubt is a well-established part of the process when you study religion”). This book is light on coding lingo and discussions of the latest programs, and readers looking for technical, concrete ways to increase their personal cybersecurity won’t come away with much more than a few techniques and apps to check out. But for those who are in charge of cybersecurity for large organizations, this work will prove invaluable for getting employees thinking about how to protect their company. At the very least, readers won’t look at Johann Gutenberg and Darth Vader the same way ever again.

An engaging, brisk read that demystifies an intimidating field.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62634-735-9

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2020

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.



The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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