Review: Liars and Outliers

Without ever slamming the book down in disgust, I seem to have stopped reading Bruce Schneier's new book halfway through. He's a smart guy and I love his blog. But this book is--by design--short on security details. Instead it is concerned to give a unified theory of trust, society, and indeed human motivation.

As social theorists go, Schneier is far from the worst. He's an insightful guy and a clear writer, if a bit too ready to deploy Humean assumptions without argument. My guess, however, is that Schneier's best readers enjoy his work for its attention to detail and focus on the smaller-scale mechanisms of security. Indeed, it is Schneier himself who largely trained me into wanting, in a treatise on security, less grand theorizing and more discussion of smaller contexts.

I regret neither buying the book nor failing to finish it.