After nearly 6 months of hard work, the fifth edition of my book, Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons, has finally been released! Is this blog article a shameless plug? Maybe a little bit. But this book serves as the cornerstone of my mission to help as many people as I can to secure their devices and data. We’re all in this together – helping yourself also helps those around you. There is a notion of ‘herd immunity’ in the virtual world as well as the biological world. Bare with me for a minute and I’ll explain what I mean.
Something that a lot of self-help books will tell you is that you need to help yourself before you can help others. We’re told this during the airplane safety speech every time we fly. So your first goal is to get your own metaphorical castle in order. This new edition of the book contains over 200 tips to help you secure your computer and mobile devices, as well as protect your personal information and greatly enhance your privacy.
Okay, I hear you. Who the heck wants to read a dry, boring computer book? No one. I’m an engineer who enjoys learning, but most tech books put me to sleep. I wrote this book in a very informal, conversational style. I kept the jargon to a minimum and used several analogies to explain complicated (but important) topics. However, even if you are technically savvy, you’ll learn new tricks from this book.
But I went one step further. If you really, truly do not care to know why this stuff is important and you just want to take my word for it, then you can skip the explanations and go straight to the action items. Every chapter ends with a short bullet point summary and a checklist of Tips. Maximum benefit for minimal effort.
The very fact that you’re reading this article means that you’re probably well ahead of most people. But security and privacy are not just “me” things – they’re also “we” things. If your buddy brings an infected laptop into your Wi-Fi network, it may try to infect your devices, too. Similarly, if your mother’s Google account is hacked, it can expose the private information of yourself and everyone else she knows: emails, photos, documents, contact lists, and more. So helping others to improve their security and privacy isn’t just beneficial for them, it’s beneficial for you and everyone else they know.
The “Easy Button” option here is to simply give them a copy of the book. It scales a lot better than trying to individually help all your friends and family. Then you can just answer the odd question here and there. But if you have the time and patience, I still encourage you to sit down with some of your closest loved ones and give them personal support.
Help Me to Spread the Word
At this point, it should be pretty clear that the more secure each of us is, the better off we will all be. Privacy is a fundamental human right and privacy requires security. Honestly, the hard part isn’t convincing people that these things are important – we’ve come a long way in that regard after years of data breaches and private information leaks. The hardest part, by far, is reaching people to deliver this message. I have a blog, a newsletter, a book and a podcast – but so do a lot of other people. We’re inundated with content today – it’s very hard to stick out, to get noticed.
So here’s the shameless solicitation part: you can make a huge difference by helping me spread the word. If you’re willing and able, below is a detailed list of things you can do to help me reach a broader audience – and hopefully raise our collective privacy and safety level.
- Buy the book. Doing it sooner rather than later is even better: a sharp spike in sales will put the book on the first page of search results, which will get the book seen by more people… which drives more sales, gets it higher on the lists, and so on.
- Leave a 5-star review on Amazon. This extremely helpful! I can’t stress this enough. While just giving it 5 stars is great, it’s much more impactful to write a short blurb on why you like the book. Give some specific reasons, especially if you can compare it to similar books. It does not have to be long. One or two sentences will do.
- Consider buying copies of the book to give away as gifts. Again, this is the Easy Button method for helping your loved ones.
- Buy some popular, similar books on Amazon. This helps get my book on the “people also bought” lists. Plus, you should always get second opinions.
- Post about the book on social media. If possible, say something specific about why you like the book. If you tag me, I’ll like your post and probably repost it. You can find my social media handles on my Contact page. You can share a link to this article, too.
- Ask your local library and/or independent book stores to carry my book.
- If you happen to know anyone with a strong following on social media or some other large audience (an “influencer”), suggest my book to them. I may be able to supply them with a free copy of the book.
- If you know someone who owns a published list of “best security/privacy books” or “must read books”, suggest that they add my book.
- Suggest my book as something to read in a book club or maybe to be the basis for a continuing education class.
- I’m open to doing book signings, if they are willing to cover travel expenses or if it’s near the Raleigh, NC area.
- I can also do virtual seminars based on the book. You can use this form.
- If you have your own blog or podcast, please consider doing a long-form review of the book. You can even apply for a free copy of the book for this purpose by filling out this form.
- Doing interviews is a great way to reach more people. I’m open to going on podcasts, radio or TV shows, group meetings, etc.
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