Scott's Reviews > Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive

Liars and Outliers by Bruce Schneier
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Apr 16, 12

bookshelves: owned-physical, security
Read in April, 2012

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 really looking for a 202 or higher level book on this stuff, with more concrete "And here are some ideas on what we can do." Telling me "We need to establish generalized security practices that remove incentives while maintaining an ability to innovate" (paraphrased) does very little good when you were just talking about regulatory capture and how a major issue is that Corporations have a major incentive that is at odds with society's incentives.

Leaving that aside, it is well written, clear, and easy followable by a lay person. However, unfortunately, that's exactly the person who isn't really going to be reading this book unless they are forced to for a class or other authority figure. I figure I'll get a fair bit of use out of using examples and discussions to help me when I'm discussing with my friends/coworkers to try and get them to come around to my point of view.

Oddly enough, the most grating issue I had with the book was the fact that it uses endnotes rather than footnotes, a pet peeve; however, despite the amount of whitespace and page real estate footnotes take up, that makes them easy to reference and review versus endlessly flipping back and forth, especially when you use the endnotes to make parenthetical commentary, versus just referencese to facts and figures.
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