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  • Top CISSP Study Guides: Essential Books & Resources

Last Updated On: November 6, 2023

Let’s face it, earning a CISSP certification isn’t a walk in the park. It’s a challenging path that requires a lot of time, effort, and knowledge. But don’t fret–with the right tools and resources, you can easily turn this mountain into a molehill.

To help you navigate this journey, we have compiled a list of the best CISSP books and study guides. So, whether you're still deciding to pursue a CISSP certification or already preparing for the exam, these resources can equip you with the knowledge you need to confidently get the certification.

Here are six great CISSP books and study guides that can help you conquer the CISSP exam:

Destination CISSP: A Concise Guide - The best book for CISSP exam preparation

Studying for a new certification can often feel overwhelming, especially when preparing for an exam as rigorous as the CISSP. This is where Destination CISSP: A Concise Guide comes in. It's a perfect companion for aspirants who want a simple approach to the eight domains covered in the certification exam.

What sets this guide apart is its focus on the critical concepts you need for the test, which are all explained clearly and concisely. To make things even easier, it's packed with tons of diagrams and tables to help you visualize the complex ideas covered in the CISSP.

This guide helps you identify critical topics likely to appear in the exam. You get to zoom in on what matters without wasting time on fluff.

The best part? It’s written by CISSP experts with years of experience teaching CISSP classes and guiding thousands of people to achieve their CISSP certification. With Destination CISSP: A Concise Guide, you know you're preparing with reliable, expert-backed information.

The Official ISC2 CISSP CBK Reference 6th Edition - The most exhaustive CISSP book

If you want to go straight to the source, then the Official ISC2 CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) Reference is a good choice. This compendium is ISC2’s CISSP bible, but it’s 674 pages long and intended more as a reference manual rather than aimed at those studying for the exam the first time.

Unlike some of the other options, it lacks visuals and study questions that can help learners easily wrap their heads around different concepts. However, it’s a great resource to keep on your shelf for reference as you move through your career.

In addition to the CBK, ISC2 also offers an official study guide based on the latest 2021 CISSP exam outline.

The ISC2 CISSP Official Study Guide provides a streamlined approach to exam preparation. It's been carefully crafted to align with the CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK), covering all eight domains so you won't miss a thing when you step into that exam room.

But that's not all. This guide is all about hands-on learning. It has practical exercises, self-tests, and real-life examples that make the prep process interactive and engaging. So, instead of just reading and memorizing, you actually understand and apply the concepts as you go.

Eleventh Hour CISSP, 3rd Edition - Best CISSP study guide for cramming

When you’re in the final stage of exam preparation, time becomes a critical and valuable resource. During this stage, the Eleventh Hour CISSP book is an excellent companion.

This book condenses all the critical CISSP exam content into a quick and easy-to-review format. But don't let the word 'cramming' deter you; the Eleventh Hour CISSP does not compromise on comprehensiveness. It still covers all the topics outlined in the eight domains of CBK, ensuring no topic goes unnoticed.

It zeroes in on the key areas most likely to be on the exam, ensuring your last-minute efforts are strategic and effective.

If you're aiming for a self-paced and comprehensive approach to your CISSP exam prep, the All in One CISSP Exam Guide is the book for you. It’s packed with everything you need to conquer the exam at your own pace.

But what truly makes this a good CISSP book is its extensive self-study tools. It comes with 1400+ practice exam questions in a Windows-based test engine, allowing you to practice the test by domain or take the whole CISSP practice exam.

Remember, consistent practice is the key to success in any exam. The ISC2 CISSP Official Practice Tests offers that much-needed practice.

Designed by the creators of the CISSP exam, this book features hundreds of realistic practice questions covering all eight domains of the CISSP CBK. These tests not only help you identify the areas you need to focus on but also familiarize you with the exam's format, style, and difficulty level.

Additionally, this book provides detailed answers and explanations for each question, enabling you to understand the reasoning behind the answers. This instant feedback aids in consolidating your understanding and enhancing your problem-solving skills.

Bonus CISSP readings and study guide

The NIST Security And Privacy Controls Special Publication, 800-53 Revision 5 - Best CISSP resource for security and privacy controls

A solid grip on security and privacy controls is critical for any security professionals looking at getting CISSP certified. The NIST Security and Privacy Controls Special Publication, 800-53 Revision 5, is a great companion when preparing for the CISSP exam.

This comprehensive resource by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is loaded with all the info you need to manage and reduce cybersecurity risks. It breaks down numerous security and privacy controls that can be employed in various circumstances, making it handy not just for the exam but for your everyday job, too.

So, while this guide can get technical, the knowledge it provides will not only help you pass the test but also serve as a robust foundation for your duties as a CISSP-certified professional.

Destination CISSP Flashcard App - Best CISSP flashcards

While it might not be a traditional book or study guide, the Destination CISSP Flashcard App is an innovative resource that can significantly enhance your CISSP exam preparation. It's designed to assist you in mastering the vast array of CISSP CBK terms necessary for success on the exam without the tedium of manual list-making or rote memorization.

This app is far more than just a digital flashcard deck. It comes with features that allow you to mark terms you've already mastered, eliminating unnecessary repetition and maximizing your study efficiency. 

With the Destination CISSP Flashcard App, you can access over 1,100 flashcards encompassing critical terms and definitions, all crucial to your CISSP exam preparation. It's available on both Android and iOS platforms, making it a handy companion no matter your device.

Have you been scouring through books and study guides to prepare for the CISSP exam? If you're searching for a way to solidify the knowledge you've acquired, the Destination CISSP Questions App is just the tool you need.

Designed as the perfect companion to traditional study materials, especially the Destination CISSP book, this innovative app helps cement your understanding of the CISSP CBK by offering over 100 questions that mirror the format and complexity of the actual CISSP exam. This effectively reinforces the concepts you've learned and highlights areas requiring additional focus.

Each question has a detailed explanation, fortifying your comprehension and reinforcing key learnings. And with a comprehensive progress report, you can effectively strategize your study plan and identify knowledge gaps.


What is the best study guide for CISSP?

The best study guide for CISSP largely depends on your current skills, knowledge, and comfort with industry-specific language. For seasoned professionals familiar with technical jargon, the Official (ISC)² CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) is an excellent resource. It's comprehensive and detailed, providing insights directly from the exam creators.

However, if you prefer an easy-to-follow book with helpful tables and diagrams, Destination CISSP: A Concise Guide may be a better fit. This guide simplifies complex concepts and presents critical information in a clear, concise manner, making it ideal for individuals who appreciate a more streamlined approach to study.

What is the difference between CISSP CBK vs study guides?

The CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) is a comprehensive technical resource covering all the CISSP exam domains. It's designed to provide in-depth knowledge, which can be dense and complex.

CISSP books and study guides, on the other hand, simplify and distill this information. They provide key summaries, practice questions, and study tips, making them more accessible and user-friendly, particularly for those who prefer a more structured study approach.

Is the CISSP exam an open-book exam?

No, the CISSP exam is a closed-book examination.

How long should I study for CISSP?

The recommended study time for the CISSP exam varies but typically ranges from 100 to 200 hours, depending on your familiarity with the material.

How long does it take to get CISSP certified?

The time to get CISSP certified varies from person to person. It can range from several months up to a year, considering study time and the endorsement process after passing the exam.

What’s Next?

While reading different resources and taking numerous practice tests are vital in preparing you for the CISSP exam, these methods might not cater to everyone's unique learning style or knowledge gaps.

If you’re looking for a more personalized training and study guide for your CISSP journey, Destination Certification is your ideal partner.

We offer a CISSP masterclass that considers your unique learning style, previous knowledge, and current skill level. It's a flexible program that allows you to study at your own pace, providing comprehensive content that covers all eight domains of the CISSP exam.

With it, you don’t just prepare for the CISSP exam but embark on a learning experience tailored to fit your individual needs.

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