Liars and Outliers
Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive
By Bruce Schneier
Publisher: Wiley
Final Release Date: January 2012
Pages: 384

How does society function when you can't trust everyone?

When we think about trust - we naturally think about personal relationships or bank accounts.  But that is much too narrow; trust is broader, and far more important.  Nothing in society works without trust. It is the foundation of communities, commerce, democracy, and world stability. 

In this insightful and entertaining book, Schneier weaves together ideas from across the social and biological sciences to explore how societies induce and encourage trust–and what happens when it fails in our personal lives, our businesses, communities, and the world.

In today’s hyper-connected society, understanding the mechanisms of trust is as important as understanding electricity was a century ago.  Issues of trust and security are critical to solving problems as diverse as corporate responsibility, global warming, and stagnant political systems.  After reading Liars and Outliers, you’ll think about social problems, large and small, with a new perspective.

"Schneier makes an original and powerful argument for rethinking society. . . . His message is full of insight into how we function, or don't function, and along the way we are constantly hearing from the giants—such as Emerson, Thoreau, Socrates, even Emily Dickinson."
Seymour M. Hersh, New Yorker

"Deeply philosophical yet highly accessible, Liars and Outliers is more than thought-provoking—it's the kind of book that fundamentally changes the way you think."
Daniel J. Solove, John Marshall Harlan Research Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School

"Brilliantly dissects, classifies, and orders the social dimension of security—a spectacularly palatable tonic against today's incoherent and dangerous flailing in the face of threats from terrorism to financial fraud."
Cory Doctorow, Author of Little Brother and Makers; co-editor of BoingBoing.net

"Engaging, insightful, and thought-provoking, Liars and Outliers will alter how you think about trust and security."
Dorothy Denning, Distinguished Professor of Defense Analysis, Naval Postgraduate School, and author of Information Warfare and Security

"Without trust, nothing can be achieved. Liars and Outliers is a brilliant analysis of the role of trust in society and business."
Claus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

 A note for e-book readers: For ease of reference, the figures used in this book are also located at www.schneier.com/lo.

"One of the best books I've read this year is by a security technologist, Bruce Schneier. In Liars and Outliers, he sets out to investigate how trust works in society and in business, how it is betrayed and the degree to which technology changes all of that, for the better or the worse. Schneier absolutely understands how profoundly trust oils the wheels of business and of daily life." (Margaret Heffernan, CBS MoneyWatch)

"This book will appeal not only to customers interested in computer security but also on the idea of security and trust as a whole in society." (The Bookseller, 16th December 2011)

"This book should be read by anyone in a leadership role, whether they're in the corporate or political sphere... an easy read and the ideas and thoughts are profound." (Naked Security, February 2012)

"By concentrating on the human angle and packing the book with real world examples he has successfully stretched its appeal outside that of the security specialist to the more general reader." (E & T Magazine, March 2012)

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR LIARS AND OUTLIERS

"A rich, insightfully fresh take on what security really means!"
DAVID ROPEIK, Author of How Risky is it, Really?

"Schneier has accomplished a spectacular tour de force: an enthralling ride through history, economics, and psychology, searching for the meanings of trust and security. A must read."
ALESSANDRO ACQUISTI, Associate Professor of Information Systems and Public Policy at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University

"Liars and Outliers offers a major contribution to the understandability of these issues, and has the potential to help readers cope with the ever-increasing risks to which we are being exposed. It is well written and delightful to read."
PETER G. NEUMANN, Principal Scientist in the SRI International Computer Science Laboratory

"Whether it's banks versus robbers, Hollywood versus downloaders, or even the Iranian secret police 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. Liars and Outliers will change how you think about conflict, our security, and even who we are."
ROSS ANDERSON, Professor of Security Engineering at Cambridge University and author of Security Engineering

"Readers of Bruce Schneier's Liars and Outliers will better understand technology and its consequences and become more mature practitioners."
PABLO G. MOLINA, Professor of Technology Management, Georgetown University

"Liars & Outliers is not just a book about security—it is the book about it. Schneier shows that the power of humour can be harnessed to explore even a serious subject such as security. A great read!"
FRANK FUREDI, author of On Tolerance: A Defence of Moral Independence

"This fascinating book gives an insightful and convincing framework for understanding security and trust."
JEFF YAN, Founding Research Director, Center for Cybercrime and Computer Security, Newcastle University

"By analyzing the moving parts and interrelationships among security, trust, and society, Schneier has identifi ed critical patterns, pressures, levers, and security holes within society. Clearly written, thoroughly interdisciplinary, and always smart, Liars and Outliers provides great insight into resolving society's various dilemmas."
JERRY KANG, Professor of Law, UCLA

"By keeping the social dimension of trust and security in the center of his analysis, Schneier breaks new ground with an approach that both theoretically grounded and practically applicable."
JONATHAN ZITTRAIN, Professor of Law and Computer Science, Harvard University and author of The Future of the Internet—And How to Stop It

"Eye opening. Bruce Schneier provides a perspective you need to understand today’s world."
STEVEN A. LEBLANC, Director of Collections, Harvard University and author of Constant Battles: Why We Fight

"An outstanding investigation of the importance of trust in holding society together and promoting progress. Liars and Outliers provides valuable new insights into security and economics."
ANDREW ODLYZKO, Professor, School of Mathematics, University of Minnesota

"What Schneier has to say about trust—and betrayal—lays a groundwork for greater understanding of human institutions. This is an essential exploration as society grows in size and complexity."
JIM HARPER, Director of Information Policy Studies, CATO Institute and author of Identity Crisis: How Identification is Overused and Misunderstood

"Society runs on trust. Liars and Outliers explains the trust gaps we must fill to help society run even better."
M. ERIC JOHNSON, Director, Glassmeyer/McNamee Center for Digital Strategies, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

"An intellectually exhilarating and compulsively readable analysis of the subtle dialectic between cooperation and defection in human society. Intellectually rigorous and yet written in a lively, conversational style, Liars and Outliers will change the way you see the world."
DAVID LIVINGSTONE SMITH, author of Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others

"Schneier tackles trust head on, bringing all his intellect and a huge amount of research to bear. The best thing about this book, though, is that it's great fun to read."
ANDREW MCAFEE, Principal Research Scientist, MIT Center for Digital Business and co-author of Race Against the Machine

"Bruce Schneier is our leading expert in security. But his book is about much more than reducing risk. It is a fascinating, thought-provoking treatise about humanity and society and how we interact in the game called life."
JEFF JARVIS, author of Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live

"Both accessible and thought provoking, Liars and Outliers invites readers to move beyond fears and anxieties about security in modern life to understand the role of everyday people in creating a healthy society. This is a must-read!"
DANAH BOYD, Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University

"Trust is the sine qua non of the networked age and trust is predicated on security. Bruce Schneier’s expansive and readable work is rich with insights that can help us make our shrinking world a better one."
DON TAPSCOTT, co-author of Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business
and the World

"An engaging and wide-ranging rumination on what makes society click. Highly recommended."
JOHN MUELLER, author of Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them

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By Ichimonji10

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Comments about oreilly Liars and Outliers:

This is a fantastic book, and I'm writing this review largely to counter the lone one-star review for this book. Now, I must admit that it's been well over a year since I've read this book, and many of it's details have escaped my mind. That said, I recall enjoying the book immensely, and many of the themes laid out within Liars and Outliers have stuck with me and still affect my thinking.

Schneier does not spend this book explaining how clever cryptography, bulletproof safes, strong-armed law enforcement agencies, or security cameras will or won't keep a particular object safe. Instead, he uses object lessons to sketch larger ideas: complex ecosystems, parasies, societal pressures, defectors, and -- above all else -- trust. How do you induce trust in a society? What mechanisms should be used to induce trust in a given group, based on it's size, geographical dispersion, and other characteristics? What other species besides humans use trust? What is the red queen effect? Is a completely trustworthy society one that you'd *really* want to live in?

Though at times pedantic, the themes explored in this book are compelling, and Schneier does due dilligence to exploring them.

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