Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive

By Bruce Schneier

Rating: 5 stars

Bruce Schneier started life as a security expert but his interests have been expanding over time, and this book is really a general sociology of trust, and what enables large-scale societies to exist, never mind to thrive. He talks about the four different societal pressures that can be brought to bear against those thinking about “defecting” from a group: moral, reputational, institutional and security. He discusses each of these in detail and then looks at larger scale societies and how these pressures can fail against corporations and other institutions.

The book is very easy to read and Schneier lays out his case clearly and compellingly. As he says in the introduction, this isn’t a comprehensive work, it’s a starting point. The notes and references are extensive so there’s lots more reading that can be done around the subject. But if you’re looking for a good starting place on how groups enable and maintain trust, and the mechanisms by which that trust can fail, you could do much worse than starting here.

Book details

ISBN: 9781118143308
Publisher: Wiley
Year of publication: 2012

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