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Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust That Society Needs to Thrive Hardcover – 17 Feb 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (17 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118143302
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118143308
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.1 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 258,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

In today's hyper-connected society, understanding the mechanisms of trust is crucial. Issues of trust are critical to solving problems as diverse as corporate responsibility, global warming, and the political system. In this insightful and entertaining book, Schneier weaves together ideas from across the social and biological sciences to explain how society induces trust. He shows the unique role of trust in facilitating and stabilizing human society. He discusses why and how trust has evolved, why it works the way it does, and the ways the information society is changing everything.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Bruce Schneier is one of the most respected writers on the topic of security. Previously, his work focused on identifying what it all means in terms of Information Technology; in this book, he takes a step out into the wider world to explain just how the same issues of security and trust operate within society as a whole.

He has a way of clearly explaining the real issues that helps even those with limited experience understand some of the more complex scenarios. He takes the reader step by step through the various problems and makes even the most dry topic thoroughly readable. The writing is interspersed with real world examples that highlight those areas where things work well; and he takes various agencies to task over the foolish policies and strategies that do nothing to help secure the individual, organisation or nation.

Those that work in IT should definitely read this; and it would be of considerable use to senior managers, HR staff, politicians and anyone that has an interest in how society is developing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before I started reading "Liars and Outliars" I had never given much thought to the topic of trust in society. Of course, I had thought about security, but mainly from a technical standpoint: how to use it to secure myself and ourselves against threats from the outside. This book has taugt me how trust and security belong together and how the latter can be used to fill up the gaps that result from lacking the former. This book stands out, because both of its well-researched models and theories and because of its practicality: each of the main ideas is larded with examples that make understanding the presented ideas really easy.

This book is divided in four parts. In the first part Schneier brings the reader up to par with the current state of the 'science of trust', as he calls it. In these chapters he talks about the way human beings and some animals cooperate, how cooperation developed in their respective species, what altruism is, and what a society is. This first section of the book ends with an interesting set of societal dilemmas and - most importantly - a framework by which each of these dilemmas can be understood. In this framework Schneier puts the societal (or group) interest over against the interest of the party (or person) that wants to defect.

Part two of the book presents four pressures influencing every societal dilemma, namely societal, moral, reputational and institutional. Each one of these parts of this model of trust is described in detail and explained through examples. This part of the book ends with an overview of the topic of security and how it relates towards these pressures. In this chapter, Schneier shows once again how good and well-balanced security is necessary to counterbalance the different forms of trust.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of mr. Schneiers work ever since I encountered it during a cryptography class in university. Bruce Schneier knows his IT security, he is an acclaimed expert on the wider issues surrounding (IT) operational security, and I appreciate him for that. However, when he first announced this book I saw two traps he could walk into, both related to the fact that with this book he would step far outside his academic home base.

First, like a physicist approaching economics, he could look around in his new field, loudly announce everything the experts have been doing wrong for decades, and proceed to make a fool of himself. Second, like an experienced excel user approaching an actual programming problem for the first time, he could be spending pages and pages furiously applying completely the wrong tool to an actual problem, wasting everybody's time.

Fortunately, mr. Schneier has avoided both traps with style by taking this book in a -for me at least- unexpected direction. This book is a tool-kit to help you think about trust and security related issues as they occur everywhere in society. In a slow but steady pace, using a lot of case-studies as examples, mr. Schneier shows us how to identify these types of issues, how to think about the various actors involved, and -and this is the most important bit- how to approach a possible solution. The book talks about all trade-offs involved, and also spends sufficient time about the fallacy of perfect security, and the impossibility of eliminating the need for trust. He never goes so far as to propose solutions for the many complex problems in this field that society faces, but he establishes an excellent vocabulary for talking about this type of problem, and that makes this book very valuable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, written by a specialist in computer security, discusses the problems of trust in society and comes garlanded with praise by "distinguished" professor of this and "emeritus" professor of that.

The author has read widely in psychology, behavioural economics and the other sexy new research fields. It's hard to see how he could write such a boring book, but he's managed it. With bullet points that go on forever, repetition, clichéd anecdotes, tables that reveal nothing and flow diagrams that obfuscate more than they illuminate, reading this book is like listening to the most tedious sociology lecturer or a third rate management consultant.

I struggled to the end, reluctant to think I'd wasted my money and recognise that I'd learnt nothing new.
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