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 trusteveryone?

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

In this insightful and entertaining book, Schneier weavestogether ideas from across the social and biological sciences toexplore how societies induce and encourage trust–and whathappens when it fails in our personal lives, our businesses,communities, and the world.

In today’s hyper-connected society, understanding themechanisms of trust is as important as understanding electricitywas a century ago.  Issues of trust and security are criticalto solving problems as diverse as corporate responsibility, globalwarming, and stagnant political systems.  After readingLiars and Outliers, you’ll think about socialproblems, large and small, with a new perspective.

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

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

"Brilliantly dissects, classifies, and orders the socialdimension of security—a spectacularly palatable tonic againsttoday's incoherent and dangerous flailing in the face of threatsfrom terrorism to financial fraud."
Cory Doctorow, Author of Little Brother andMakers; co-editor of

"Engaging, insightful, and thought-provoking, Liars andOutliers will alter how you think about trust andsecurity."
Dorothy Denning, Distinguished Professor of DefenseAnalysis, Naval Postgraduate School, and author of InformationWarfare and Security

"Without trust, nothing can be achieved. Liars andOutliers is a brilliant analysis of the role of trust insociety and business."
Claus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, WorldEconomic Forum

 A note for e-book readers: For ease of reference,the figures used in this book are also located at

"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)


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

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

"Liars and Outliers offers a major contribution to theunderstandability of these issues, and has the potential to helpreaders cope with the ever-increasing risks to which we are beingexposed. It is well written and delightful to read."
PETER G. NEUMANN, Principal Scientist in the SRIInternational Computer Science Laboratory

"Whether it's banks versus robbers, Hollywood versusdownloaders, or even the Iranian secret police against democracyactivists, security is often a dynamic struggle between a majoritywho want to impose their will, and a minority who want to push theboundaries. Liars and Outliers will change how you thinkabout conflict, our security, and even who we are."
ROSS ANDERSON, Professor of Security Engineering atCambridge University and author of Security Engineering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"An intellectually exhilarating and compulsively readableanalysis of the subtle dialectic between cooperation and defectionin human society. Intellectually rigorous and yet written in alively, conversational style, Liars and Outliers will changethe way you see the world."
DAVID LIVINGSTONE SMITH, author of Less ThanHuman: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others

"Schneier tackles trust head on, bringing all his intellect anda 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, MITCenter for Digital Business and co-author of Race Against theMachine

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

"Both accessible and thought provoking, Liars andOutliers invites readers to move beyond fears and anxietiesabout security in modern life to understand the role of everydaypeople 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 ispredicated on security. Bruce Schneier’s expansive andreadable work is rich with insights that can help us make ourshrinking world a better one."
DON TAPSCOTT, co-author of Macrowikinomics:Rebooting Business
and the World

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

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Large Ideas

By Ichimonji10

from Vermont, USA

Verified Reviewer

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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