Friday, December 9, 2016
How 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.
Richard Bejtlich ("bate-lik")
Has Bruce Lee's philosophy affected your life outside the martial arts?
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