Henk-Jan van der Klis's Reviews > Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive

Liars and Outliers by Bruce Schneier
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's review
Jul 25, 2012

really liked it

Bruce Schneier collected wisdom from several disciplines to Liars & Outliers: enable the trust that society needs to thrive. My legends from Economics class, the principal-agent problem, Prisoner’s Dilemma, Coase‘s ceiling. Psychological experiments on trick or treat, personal versus group interest, self interest versus the sake of others. Societal dilemmas fill up this book: from overfishing, tax payments, whistle blowers, Wikileaks to child molestation en garment pricing strategies.
In general you trust a lot of people, organizations, governments and other groups. Nothing in society works without trust. When trust fails or is breached, punishment, security measures, moral pressure are brought in. These measures costs us an awful lot of money. The world would be a much better place if we could trust each other without restrictions. Corporate responsibility, global warming, and our moribund political system wouldn’t bother us anymore. Current problems as greedy banks versus robbers, Hollywood celebrities versus downloaders, or even the Iranian secret police (or the officials in Yemen, Libya or Syria) against democracy activists, security is often a dynamic struggle between a majority who want to impose their will, and a minority who want to push the boundaries. Was the invasian in Iraq OK? What about the US supporting rebels that are anti-US and anti-Israel? And, closer to home: does it matter whether you vote or not at the next election? Are you willing the high price for the clothes you want early in the season, or wait for a lower price, risking unavailability?
Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist who studies the human side of security. He is the author of eleven books; and hundreds of articles, essays, and academic papers. He has testified before Congress, is a frequent guest on television and radio, and is regularly quoted in the press. His blog and monthly newsletter at www.schneier.com reach over devoted 250,000 devoted readers world-wide. Liars & Outliers is definitely an insightful and entertaining book.

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