Friday, December 9, 2016

How Bruce Lee Affected My Career in Cybersecurity

Would you believe Bruce Lee affected my career in cybersecurity?

For several weeks I've been listening to the Bruce Lee Podcast. The "Bruce Lee Moment" is a segment where a listener explains how Bruce Lee's life and/or philosophy affected him or her.

In this post I'd like to share my submission to the podcast.

Hello Shannon and Sharon,

I love your podcast. I want to share how Bruce Lee's philosophy affected my career in cybersecurity.

In 2000 I was an officer in an Air Force cybersecurity unit. The previous year my wife and I enjoyed a three-week honeymoon in China, and I was a practicing martial artist. A top-tier book publisher saw me speak at a conference and asked if I would write a book on detecting and stopping hackers. I considered this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I declined. I distinctly remember saying that I wasn't ready to write a book yet. I did not feel that I was prepared to authentically express myself in written form.

I spent several years refining my thoughts, and in 2003 I sent a detailed outline to the publisher. They accepted it, and in 2004 "The Tao of Network Security Monitoring" arrived in book stores. I named it after Bruce Lee's most famous book because I felt that I was expressing myself through my philosophy and practice of network defense. My first book was 832 pages, and I wrote a 416-page sequel the following year because I still had more to say about the topic.

The first book featured a praying mantis on the cover, and the second showed a tiger. I selected these to represent two of the five animals of kung fu.

I've written and contributed to other books since then (http://www.taosecurity.com/books.html), but my first book is the one people most often ask me about. They say that it changed the way they thought about and performed computer security. I believe I achieved my goal of authentic expression by aligning my energy with my work, and I channeled both into my writing. My book has helped me find rewarding jobs and communicate my philosophy to colleagues, students, and policy makers worldwide.

Today I am done with writing security books, and my interests largely lie elsewhere. However, after a 15 year break due to health and family issues, I've resumed my martial arts training. Thank you for sharing Bruce Lee's philosophy on a regular basis. As I work to transition into a new life phase, I find his words and your thoughts enlightening and inspiring.

Sincerely,

Richard Bejtlich ("bate-lik")

Has Bruce Lee's philosophy affected your life outside the martial arts?

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