Monday, October 16, 2023

FALL BACK TO READING SERIES – Featuring Rebecca Herold

This year, as the seasons change and we enjoy fall, I’ve launched my FALL BACK TO READING SERIES. The series will feature two dozen leadership and marketing experts, who will share their inspiration in both fiction and nonfiction, and hopefully, provide the impetus to read more. To quote New York Times Bestselling author Kristin Harmel, “If you give a person a book, you give him the world.” For today’s post, I’d like to introduce Rebecca Herold.

Rebecca Herold has over 30 years of IT, security, and privacy experience and is the founder of The Privacy Professor Consultancy (2004) and of Privacy & Security Brainiacs SaaS services (2021). Rebecca has authored 22 published books so far, and co-authored NIST catalogs NISTIR 7628, NISTIR 8259, SP 800-213, NISTIR 8425 and TN 2066. She has served as an expert witness for cases covering HIPAA, criminals using IoT devices, social engineering, stolen personal data of retirement housing residents, and tracking app users with Meta Pixels. Rebecca hosts Data Security & Privacy with the Privacy Professor. Since early 2018, Rebecca has hosted the Voice America podcast/radio show, Data Security & Privacy with the Privacy Professor, and is based in Des Moines, Iowa.

QUESTION: Which three business books have made the biggest impact on your career?
REBECCA HEROLD: They are not business books, per se.

[1] When I was in 5th grade, I read, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie. I read that three or four times. I had just moved to a new school, where my father was the Superintendent of Schools, and where some of the kids were not very kind. That book not only provided good advice for a scrawny, dorky 5th grader, but the lessons are also still applicable to all aspects of business today.

[2] The U.S. federal NSA/NCSC Rainbow collection of manuals on evaluating "Trusted Computer Systems." They were called the "Rainbow Series" because each book was a different color. In 1990/1991, working as an IT Auditor at Principal Financial Group, I was told to perform an audit of the company’s information security. Where to start? This was before ISO, and even BS7799 security standards existed. I went to the corporate library, and interestingly enough, they had the Rainbow Series of U.S. military manuals on their shelves. Probably because they were an international corporation, and also participated in the OECD. To figure out where to start with evaluating Principal’s information security risks, I read NCSC-TG-001, the “Tan Book,” entitled, “A Guide to Understanding Audit in Trusted Systems.” I recall also using most of the other manuals in the series. Those were key then, as a result of doing that audit, being asked to create the inaugural “Information Protection” department at Principal Financial Group.

[3] The Cuckoo’s Egg by Clifford Stoll. There were so many security lessons in that book that are still relevant today. I was thrilled to bring the subject, and author, of the book to Principal in 1997 (maybe 1999) to talk about the real-life experiences in that book in one of the information protection awareness events I planned. And, Clifford Stoll was also a guest on my radio/podcast show last year (Here's the link to listen:

QUESTION: Who is your favorite author, and why?
REBECCA HEROLD: I love a lot of books and a lot of favorite authors. Probably Ernest Hemingway is my favorite author of fiction novels. I read all his books throughout high school and undergraduate college. Why? His writing is beautiful, graphic, thought-provoking, and has lessons that can apply to everyone’s lives. And, just really great storytelling. I have two titles that tie for my favorites: The Old Man and the Sea and The Sun Also Rises.

QUESTION: What book did you read in high school or college that, to this day, you still remember vividly, and why?
REBECCA HEROLD: Besides Hemingway, I’d say two of Jack London’s books: The Call of the Wild and White Fang. I’ve always loved books about being out in the wilderness, survival, with animals, etc. I grew up in a very rural part of north-central Missouri, on a farm on the edge of woods that I used to explore with my own dog and 20-plus cats. I read those books back to back. I read The Call of the Wild first, where Buck went from being a domesticated dog to becoming wild. And then I read White Fang, who went from being wild to becoming domesticated. A fabulous juxtaposition of readings. More great story telling and vivid survival descriptions.

QUESTION: Do you intersperse fiction with your business reading? If yes, what was the last work of fiction that you read, and what caught your attention about it?
REBECCA HEROLD: I rarely intersperse fiction with business reading anymore. It seems that I’m always behind on my business work, and so I read a great amount of research for the topics I work with, and also a lot of news. However, occasionally I will take a short brain break from work to read short poems or stories by Dorothy Parker, who I read a lot (and also liked a lot) in high school. And also occasionally short stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, and Philip K. Dick.

QUESTION: If you created a nonprofit organization to promote reading to children and young adults, what would you name it, and why?
REBECCA HEROLD: No Books Banned Here!

Why? Because banning the books that children can read is implicitly, but strongly, conveying to children that the topics about the banned books are wrong, or evil, or some other derogatory term. Censoring books also loudly, implicitly, tells children that they should judge others simply by their “title,” or that they should devalue the thoughts, concepts and beliefs of others by the “content” of their lives.

If children are not allowed to learn about the entire world around them, we have seen that in many places, they grow up to judge and hate others about whom they have never learned, because they were always told that those different others are bad, simply for who they are and how they live their lives in ways that are different from the norm of the associated individual. Children will be much smarter, wiser, and empathetic when allowed to read whatever they want. Censoring books instills the notion that certain topics or things simply cannot be tolerated, even when nothing is known about those topics.

SHARE THIS: Children will be much smarter, wiser, and empathetic when allowed to read whatever they want. ~@PrivacyProf #DontBanBooks #BanNarrowThinking #ReadBannedBooks #DebbieLaskeysBlog

My gratitude to Rebecca for participating in this year’s fall back to reading series and for sharing her inspiring recommendations!

Image Credit: Bangor Daily News.

Connect with Rebecca at these links:
Privacy Security Brainiacs:
Privacy Guidance:

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