Book review: "Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive" by Bruce Schneier.

The book attempts to present a grand unified theory of trust, security, and social conflict. I'm not terribly convinced by many of minor points, but as far as grand syntheses go it works surprisingly well, and provides a good way to reason about security systems.

One thing that's infuriating is huge number of citations and notes in the book. There are even notes for the notes. It's really asking for "open in a new tab" function, but Kindle doesn't really have it (and paper book even less so). Maybe future ebook readers will be better at it.

Many of these minor points and their citations are also extremely dubious - especially anything to do with human evolution in early chapters. They're not really essential in any way, and I feel the book would be better if it increased its reliability threshold for citing something as a fact by a lot, and just cut a lot of this crap. It gets better in latter chapters, which are closer to author's area of expertise.

The book is non-technical, and for a very good reason since security technology is probably the least important part of security. It's also pretty densely packed with information and reasonably brief.

I'd highly recommend it to pretty much everyone - both to people who have to deal with security daily (like programmers), and to general public interested in how society works, and things fail.

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