Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust That Society Needs to Thrive Hardcover – 17 Feb 2012
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As Bruce Schneier explains, "All complex ecosystems, whether they are biological ecosystems like the human body, natural ecosystems like a rain forest, social ecosystems like an... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Robert Morris
For the sake of full disclosure, I should acknowledge that I'm a big fan of Bruce Schneier; I think Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World is one of the best books... Read morePublished on 16 Jan. 2013 by John Dexter
I greatly enjoyed reading this book; every few minutes, it seemed, I'd pick up my iPad to look up a name or event mentioned in passing. Read morePublished on 11 Jan. 2013 by Alex T
the way Bruce presents the dilemmas that lie behind every single aspect of our lives is just brilliant. Read morePublished on 5 Dec. 2012 by sl4v1k
I am in the process of reading Bruce Schneier's latest book, "Liars and Outliers"...Very good it is too. Read more
Bruce Schneier's writing career has followed a well defined path from the specific to the general. He started with Applied Cryptography, a highly technical reference on computer... Read morePublished on 1 Nov. 2012 by Neil Carthy
Bruce Schneier lives in a very different world. His specialty has long been IT security, and he has drilled so deep, no one can compare. Read morePublished on 26 July 2012 by David Wineberg
I've followed Bruce's work for many years, so I had a good idea of what to expect from his latest work.
It does not disappoint. Read more