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Bruce Schneier
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Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust That Society Needs to Thrive

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  1,118 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
How does society function when you can't trust everyone? When we think about trust, we naturally think about personal relationships or bank vaults. That's too narrow. Trust is much broader, and much more important. Nothing in society works without trust. It's the foundation of communities, commerce, democracy--everything.

In this insightful and entertaining book, Schneier w
ebook, 384 pages
Published January 27th 2012 by Wiley (first published January 1st 2012)
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สฤณี อาชวานันทกุล
สนุกดี พูดถึงกลไกทีผลักดันใหคนทำตาม "ผลประโยชนของกลุม" (group interest) วามีสีประเภท คือ moral, reputational,institutional และ security เชน ผลประโยชนของกลุมคือ "ไมใหสังคมมีขโมยมากเกินไป" กตองใชทังการตอกยำวาการขโมยผิดศีลธรรม (moral), ประณามขโมยใหเสียชือเสียง (reputational), ออกกฏหมายและใชตำรวจจับขโมย (institutional) และติดตังลอคและสัญญาณกันขโมยตามบาน (security)

ในสีประเภทนี กลไกชนิด moral, reputational "เบสิก" ทีสุด ใชไดแตเฉพาะสังคมทียังมีขนาดเลก เชน ระดับหมูบาน เมือสังคมใหญขึนตองใชกลไกเชิงสถาบันแ
Bruce Schneier is, according to the quote from the Register on the inside sleeve notes, "The closest thing the security industry has to a Rock Star." And, like the actor Chuck Norris, Schneier is the only other person I'm aware of who has his own 'facts' website. Listing page after page of dubious, but sometimes amusing, facts about Bruce's encryption super-powers. Although jokes about encryption probably have a fairly narrow audience Bruce Schneier Facts gives us my personal favourite: "Bruce S ...more
Josh Hamacher
It pains me slightly to rate this book three stars, as I've been a fan of Bruce Schneier for years. I've subscribed to his newsletter since at least 1999 and enjoyed every issue. Unfortunately this book reads like a newsletter article that has been stretched, through repetition, to the length of a short book.

It's very well-written and is a fast read; Schneier has a real knack for explaining potentially complicated concepts clearly and simply. The thesis, that societies and organizations apply a
The human world is strongly conditioned by beliefs, attitudes and cognitive biases that we received from our evolutionary heritage. This topic has been one of the focal points of my reading for several years now, and I can attest that Bruce Schneier’s Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive serves as an excellent overview.

The book’s dust jacket tells us that Schneier is a “security technologist”; his wikipedia page clarifies that he is a cryptographer and computer sec
I've read Schneier's work online at his blog, so when I saw he was publishing a book, I said "Sure! He writes well, discusses topics relevant to my interests in security and process."

Reading this, I got a wonderful 101 book that collects a wide breadth of theories, generalizations, and examples of how society works and balances the need to create norms, maintain norms, and pervert those norms to innovate, as well as how the parasites who take advantage of those norms exist.

Unfortunately, I was r
Matt Brown
An interesting read, but nothing ground breaking if you're a following of Bruce Schneier's blog or have read any of his opinion columns regarding trust and security.

The book covers the concepts of trust, and security and examines our natural instincts in relation to these often fail in the face of new technology and the growth of society. Much time is spent examining various difficult to solve social dilemmas in the context of this, and the introduction of background material from the fields of
Jan 08, 2012 Jur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
We learn to trust strangers from a very young age. Not just uncles, cousins and neighbours, but also teachers, policemen, doctors and even newsreaders on TV. Compared to our ancestors and other animal species, humans have raised trust to unknown heights. Bruce Schneier , in his new book Liars & Outliers, takes us on a tour of how that trust came to be, how it manages to work in the majority of cases and why it doesn’t work in the rest.

Schneier uses Francis Fukuyama’s definition of trust, whi
Eduardo Santiago
Mar 04, 2012 Eduardo Santiago rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It feels slightly disturbing to read this book so soon after Fukuyama's Trust and even more so the same week that This American Life aired episode 459, What Kind of Country, in which they chronicle disturbing societal breakdowns. Schneier covers trust, tradeoffs, more (and more interesting!) Prisoner's Dilemma discussion than any three books on Game Theory, evolutionary theory, economics, politics, current affairs.

What I found most interesting was his frank discussion of scaling problems: Trust
Michael Burnam-Fink
When I heard that the author of the absolutely brilliant Secrets and Lies was turning his slantwise gaze from computer networks to society as a whole, I was excited. These days, security is a big business, and problems of insecurity bedevil the future. Schneier lays out his framework for how trust is required modern society function, and how the liars and outliers of the title abuse trust for their own advantage.

It is not that this is a bad book, but it is very general. Yes, we use morality, rep
Sep 16, 2012 Yune rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think you'll lean toward this one or not depending on how the subject matter interests you: what impetus is there for societies and communities to function together for the common good? What about those (defectors) who don't follow the rules or prefer to pursue their own selfish profit?

Full of bullet points and pro-con charts, this book leans toward pedagogical in tone, although it's fairly approachable. (I'd call it easy to read as opposed to enjoyable.) Its view is a bit self-admittedly simp
Dec 21, 2012 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Competing interests
Recommended to Alan by: Reputation; Roberta
This may be one of the most important books you'll never read.

In Liars and Outliers, Bruce Schneier (known—and with good reason—to The Register as "The closest thing the security industry has to a rock star") has produced a remarkably clear-eyed and dispassionate assessment of one of the most critical issues facing the human species—the fact that the notions of trust and security that served us well enough when we were scattered tribes of hunters and farmers do not scale up to the numbers and ki
Jul 06, 2014 Nils rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good book on the basic social challenge of security, which provides a basic framework for thinking through the various "pressures" that are available for preventing people from "defecting" into anti-social behavior. There are basically four: moral pressures, reputational pressures, institutional pressures, and technological pressures. These work at different scales, with the former working better at smaller group scales, and the latter being generally more effective at bigger scales.

The b
John Schwabacher
Note: The edition I read has the subtitle Enabling the Trust That Society Needs to Thrive.

My good friend Jim Wiggins recommended this book highly. I found it interesting and very logical, but not earth-shattering. I did find myself wondering if that is because I haven't dealt with the issues involved before and just don't realize the contribution he's making.

Everything is laid out in a very logical structure.
Bruce Schneier discusses trust as a necessary part of society and points out how much we
Bryan Murdock
I was excited to read this book by the legend himself ( The ideas are important, but it felt like death by examples reading this. The whole book is basically this: present a point and then tell 100 different little stories that back up the point and make it more clear, and then, if like me, you can't resist a good footnote you get about 100 more stories for each point. Many of the stories where interesting and did help bring the points home, but man oh man, for me ...more
Oct 05, 2012 Nilesh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book effectively theorizes that almost all real life activities are an expression of "trust" or "security". Adam Smith would claim all real life activities as an effort to further economic interest. Richard Dawkins would make them an evolution thing. Some pope might believe in the religious meanings and some Plato in moral. All these might be valid even if narrow perspectives from particular vantage points, except that trust/security is exceptionally uninteresting, ridiculously narrow and of ...more
Disappointing. I expect more from this author and perhaps when he leaves his field of cryptography and to some extent computer security, I shouldn't. This book did have moments of brilliance - it kind of caught its stride around part 3 - but lost it before getting to the final section. So what was wrong? First of all it was basically a psychology book but written first-person and chatty as though it were a bad high school paper. And I've got a lot of familiarity with a lot of this material - and ...more
Jan 24, 2014 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I chose to read this book because I have been contemplating the interface of trust and justice in my thinking. Schneier is a bit pedantic but the themes are consistent and the last two chapters are worth reading more than once because they get to core concerns about how a society orders itself and how this is changing given our technological innovations. It also points out that in spite of rapid technological advances, the human heart remains remarkable consistent in seeking its own good. Remind ...more
Great vocabulary for talking about social dilemmas and society-wide dynamics, and some sobering observations.

Not nearly enough actual content for this length of a book.

I wish everybody read this book; it explains important things well and clearly. But it's the kind of book I want everybody to have read, more than something I'd actually recommend as an enjoyable and edifying experience.
Apr 03, 2012 Andreas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
An absolutely amazing book that I recommend everyone reads. It goes into deep detail about why the security structure of society is changing right now, and what we could do against that change.
Xavier Shay
Jan 21, 2017 Xavier Shay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insightful book about various tradeoffs between security, cost, and freedom.

"One of the great achievements of our species is our ability to solve societal dilemmas. In a way, we solve them by cheating. That is, we don't solve them within the parameters of the game. Instead, we modify the game to eliminate the dilemma. Recall the two drivers stuck behind a fallen tree that neither one can move by himself. They're not in a Prisoner's Dilemma. They're not even in a Snowdrift Dilemma. In their situa
Sep 15, 2011 Kari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the main reasons I enjoy reading Schneier's take on security is that he has become very technology-agnostic and has started to borrow tools from economics to solve security problems. Secrets and Lies was still very much about information security but by the middle of Beyond Fear Schenier had realized that security is more about society than just technology. In Liars and Outliers, Schneier builds a multi-disciplinary framework that centers on society and the trust within. In this model, se ...more
Siddarth Gore
It starts with an interesting promise about giving an insight into how trust is formed and lost in our society. And also delivers on it somewhat. But after about 1/3rd into it becomes repetitive. Also it becomes more common sense and general knowledge more than deep insight and revelation.

What I liked the most were the anecdotes, ranging from the roman empires fear of Christianity to the United States' fear of Wikileakes.
Jul 29, 2013 Itzme rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I greatly enjoyed parts of Liars and Outliers and found many of its numerous and diverse examples very intriguing. However, in my overall opinion the book started out strongly, but then dragged in the middle and fizzled out in the end. Nonetheless, I would rate it a worthwhile read, albeit a bit disappointing.

The book is divided into four sections. The first is titled “The Science of Trust” and presents what I found to be a fascinating and very accessible review of findings from a wide array of
Paul Bonamy
Nov 06, 2012 Paul Bonamy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liars and Outliers isn't about how to 'fix' society. Nor is it about detecting when we're being conned, or, necessarily, how to protect oneself from confidence men or savvy scammers. Liars and Outliers is about something rather more fundamental: trust. In order for society to flourish - be it a small farming community or the vast, global society we're developing now - people have to be able to trust one another to do the 'right' thing, whatever that is, most of the time. We have to work together ...more
Jun 09, 2017 Jeffrey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting, but a little dry.
Kindle version suffered from table formatting
Nick Beer
Aug 26, 2013 Nick Beer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. Its style was conversational and friendly as it discussed the broad and complicated topic of trust among people, corporations, cultures, and countries. This book was my first introduction to many of these ideas, so the examples and entry level discussion kept the material in reach and interesting. After laying the groundwork, many of the ideas received more attention and detail. This was engaging and kept my attention. There have been many reviews that have done a good job o ...more
Janis Orlovs
Mar 12, 2017 Janis Orlovs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice read, some topics comes back from previous books. But still fun to read
Jan 17, 2014 Rossdavidh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: white
Subtitle: "Enabling the Trust That Society Needs to Thrive". First of all, the title is brilliant, capturing perfectly the tension between the need for a society to identify and punish sociopaths (minor or otherwise), and the need to allow enough divergence in behavior to allow innovation. A society that fails to do the first, will go the way of the Roman Empire in its later days, with plenty of people ready to pull marble off the public works and sneak it home to burn for lime at home, and not ...more
Babak Fakhamzadeh
This book is about impersonal trust, basically how you as an individual put trust in the behavior of others within your society. "Will that driver stop at that stop sign?" Do you have to count the change you get back when shopping?
Trust allows for making social life more predictable, creating a sense of community and making it easier for people to work together.

The author emphasizes security as a precondition for trust. Humans, as a species, with relative extraordinary intelligence, are able to
Nov 27, 2012 Breakingviews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By Martin Langfield

Without trust, society splits into warring tribes and parasites prosper. The financial crisis of 2008 is a powerful example of what can happen when individuals or small groups set their own gain above the common good. Meanwhile, the U.S. debt debate shows how political polarization can lead to potentially crippling paralysis.

People are moral creatures, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt writes in “The Righteous Mind.” Citing brain research, evolutionary psychology and the soc
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Liars and Outlier...: Q&A with Bruce Schneier about Liars and Outliers 1 4 Apr 24, 2012 05:41PM  
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  • Metasploit: The Penetration Tester's Guide
  • Reversing: Secrets of Reverse Engineering
  • Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime — from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door
  • Silence on the Wire: A Field Guide to Passive Reconnaissance and Indirect Attacks
  • The Evolution of Cooperation
  • The Art of Software Security Assessment: Identifying and Avoiding Software Vulnerabilities
  • America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and Warfare
  • The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier
  • The Web Application Hacker's Handbook: Discovering and Exploiting Security Flaws
  • Before the Lights Go Out: Conquering the Energy Crisis Before It Conquers Us
  • Writing Secure Code
  • The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery
  • The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet
  • Hacking: The Art of Exploitation
  • Counter Hack Reloaded: A Step-By-Step Guide to Computer Attacks and Effective Defenses

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Bruce Schneier is "one of the world's foremost security experts" (Wired) and the best-selling author of thirteen books. He speaks and writes regularly for major media venues, and his newsletter and blog reach more than 250,000 people worldwide. He is a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and the CTO of Resilient Systems, Inc.
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“One hundred years ago, everyone could have personal privacy. You and your friend could walk into an empty field, look around to see that no one else was nearby, and have a level of privacy that has forever been lost. As Whitfield Diffie has said: "No right of private conversation was enumerated in the Constitution. I don't suppose it occurred to anyone at the time that it could be prevented” 7 likes
“It doesn’t matter how big your neocortex is or how abstractly you can reason: unless you can trust others, your species will forever remain stuck in the Stone Age.” 1 likes
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