My Next Book: Title and Cover

As my regular readers already know, I’m in the process of writing my next book. It’s a book about why security exists: specifically, how a group of people protects itself from individuals within that group. My working title has been The Dishonest Minority. The idea behind the title is that “honesty” is defined by social convention, then those that don’t follow the social conventions are by definition dishonest.

In my second blog post about the book, there was a lot of commentary about the word “dishonest.” The problem is that there are two kinds of dishonest people: those who are selfish, and those who are differently moral than the rest of society. So the word has to apply to both burglars and abolitionists. It has to apply to a criminal within society as a whole, and a police informant within a society of criminals. It has to apply to people who don’t pay their taxes because they’re selfish, and those who don’t pay because they are morally opposed to what the government is doing with the money. It has to apply to both Bernie Madoff and Gandhi.

It’s true that it’s a bit pejorative to use the word “dishonest” to describe both Madoff and Gandhi. But I can’t think of a better word. Here are some options:

  • The Dishonest Minority
  • The Dangerous Minority
  • The Deviant Minority
  • The Disobedient Minority

I don’t really like any of them.

Another option is to explicitly call out the two different types:

  • Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People
  • Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People
  • Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Dangerous People
  • Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dangerous People
  • Criminals, Activists, and Other Dangerous People
  • Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People
  • Jesus, the Two Thieves, and other Dangerous People
  • Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats
  • Crime, Revolution, and Other Dangers

Alliteration is always a plus. Biblical references I’m less sure about.

I like this general concept for title, because the potential reader will be intrigued how the two are related. They’re both “transgressors,” which might be a good word for the title.

  • Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Transgressors
  • Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Transgressors
  • Crime, Activism, and Other Transgressions
  • Murder, Revolution, and Other Transgressions

Or the word alone:

  • Transgressors
  • Transgressions

The subtitle is still one of these:

  • Security and its Role in Modern Society
  • Security and its Role in Protecting Modern Society
  • Security and its Role in Defending Modern Society
  • Security and its Role in Defending Society
  • Security and its Role in Protecting Society

Other options:

  • Protecting Society through Security
  • Securing Society from its Deviants

In general, I like an exciting title paired with a descriptive subtitle. But I’m willing to be convinced otherwise.

Remember, the goal of a title is to make people—people who don’t already know me and my writing—want to read my book.

Question 1: What do you think of the title options? What other words would work, either in the “adjective noun” title style, or the “A, B, and other Cs” style? What other completely different titles or subtitles would work?

Next: cover options. I’m not sure how much book cover matters anymore, now that my books will primarily be sold from online stores and in ebook formats. But I’d like a cover that doesn’t suck. And it’s hard. “Security” is a concept that’s full of trite metaphors. And it’s hard to come up with a picture that really captures what I am writing about. (Maybe this one.) Below are five options that my publisher has sent me.

1. proposed cover 2. proposed cover 3. proposed cover 4. proposed cover 5. proposed cover

Note that the stock photos sometimes have watermarks, or are shown in artificially reduced resolution. If we actually use one of the photos, those artifacts will disappear.

Question 2: What do you think of the cover options: the stock photos, the typefaces, the colors, the overall layout of the cover? Will any of those work, or do we have to go back to the drawing board?

I appreciate your opinions. Please first give them to me cold, without reading the other comments. Then feel free to comment on what other people think.

Posted on June 21, 2011 at 11:20 AM602 Comments


David Durant June 21, 2011 11:31 AM

Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People

Is a great title – loving dual use of “dangerous” (dangerous to the ‘people’ and dangerous to the status quo).

I prefer cover one and looking at four gives me a headache…

Jamie Hall June 21, 2011 11:32 AM

As another idea for a title, based on the original theme, how about “The Subversive Minority”? I feel that it loses the dual-nature that you identified in ‘dishonest’ but still holds a similar meaning to what you intended.

The cover images all look great (my favourite is 4), but I get a slight impression that they look like novel covers, rather than the style of book that you write.

Best wishes for the book; I’m really looking forward to reading it,


Anonymous Beeotch June 21, 2011 11:33 AM

My vote:


Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Transgressors


Security and its Role in Protecting Modern Society

Louis June 21, 2011 11:33 AM

I like No 3. No 5 is OK too.

I’m glad you are writing a new book, even though is not the one I’d love you wrote. Would we ever see a third edition of Applied Cryptography?

Geoffrey Kidd June 21, 2011 11:33 AM

What Madoff and Gandhi have in common is:

The Rule-Breakers

Looking forward to the book. One possible cover suggestion is an obviously tampered-with combination lock?

Good luck. Thank you.

awkBrian June 21, 2011 11:35 AM

I don’t get cover #2. Is it a Venn diagram showing honest people, dishonest people and people who are both honest and dishonest?

Gabriel June 21, 2011 11:35 AM

Perhaps something like “The Non-conformant Minority”? Or something indicating non-conformance? Since, both Madoff and Gandhi did not comply/conform with what was expected of them by law and society.

C June 21, 2011 11:36 AM

“Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People” has a great ring to it. I want to read that book.

“Security and its Role in Modern Society” is the most versatile subtitle. If your book focuses on “protecting” or “defending”, then you should be specific and use one of those.

Cover 2 is best for me. Something about the Venn diagram makes me really curious.
Cover 3’s font is not appealing. The photos in 4 and 5 don’t appeal to the photographer in me. Cover 1 comes in 2nd place.

mdb June 21, 2011 11:37 AM

I like “Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People”. I have one issue with this, there have been so many messiahs (think Koresh) that many people will not see it as a contrast. Sinners and Saints is roughly the same, but just doesn’t do it for me.

I like “Security and its Role in Protecting Society”, as specifying modern would seem redundant, I doubt anyone would think the book is about protecting ancient Rome.

I like cover 2

Petréa Mitchell June 21, 2011 11:37 AM

Can we vote for a hybrid? Right now I’m leanning toward something like…

Liars and Outliers: How Society Protects Itself Against Threats From Madoff to Gandhi

I think the duck would make a brilliant cover image, if your publisher could get the rights.

I vote “meh” across the board on the cover design options.

james June 21, 2011 11:38 AM

No opinion on the title – you could call it A compendium of Bruce’s Bullshit, and I’d buy it.
I do not like the flowing type on two of the covers, the Title on one and your Name on the other. Stick with the block type.
I like the 3 dark covers better – makes the Title pop a little more.

Jonathan Sandoe June 21, 2011 11:39 AM

  1. I like the title “The Dishonest Minority”. I also like the word transgression, because it carries a lot of moral ambiguity. How about a subtitle of “Security and Transgression in Modern Society”?
  2. I like cover #4 because it is brighter.

Mabbo June 21, 2011 11:39 AM

“Dangerous”, “Deviant” and “Disobedient” all imply someone we shouldn’t like. Similarly, the “and other dangerous people” makes me think the point of the book is to call out bad people. But, that isn’t really the point. Some of these ‘dishonest’ people will wind up being seen, as you rightly say, as Saints.

“Dishonest” may not be the best word, but maybe there isn’t a good word in English to sum up “People who do things contrary to the social norms for the benefit of themselves or society”. Which is a shame, our language really ought to have such a word. (Oh! Oh! Invent a term Bruce! You did it with “Security Theater”!)

I quite dislike the cover #3, mostly for the font, but partially because it looks like an angsty teen drama novel. #5 looks like the cover of the latest Zombie flick. The lens effect of #4 has been overdone. #2 is nice, clean, simple, but isn’t quite catchy to the eye.

So, I like #1 the best. Mind you, I’m hoping you release on Kindle, where the cover is less relevant.

Tim June 21, 2011 11:39 AM

The Dishonest Minority: Securing Society from its Deviants

Cover 2. It’s classy. As you said, the others are all pretty cheesy. 4 and maybe 1 are ok (except for the white-on-white).

I also think “Liars, Outliers, and X” is cool, but I don’t like the “and other Y.”

Maybe “Liars, Outliers, and Barbed Wire”? Ok that’s pretty bad. 😛

Ben June 21, 2011 11:40 AM

Agitators, Dissidents and dangerous beliefs

It’s not just the people that are dangerous, it’s the belief’s people have on how secure things are in their view.

I like #4. The world isn’t just black and white with grey mixed in, it has some color, even if it’s a bit blurry.

Joshua Kehn June 21, 2011 11:40 AM

My picks from your listed examples:

Title: “Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People”
Subtitle: “Security and its Role in Modern Society”
Cover Style: #2 by far. Simple, clean, and noticeable. Anything with handwriting just throws me off.

You could shorten the title to “Liars and Outliers”, “The Dangerous People”, “Middle Minority”, “Venn People”, and then keep the subtitle. Less is more.

jeffbadge June 21, 2011 11:41 AM

The alliteration of “Saints, Sociopaths, and Other Dangerous People” is lovely, and the intellectual tease of placing them together is, imho, a delightful combination. (Then again, I also like “The Dishonest Minority.”)

I’m not a fan of the word “modern” in the subtitle since it doesn’t seem to fit. Security and its rules would seem to have been present since there was anything one could call “society.” In fact, such rules exist even in “societies” which one may not initially recognize as such including schools of fish and the like. Additionally, I prefer the active “defense” to the more passive “protect,” so my vote is for “Security and its Role in Defending Society.”

Finally, the covers. I dislike script fonts, but they may be appropriate for conveying the disruptive nature of the title. They work better for the shorter original title than the longer, proposed titles and are inappropriate for your byline. As for the pictures, stock photos look like stock photos–they carry the faint smell of a PowerPoint presentation prepared the day before. I must, however, admit a fondness for the simplicity of “B1 C4,” above.

Good luck, Bruce. And thank you for your blog.

blaughw June 21, 2011 11:43 AM

Covers 1 and 2 are my picks. The others have a sort of “fiction-ey” look to them, as if you’ve written a story. Maybe it’s the fake handwriting typeface.

DT June 21, 2011 11:43 AM

Cover concepts 5 is great, although 2 isn’t bad either. The others are either too noisy or don’t employ enough contrast to be readable at a distance.

Kelly June 21, 2011 11:44 AM

I actually thought that “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” was quite clever, and fits well with the book’s theme as you have described it.

I don’t particularly care for any of the covers. Maybe you can outsource that to the guys who do covers for the Polish editions of fiction books. Those guys always have some interesting ideas.

kurt June 21, 2011 11:45 AM

1: Transgressors is more value neutral then dishonest. Enumerating the different types (bad and good dishonesty) makes the title too long. I think the terminological superiority of transgression to dishonest in this instance cannot be understated. Honesty is more related to a sort of Kantian duty, while transgression is disobeying a rule that doesn’t presuppose the moral content of that rule.
2. If you don’t go with the dishonest minority then the 2nd cover wouldn’t work.

Richard June 21, 2011 11:46 AM

Title: Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People
Subtitle: Security and its Role in Modern Society
Covers: 2 or 5

Paul V June 21, 2011 11:46 AM

Cover #1 is the most striking. Avoid cover #3 and it’s associated typeface like the plague.

For titles I like the alliteration the best:
Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People – Security and its Role in Protecting Modern Society

DT June 21, 2011 11:48 AM

Also, “Liars and Outliers” seems like a solid way to refer to the kind of dishonesty you’re talking about.

Nancy Lebovitz June 21, 2011 11:48 AM

The first cover has the title and author show up best, though I think the blue should be a little darker for more contrast with the white letters.

The third has the title showing up best (in theory, I don’t like that sort of fake hand-written font, but it does grab my attention), but the gray for your name is too dark.

I can see how none of the titles quite expresses your idea. I’m haunted by Out of Bounds, but it needs more words, and I don’t know what they should be.

Enough Security: People Are a Problem. Subtitle: Sinners, Saints, and Shlubs.

david June 21, 2011 11:48 AM

cover #1 -not enough contrast, letters are lost.
All covers – nothing conveys to me the sense of a minority in a group. Maybe a photo of pickpocket working in a crowd?

Eric June 21, 2011 11:48 AM

  1. I would go for a different combination in “Liars, Revolutionaries and Other Dangerous People” – it is more intriguing to find out why Liars are dangerous than Criminals.
  2. I like #2 with the simple graphic – the others look like novels and I’ve never been a fan of the random stock photo school of book covers – though perhaps a bigger graphic would be better?

Ben June 21, 2011 11:49 AM

The Dishonest Minority may be the most intriguing though Disobedient may be more accurate. I also like Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Transgressors though I wonder if it sounds better flipped: Saints, Sociopaths and Other Transgressors.

I like cover 2 though I’m not quite sure what the diagram indicates 🙂

Agitator and Disruptive also come to mind as handy words…

swim June 21, 2011 11:50 AM

The “…and Other Dangerous People” title is great but I’d leave specific names out of it.

Keith June 21, 2011 11:50 AM

As for the artwork, maybe you should go for a crowded walkway in a port area, to give you an excuse to include a squid.

Daniel June 21, 2011 11:50 AM

I understand what you are trying to get at Bruce but count me in as one who doesn’t like “Dishonest”. Their behavior is dishonest only from the viewpoint of whatever group happens to have the power to define what “honor” is. This gives “honor” an objective taint whereas, at least in America, “honor” tends to be seen from a subjective point of view. “To thy own self be true”. This might be a cultural difference.

Perhaps a clearer title would simply be: “Your Dishonest!: Security and It’s Role in Modern Society.” I’m not sure why you are committed to have the word “minority” in your title. After all, from the viewpoint of Jesus (as an example) it was the majority that was dishonest, not a minority.

Frank Ch. Eigler June 21, 2011 11:52 AM

“The idea behind the title is that “honesty” is defined by social convention, then those that don’t follow the social conventions are by definition dishonest. ”

Bruce, I hope you can elaborate upon this intriguing claim, without just referring to the book. In normal language, “honesty” is a characteristic of communicating truthfully, which sounds like it is an objectively definable thing, rather than a mere “social convention”. So where are you coming from?

Tim June 21, 2011 11:52 AM

I like “The Dishonest Minority” but with a slightly modified subtitle like “Protecting society from Saints and Sociopaths”.

I like cover 1 and cover 2, in that order.

Maybe you should set up a survey page and get some hard data?

Mikey G June 21, 2011 11:52 AM

Does the core of the issue boil down to morality? – I.e. Both immoral and perhaps even an amoral perspective. Let me elaborate; there are those that I would coin immoral who purposefully (maliciously) seek to disrupt, corrupt, and/or obtain financial gain through their actions knowing well what they’re doing is illegal or dishonest. But on the other side of that coin are those that don’t know or acknowledge that what they’re doing is wrong. I would argue that our Chinese counter parts that are actively compromising US networks both private sector and government are doing so because it’s their job that they’ve been hired to do. Is what they’re doing wrong to them and the culture? I guess I’m just suggesting that it’s more a study or discussion on Internet Morality than that of dishonesty, because regardless of someone moral belief on whether attacking or hacking is right or wrong there is still a need to protect your information and digital assets from internet threats.

Just some food for thought.

Thanks for listening… err reading.

Daniel June 21, 2011 11:53 AM

I understand what you are trying to get at Bruce but count me in as one who doesn’t like “Dishonest”. Their behavior is dishonest only from the viewpoint of whatever group happens to have the power to define what “honor” is. This gives “honor” an objective taint whereas, at least in America, “honor” tends to be seen from a subjective point of view. “To thy own self be true”. This might be a cultural difference.

Perhaps a clearer title would simply be: “You’re Dishonest!: Security and It’s Role in Modern Society.” I’m not sure why you are committed to have the word “minority” in your title. After all, from the viewpoint of Jesus (as an example) it was the majority that was dishonest, not a minority.

raul June 21, 2011 11:53 AM

Criminals, Activists, and Other Dangerous People
In my opinion, criminals and activists are the most opposed terms. A person can be both (specially when laws are unjust) but they clearly represent “good” and “evil” while the “dangerous” word puts them on the same category somehow.

Security and its Role in Modern Society
I think it’s clear and non-judgmental

Mailman June 21, 2011 11:53 AM

I like the original working title best: “The dishonest minority” – “Security and its role in modern society”

I don’t like the adjective “dangerous” for the title. “Dishonest” is my favorite, but I like “deviant” as well.

The one I like the least is the title with the reference to Madoff and Gandhi.
Gandhi is a true historical figure, but Madoff is only famous at the moment for his recent criminal acts. You don’t want your book to have a name in the title where a few years down the road, people have to think, “Who was that again?”

My favorite covers are 4 and 5, with a preference for 5 because of the colours. I’m not a big fan of the bright white colour on the cover – both “Secrets and Lies” and “Beyond fear” had a darker colour on the cover and the photo was tinted greyscale, which I liked.

J June 21, 2011 11:55 AM

The Dangerous Minority: Security and its Role in Protecting Modern Society

Cover Number #1, with a slightly different typeface. More contrast, more emphasis on key words over others.

More emotional words resonate more. Dangerous evoke more of a response than Dishonest, Protect more than Defend. Dangerous is a little less black and white also — there’s such a thing as good danger, not sure about good dishonesty.

Jonas June 21, 2011 11:56 AM

How about “The Dangerous Minority”? Beside that, I still like “The Dishonest Minority” best, and the original subtitle “Security and its Role in Modern Society” (maybe even without the “Modern” since from what I understand the concepts you’re writing about will apply to any form of civilized society). I’d also go with the first cover.

anymoose June 21, 2011 11:56 AM

Different and Dangerous
Security and its Role in Protecting Society
I would suggest either cover 3, 5, or something similar. Other than 4 they are all decent covers but I think 3 and 5 draw attention to the “normal” uniformity. 4 is just distracting and makes me think of a cheap murder thriller.

Curby June 21, 2011 11:57 AM

If these designs are set in stone, #2 for sure. They others could be tweaked to be stronger. The Venn diagram in #2 is probably incorrect (a subset exists wholly within a superset), but it highlights a minority, which is key to the idea of the book as a whole.

1’s background goes from pitch black to near white, so you may have to employ some tricks to get the type more visible. Thematically, it also works since only a small portion of the figures are in focus.

The script fonts of 3 and 5 seem a little too whimsical for this type of book. 4 is way too busy visually.

Other than the font, 3 looks good. One of the main reasons I don’t like script fonts is because it doesn’t look natural. When you write, not every “O” looks exactly the same. You get into an uncanny valley as you move from carefully set block type to script, where it’s trying to be freeform and natural but the rigidity and conformity look awkward. If you can hire an artist to handwrite the title onto the cover, #3 could work very well.

sean June 21, 2011 11:58 AM

  1. I liked the idea of placing Madoff and Ganhi into a similar, rather than opposite category as the title. For me, it begged the question, “How can these two men be related in any way?” With a subtitle like “Security and its Role in Modern Society” which puts the book into a context.

  2. I liked the photo from #1 and the layout of #3. The photo doesn’t place this this “minority” into the shadows, but rather that they are just obscured. While the layout of number 3 grabbed my attention first.

LDP June 21, 2011 11:58 AM

Actually, I think covers are still very important. In a bookstore or on my bookshelf, the whole point of a cover is to get someone new to notice it, think “hmm… what’s this?”, and check out the inside flaps..

When I first glanced at all the covers, I was immediately drawn to #1. If I were browsing through an airport bookstore and saw that cover, I would definitely at least pick it up and check it out (regardless of author).

Chelloveck June 21, 2011 11:59 AM

“Dishonest” is probably not the word you want here. “Disruptive” would be better. I don’t think I’d call Ghandi dishonest, but there’s no doubt that he was disruptive.

That said, I like the form of the second group of options better. My favorite is “Liars, Outliers, and Other {whatever}”. Or maybe just “Liars and Outliers”. Not only is it a clever play on words, it seems like an natural progrssion from “Secrets and Lies”.

If you want to go with “Saints”, “Sinners” is a much better counterpoint than “Sociopaths”.

As far as covers go, none of the ones shown would entice me to pick up the book. All of the titles are about groups of people, so a crowd scene is good. I like #3 and #5 best. The handwritten typography on #3 seems to suggest graffiti and the seedy underbelly of society, which probably fits the content pretty well. I wouldn’t have the subtitle in the same font, though. It’s fine for the title, but it’s too close to Comic Sans to be used for more than about three words.

Doug N June 21, 2011 12:00 PM

From the first group of title options I prefer using ‘deviance’ to best label the minority.

From your suggestions, my title preferences are:

Title: Crime, Activism, and Other Transgressions

Subtitle: Securing Society from its Deviants

Covers: #5 – first pref, #4 – second pref.

I hope everthing goes exceedingly well with your new book.

Paul Crowley June 21, 2011 12:00 PM

Let’s spin the Mad Libs fruit machine again!

I like Petréa Mitchell’s thinking: keep the title short and let the subtitle do the heavy lifting. But I quite like “Transgressors” too, so I get

Liars and Outliers

How Society Protects Itself Against Transgressors From Madoff to Gandhi

Simon Farnsworth June 21, 2011 12:02 PM

I’d not use names – I had to Google to find out who Madoff was, as in news reports he’s always been Bernie Madoff, and my brain doesn’t recognise the surname on its own.

Similarly, out of a context, I’m not sure which of the Gandhi family you’re talking about; with the context, I’m aware that it’s Mohandas Gandhi, but it could just as easily be Indira, and there’s not enough cue in the title and subtitle to indicate that it’s the Mahatma that you mean.

William June 21, 2011 12:03 PM

The cover should somehow depict a minority. So the photos that have people that all look the same don’t work; one of them (or a small percentage) should stand out somehow.

Greg June 21, 2011 12:03 PM

I like covers #1 and #4. They stand out the most and are most readable (esp. from a distance).

Picador June 21, 2011 12:03 PM

My vote goes with the most conservative option: Cover 1, with the title and subtitle preserved as they are.

I agree with much of the criticism about the word “dishonest” and so on, but the fact is that you’re marketing this book to a staid demographic. “Title: Subtitle” is already a cliche, but “X, Y (a seeming non-sequiteur from X), and other Zs: Subtitle” is a step too far. It’s lazy. There must have been 1000 books with that naming scheme published in the last ten years. It’s like naming your indy movie “Pursuing Felicity” or “Concerning Amanda”: it’s a tired formula for a title.

Covers 3 to 5 are too muddled. 1 or 2 for sure.

I do kind of like “Transgressions” or “Transgressors” on its own. In which case you probably do need some kind of subtitle, or people will think it’s a novel.

Daniel Beaver June 21, 2011 12:05 PM

For the cover.
I like cover #2 the best. The font used for your name is neat, and seems to tell me “THIS GUY KNOWS WHAT HE’S TALKING ABOUT”.

The rest are terrible.

For the title:
“Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People” and “Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People” are interesting. I like the word “Dangerous”; it sets off the appropriate mental dissonance.

dataGuy June 21, 2011 12:05 PM

my pick would be:

The Dishonest, the Deviant, and Other Transgressors – Protecting Society through Security

John Campbell June 21, 2011 12:06 PM

Ummmm… I think a better cover would have a bunch of different fonts and look like a ransom note.

Alfred June 21, 2011 12:08 PM

I also prefer wither “subversive” or “disruptive” over “dishonest.”

I liked covers 2 and 3.

Lisa June 21, 2011 12:10 PM

I hope that your new book covers the dishonesty of the top 0.1% that has allowed them keep getting richer at the expense of the other 99.9%, by changing policies in their favour and avoiding prosecution for what would ordinarily be considered criminal activities.

Consider the fact that GE gets a $3.2B tax credit after making $5.1B in profit in 2010. And that no one has has been convected for the fraudulent activity that caused the 2008-2010 Global Financial Crisis.

This type of dishonesty scares me a lot more than a few idiots in the middle of the desert trying to come up with new ways to blow up stuff.

james June 21, 2011 12:10 PM

I read in MacCleans Canada that Honest in Chinese is actually a derogatory term meaning “To follow blindly”

Taken from the article… “Their cautious, trusting nature is in sharp contrast to Chinese culture, where the word for honest, loashi, is a derogatory term meaning to be gullible or to follow blindly”

Cover 5 is the Best. 1 looks too much like the minority report, maybe that is a good thing?

But… number 5 lacks the explanation of the book. “Security and its role in modern society” so I’m not to sure if that is a good or a bad thing. I would think it is a bad thing.

“Security and its Role in Modern Society” is the best tagline. jmo…

pilcrow June 21, 2011 12:11 PM

“Parasites, Provocateurs and Other Dangerous People”

That seems to me to cover the two types of transgressors: those more-or-less out to profit from the collective, and those more-or-less out to change the collective. “The Corrupt and the Corrupting?”

(Failing that, how about “The Disruptive Minority”?
Either of “disruptive” or “dangerous” is more accurate that “dishonest,” which is too common and too steeped in judgment to be repurposed.)

Chris Maguire June 21, 2011 12:13 PM

I don’t see any particular society as absolutely right, but rather desired; so we want to perpetuate the status quo without disruption. Disruption is not about morals, it’s about abnormalities among normalcy.

I suggest something like: “Deviants, Disobedients and Disruptives: Securing the Status Quo.”

No morals, just a way of balancing a complex system.

DJ Hanson June 21, 2011 12:14 PM

Commenting blind by request so please pardon me if I’m repeating an already stated sentiment.

If you are interested in maintaining an alliterative approach you could use Intruders and Informants as the opposing sides of the equation.

Additionally, I think that “X, Y and Other Worldshakers” (an allusion to Cool Hand Luke) maintains a neutral connotation while still intuitively communicating the concept of one who changes society in some way by deviating from accepted behavior. A subtext such as “Security and its Role within the Status Quo” would reinforce this neutral language.

Both Madoff and Ghandi were acting in a way that changed the status quo. Society has an implicit positive connotation, hence protecting it would, by association, tend to be a good thing. Whereas the status quo can go either way, and viewing security in that context is a more accurate representation of what I understand your thesis to be.

I love the second cover. The Venn diagram is the perfect visual representation your thesis. Visually it is stark, uncluttered and direct which is also representative of your writing style.

Michael June 21, 2011 12:15 PM

I prefer #4 and #5. The titles are easy to read and the photos do not make the cover look bland.

The title is fine. I don’t need quibbling over the connotation versus denotation of “dishonest”. “Dishonest” gets the point across well.

Cover #1 — title is difficult to read because of the background, and reminds me of a William Gibson book (Pattern Recognition?)

Cover #2 reminds me of a textbook. It’s very drab.

Cover #3 — The title typeface is either a little too “graffiti” or “adult trying to write like a child who is trying to use good penmanship”.

Hope this helps! I’ve been reading the blog for about six months (but never posted before) and only realized some time later that you wrote “Advanced Cryptography”, which I picked up and read about seven years ago. 🙂

Geo Masters June 21, 2011 12:15 PM

I think #5 is close. I’d use something similar to that, with everybody flowing in a common direction, but with a very few individuals, perhaps highlighted, heading either in the opposite direction, or perhaps across the flow. This captures that the problem is their exceptional nature, not their motivations – that these individuals choose to “not follow the rules”.

Frax June 21, 2011 12:18 PM

I like “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats”, with @jeffbadge’s subtitle “Security and its Role in Defending Society.”

“The Dangerous Minority” seems like an open invitation to accusations of racism. Doesn’t matter what the content of the book is.

I think both “Deviant” and to a lesser extent “Transgressions” will both have too much of an unintended sexual connotation for too many readers.

None of the covers do much for me:

1) Contrast issues make title hard to read, and the detached pairs of legs don’t seem connected to the theme.
2) “meh”
3) Seems somehow like a young adult fiction book?
4) Ow, that glare! Where are my polarized sunglasses?
5) Subtitle: Security’s role in protecting your braaaaaaaaains.

I’d pick #2 if forced to choose.

Dilbert June 21, 2011 12:18 PM

I thought of “The Rule Breakers” immediately, then saw that Geoffrey Kidd had the same thought. So my vote is:

The Rule Breakers
Security and its Role in Modern Society

Cover #1

jim June 21, 2011 12:20 PM

Another vote for “Liars and Outliers”
I like cover #1 (if the text could stand out more) and #5. #2 doesn’t make sense to me, #4 give’s me a headache, and the both the image and font used on #3 seams to promote a dishonest underworld theme.

JKaniarz June 21, 2011 12:20 PM

When designing ebook covers, remember that the cover is just an icon, and the title will be written underneath. Your cover art needs to look good when scaled down, and the text is completely optional. In this context 1 and 4 are the best. (the rest will just look like a black square)

Dilbert June 21, 2011 12:22 PM

As a follow-up, if you want to stick with your original title but pick a new word, my vote is for either “Subversive” or “Rebellious” or “Seditious”. All good words that I think convey the meaning and feeling you’re looking for.

ljs June 21, 2011 12:23 PM

First of all, I would guess most of the buyers online were to search for the book by author or title, but I have to confess I always look at what Amazon suggests to me after a purchase, based on what others did and there the cover picture matters a lot. It might be just the thing required for the potential buyer to click to find out more.

I can’t decide between cover 1 and cover 5. 1 has a bit too abstract picture and red on black is not my favorite color combination (hard to read). I would, however, like to see some interesting detail on cover 5. Something that would make me try to identify the minority, and yet not succeed really. Also, sample cover 5 does not have the subtitle at all.
Worst is number 4, the photo is too distracting.

I don’t find any of the titles to be the right one. For the lack of religious beliefs on my part any references saints or messiahs (by name or otherwise) don’t really make me want to read a book. Nor do I find “Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People” to be my thing. Yes, I would (and will) read it regardless. Since English is not my first language I can’t come up with a better title either. But I would think it does not necessarily have to say who is the good and who is the bad guy, you can’t always tell in real life.

Therefore I would just go for “The Dishonest Minority” and “Security and its Role in Defending Modern Society”.

Kevin H June 21, 2011 12:27 PM

I like the working title, “The Dishonest Minority” the best – although “The Dangerous Minority” might also work depending on what the Chapter titles (and contents) end up being.

As for covers, I like cover #2 the best, but I feel it has an error in using the Venn Intersection diagram – that should actually be a Venn Subset diagram:

Web June 21, 2011 12:28 PM

You want a title with good and appropriate SEO and/or good recall value. I’m not sure you can rely on subtitles for as good SEO matches.

IMHO Dishonest Minority does not have good recall value.

Don’t call out Jesus and Gandhi. They aren’t search terms that will convert to purchases.

Zoxpni June 21, 2011 12:31 PM

I dislike the “dishonest minority” etc. titles. It sounds more like the title of a John Grishem novel. Also, it’s a so what title. Everybody knows there’s a dishonest minority, so what. Why would I want to read a book about how a minority of people are dishonest. It misses the point.

Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People is a great title. Those words are so common I don’t think they carry much religious meaning. It draws interest because people will be curious why someone would assert that saints can be dangerous people.

Moreover, sinners, saints is an easy title to remember because the words commonly go together. I’ve already forgotten the other options.

I don’t like the transgressors titles. It’s an awkward word not used by many people in everyday language (at least not by the general public which would be the broad audience you want).

Security and its Role in Protecting Society is a good subtitle. I think saying modern is unnecessary because not many people are going to wonder whether you’re writing about ancient or modern society. Protecting is just a better choice if words imo.

Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People: Security and its Role in Protecting Society

Maybe cumbersome, but to me it’s by far the most attention grabbing and easy to remember of all the options.

I think the cover #1 is the best. Very cool.

But overall, my main input would be to ditch the dishonest minority title. If you showed those covers to ten random people, I bet half or more would’t be sure whether the book is fiction or non-fiction.

Tim Schmelter June 21, 2011 12:33 PM

Title option: “Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People”

I like this one because it’s evocative without being tied to a particular person (Madoff’s name is going to date quickly, and I’d guess that a number of people won’t associate it with larger security themes.)

I very much dislike “The Dishonest Minority” because it’s too easy to assume you’re going off on a racial screed, even though we all know better. 🙂

Subtitle option: “Security and its Role in Protecting Society”

Short sweet and to the point. Not much else to say.

Cover option: 2

I really hate stock imagery of “people on the move”–I’ve not found one yet that makes sense in the context in which it’s used, unless you’re talking about urbanization or overpopulation. The simple graphic on #2 won’t draw much attention, which may impact sales, but from a design standpoint, I like it much better than any of the others.

Another option might be to do a stylized “lineup” of simplified, iconographic silhouettes, where one is partially obscured, separated, and probably differently shaded than the rest, although I’d consider something other than the typical white/black dichotomy. The intent of that graphic would be to symbolize a group/society of people, where some dissenting subgroup has an impact. A good designer could probably also work in something to represent protection of the majority from that element.

Ben June 21, 2011 12:34 PM

The informer is a traitor – that’s his form of dishonesty.

  • Thieves, Traitors and Transgressors

Brian M June 21, 2011 12:37 PM

I dislike the “murderers and messiahs” and that whole vein. If you were writing a book on religion, it would work, but not for security.

I don’t like the use of “minority” in some cases, as it can evoke a somewhat racist reaction. The word “minority” has been co-opted, generally, to mean “non-white”, so I think avoiding it’s use would be advisable, at least in the title. Thats especially pertinent for something like “the disobedient minority”. Of course, that may be a great sexy hook to get people to take a second look at the subtitle.

I do like the “criminals, revolutionaries and other dangerous people”. What makes the revolutionaries so dangerous? It already has me wanting to read into that, as revolutionaries are so pertinent to American society and pretty much all societies.

I don’t like the transgressor line. Transgressing of what? I don’t think that can be explained adequately in a subtitle. The word alone sounds like a horrible harlequin romance, so that’s a bad idea.

I like the “defending modern society” wording for the subtitle. Unless, of course, you have a lot in the book about historical societies, then the non-modern variant is preferred. I like the modern variant because it seems relevant, especially in the modern “post 9/11 era”. A book on protecting society in the 1980s seems less relevant then something current, and makes me want to read it more.

As for the covers, I like 1 then 5, as they are elegant and applicable. I have a strong dislike for number 4 as it seems too busy, and like an amateur put it together.

Anyhow, my 2c. Can’t wait to read it!

magetoo June 21, 2011 12:37 PM

Of the suggested titles, The Dishonest Minority seems the best one to me. Although “Liars and Outliers” is really clever. (Don’t know if that appeals to people that aren’t me.)

Of the covers, #1 and #5 look nice. #4 looks kind of generic and stock photo-y.

(Maybe it’d be possible to work some of the opposing pairs into the design, without having them as part of the title? Liars/outliers, criminals/revolutionaries, Madoff/Gandhi, …)

“I don’t particularly care for any of the covers. Maybe you can outsource that to the guys who do covers for the Polish editions of fiction books.”

And get Peter Watts to come up with a cleverer title.

Kiaser Zohsay June 21, 2011 12:37 PM

“Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” jumped out at me personally, because it combines a security concept with a statistics concept, with bonus points for partial alliteration. By no means does this imply any appeal for the general public, however.


AlanS June 21, 2011 12:38 PM

Not sure I like any of the titles.

“The idea behind the title is that “honesty” is defined by social convention, then those that don’t follow the social conventions are by definition dishonest.”

You appear to assume that there is some agreement or convention to begin with. Society and culture are always in dispute to some degree and becoming something other. Going back to Hume and Madison, the framing of political stability in terms of how to address the problem of factionalism is maybe more interesting, especially in the era of Lulzsec, fat-cat political lobbies, etc.

Jack June 21, 2011 12:39 PM

#2 is the only one that stands out: the rest have this “crowd” theme that isn’t really working for me.

Dan June 21, 2011 12:40 PM

Cover 4 – Blech – looks like some boring textbook.
Cover 3 has author’s name way to big. Some people will buy it because of the author’s name, but honestly Schneier isn’t up there with Grisham where the name is more important than the title or artwork.
Cover 2 – too plain – use one with artwork.

Mike June 21, 2011 12:41 PM

Cover number two is great. Venn Diagram it up even more exaggeratedly. Actually, I’m surprised we don’t have an option with a hash function diagram.

Liars and Outliers is a wonderful pairing, but Other Threats falls flat. After that, your current title has the most punch.

For the subtitle, Protecting/Defending Society have a real post-9/11 let’s invade Iraq feel. Securing Society is solid, maybe a little dense, but I’d steer clear of the word Deviants.

Kurt June 21, 2011 12:41 PM

I vote for cover #1. #4 comes in second, but I think it needs some work or a re-do. Avoid the handwriting fonts (esp. #3).

I didn’t have any title input, but I just read pilcrow’s post (it currently the last).

I like “The Disruptive Minority.”

Sub-title like: “Security in the Face of Crime, Revolutions, and Tonight’s News.” Rather than ending with an ominous ‘those other bad people,’ end with something that seems innocent at first glance, but is really a window into all that is bad and wrong in the world.

Danny June 21, 2011 12:43 PM

Frankly, “The Dishonest Minority” is the most direct, most impactful title of the set. “Transgressions” has less impact, more vague in most people’s minds. Even though “dishonest” may not be a perfect fit for the “Ghandi” element of your content, it’s an effective title to grab the reader’s attention and get them to open the book.

I really like the combination of the Venn diagram with “The Dishonest Minority” title in image #2. Simple. Direct.

All the crowd/people images, combined with “minority” in the title make me think of “Minority Report”.

Keep the subtitle short and sweet. Your subtitle 1 is fine. Don’t pollute it with “protecting” or “defending”.

Another word to consider that might span Madoff and Ghandi is “deviant”. By your definitions above, the “dishonest” person is one who does not follow the accepted social convention of whatever social group they are part of. But I still prefer dishonest over deviant.

One subtle side effect of the “Dishonest Minority” title is an implied optimism: that the majority is relatively honest. 90% of the problems come from 10% of the population, etc. I like the implied optimism, but I don’t know if that is your intent.

Of the other replies & suggestions, I do like pilcrow’s suggestions for “Parasites & Provocateurs” and the use of disruptive over dishonest. The “and other dangerous people” seems wordy.

“Parasites & Provocateurs: Security and Its Role in Modern Society” or “The Disruptive Minority: Security and Its Role in Modern Society” work for me.

tde June 21, 2011 12:44 PM

Like the first one.

You could put the subtitle in white in the dark bar at the bottom, too.

Wicked Lad June 21, 2011 12:45 PM

1) I dislike all the “adjective noun” and “transgress*” titles. (The transgressor concept is terrific, but the word is ugly.) I really like “Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People.” Can’t say why. “Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People ” and “Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People” are okay, too. Would “outlaws” work as a single-word version? I have no strong feelings about the subtitles. They all look okay.

2) I like covers 4 and 5, in that order.

Reilly Grant June 21, 2011 12:45 PM

I like cover #2. It uses a simple diagram to conveys the idea of a minority and has an elegant typeface. I assume the photos of crowds in the other covers are supposed to represent the idea of people hidden within the crowd. They give the impression of something happening in the shadows. The picture for cover #1 is interesting but white text on an almost white background will be difficult to read from a distance on a bookstore shelf. The other photos look like stock crowd scenes. Cover #4 is just visually confusing.

Steve Syfuhs June 21, 2011 12:45 PM

I quite like ‘Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People’, with a slightly modified subtitle of “Security and its Role in Changing Society”.

Social conventions change over time, possibly as the result of security? Maybe?

KS June 21, 2011 12:49 PM

This may be late in your title selection process, but did you consider “The Treacherous Minority” as a main title?

Treachery embraces both dishonesty and disloyalty. It includes both criminal and political aspects, so it is in line with your book’s theme. In fact, look up “treacherous” in your thesaurus, and you will see concepts and nuances you will be covering throughout the book.

“Treacherous” does seem, however, to be a bit of an establishment point of view word (e.g., treason), but maybe you can counter that a little with the subtitle. (The word also seems more likely to appear on a Richard Clarke title than a Bruce Schneier title ;).)

Schwetzer June 21, 2011 12:49 PM

Typeface for cover. Typography is and will always be a classic since writing was invented. All classic titles have at least one edition with typeface cover, why not releasing a classic with a classic.

magetoo June 21, 2011 12:51 PM

“Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” jumped out at me personally

“Liars and Outliers is a wonderful pairing, but Other Threats falls flat.”


How long can a subtitle get before people lose interest? I’m thinking along the lines of “Liars, Outliers, and Transgressors: Security and its Role in Protecting Society from Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dangerous People”.

That’s probably too long. But i like having “protecting society from” … and some vaguely positive-sounding term in the subtitle.

Tim June 21, 2011 12:52 PM

Jesus & the thieves is brilliant. Or you could bypass characterizing who the people are and instead use the majority feelings.

“People who worry us.”

J. Jones June 21, 2011 12:53 PM

I like “Liars, Outliers, and other Dangerous People” (not necessarily Threats). It’s catchy, has a good rhythm to it and it states the point of the book without distracting and possibly inscrutable (to other cultures) references.

Cover 2 (the Venn diagram) really nails it for me. It has a lot going for it: moral duality represented by white and black, scientific rigor (the diagram itself) and simplicity.

devin June 21, 2011 12:54 PM

Out of all the options, I like “Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People”.

I would stay away from the explicit Biblical references. Jesus as social rebel (against the Romans) is a popular topic in Christian scholarship right now. As a church leader, I would probably think that a book mentioning Jesus-as-dangerous in the title was a theology book. The terms “sinner” and “saint” are generic enough that they’re recognizable as synonyms for “bad” and “good” by almost anybody.

If you want to put a person’s name in the title, stick with Ghandi, since he’s almost universally revered in the “good” category by Westerners.

As for covers, I like #2 best.

Ross June 21, 2011 12:55 PM

Love “Liars and Outliers”, though it’d need the right subtitle to bring in the positive side – “outliers” is probably a little cold. But also like someone’s suggestion above of “Disobedient Minority” as it has a less pejorative ring than dishonest: it ties in childhood, and the forming/passing on of culture as well.

As to cover, how about a version of #1 where there’s one pair of legs w/ tennis shoes, or sandals?

Dirk Praet June 21, 2011 12:57 PM

None of the alternatives work for me. I’d stay with the original title, unless you’d consider replacing dishonest by disruptive. Dishonest has a negative sound to it, whereas disruptive can go either way, such as in disruptive innnovation or disruptive technology. I would definitely refrain from mentioning Gandhi and Madoff in the same sentence at the risk of earning the book a place in the Chevy Nova awards for selling zero copies in India and causing a diplomatic incident.

My preference goes out to cover 2, replacing the Venn diagram with a Guy Fawkes mask. No reason not to capitalise on its current popularity.

Zoxpni June 21, 2011 1:00 PM

Another thought after reading your post again. You say, “It’s a book about why security exists: specifically, how a group of people protects itself from individuals within that group.”

Why not go straight to the point then and call it:

Why Security Exists: Protecting Society against Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People

That’s the one.

Tim June 21, 2011 1:03 PM

Most suggested titles are exciting and descriptive, especially “Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People”.

Neither cover seems to fit the book. The fourth one looks terrible.

Mitch June 21, 2011 1:06 PM

I like “Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dangerous People” – because “dangerous” I think is essential for a grabbing title, and fits.

For the ADHD shopping crowd, it is a bit long. Runner up: The Dangerous Minority
, with a longer sub-title to flesh it out.

Cover #1 is nice & modern, but to me drifts into “minority report” when combined with the shorter title. Not sure that’s good, bit I like that cover the best.

Now, the longer “A, B and C” titles presume that the book covers ground on all 3 topics and is not just differentiating the meanings- of which you cover just one.

Kevin Peterson June 21, 2011 1:08 PM

I like the cover featuring the crowd, I think crossing a street in a city. It emphasizes that security isn’t about locking down a bank vault, it’s about building a system that works for most people but protects against those who try to break it.

Anything using “transgressing” makes me think of the Social Text fiasco.

Dawkins has written about this, I think in Selfish Gene, and Maynard-Smith in Evolution and the Theory of Games.

HiTechHiTouch June 21, 2011 1:10 PM

Use the duck photo — hands down.

Attracts attention, is funny, makes you want to see inside.

Forget the crowd pictures. They don’t show the ideas of “minority” nor “dishonesty”.

The duck shows dishonesty, and is a minority “thief”, as thievery is most associated with humans.

Matthew June 21, 2011 1:10 PM

The titles I thought captured the idea (as I understand it) best were:

“Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” and
“Crime, Revolution, and Other Dangers”

Or what might be an alternative: “Rule-breakers and Game-changers” – or “Rule-breakers, Game-changers and Other Dangers”

As far as covers: I like the one with the ven diagram the best. FWIW.

Captain Obvious June 21, 2011 1:10 PM

I like The Deviant Minority, Sinners and saints…or Transgressions.

For sub, Security and its Role in Modern Society, or just Security and its Role in Society. Adding defense or protect to security seems redundant.

I like the typefaces for 1+4 and the image for 3.

J. Jones June 21, 2011 1:10 PM

After reading the other comments, I think my trouble with “and other Threats” is best solved by leaving it off. “Liars and Outliers” has a lot of punch just by itself.

I also agree/propose that the words transgressor and deviant have a lot of baggage with them that might be best avoided.

Nick June 21, 2011 1:13 PM

Securing Society from its Deviants

The problem here is who defines deviant? Typically it’s the rulers of the society, and they have a vested personal interest by protecting the deviants from threatening that personal profit.

The real issue is one of being parasitical versus being symbiotic.

All of your categories fall into that criteria.

Parasites live off a host, and don’t (always) contribute to the hosts well being.

Ciro June 21, 2011 1:15 PM


I think that dishonesty is a very loaded word and for me being dishonest suggest deviation of my own set of values. I like better the title “Criminals, Revolutionaries, and other Transgressors’. The word transgression opens the discussion to what it means to trespass the limits imposed by another party. What is the purpose of security fences, what is in the motivation of the transgressors?
I think we can all identify with both sides of the security fence externally as transgressors and internally as protecting against transgressors (versus being dishonest).
In the same vein, I will choose as subtitle “Security and the Role in Modern Society”. I will say that the word “Protecting” or “Defending” by default is like qualifying something as worth of protecting or defendable. The simple subtitle let open the question of the “Modern Society” values hence why the transgressor transgresses.

For cover I will choose something like number 3. It is a very elegant design. Play around with the size of the 3 sections (the solid color in the bottom, the color band, and the illustration or photography on the top). Reduce the font of your name. Your readers already know who you are. Combine the layout and colors of number 3 with the typeface of number 2. In general I will say avoid 4 and 1. It looks like a chip photoshop effect.

One last comment, I read books when I know the author and I follow up with their new publications but most of the times it comes from comments and references in forums about new books. In other words for a book like yours, if the content is good the book will be sold by references not by how “marketable” the cover is, so elegance and sobriety is more important than attractiveness.

X June 21, 2011 1:17 PM

The trouble with names is as catchy as it might be now, it won’t be long before it sounds like “Charles Keating, Ghandi, and other Dangerous people.” It won’t stand the test of time. Also, Ghandi as an example is too dated for many of your potential readers. Even the movie is almost 30 years old.

OsXO June 21, 2011 1:21 PM

First Q: I think the name is just great, it sounds like a best seller, I think people will understand the meaning of the name after reading the book and make them think, second Q: I like cover #5, i just can´t see the image in detail I don´t know if those people with breakfasts are walking towards the ligth or in the opposite

Dave June 21, 2011 1:22 PM

Maybe “distrusted” or “untrustworthy” is the word you’re looking for. “Dishonest” has a more objective meaning than the concept I think you’re trying to convey. In the societal context you’re describing, trust is the result of the perception of honesty, so maybe that’s a better word.

“Subversive”, suggested by several above is also possibly more representative of the concept.

I’m sure you’ve already checked the thesaurus:

Ben June 21, 2011 1:23 PM

Many of these risk being misconstrued as racist or anti-religious on the surface. You’ll be dismissed as a left- or right-wing nut right off the bat.

Leave out “Modern”. I assume your ideas can be applied to any society at any time.

After “Security”, both “Protecting” and “Defending” seem redundant to me. How about “Preserving Society”?

I get wanting to have the dichotomy of Madoff and Gandhi. But what if you conveyed that in the cover art instead?

So my final thought:
“Transgression: Security and Its Role in Preserving Society”, with the cover being a collage showing Madoff, Gandhi, Jesus, Thomas Jefferson, Guy Fawkes, etc.

Chris Pepper June 21, 2011 1:23 PM

But dishonest has a specific meaning: not honest, not truthful. Abolitionists and Gandhi were not untruthful or dishonest. They were noncompliant and uncooperative, but ‘dishonest’ does not apply to them.

If they had made a personal commitment to comply with slavery laws or the British government and then violated it, you could get them on a technicality, but there’s no falsehood and no dishonesty in either of these roles.

TheRidge June 21, 2011 1:26 PM

1st choice:

Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Transgressors
Security and its Role in Modern Society
Cover #2

2nd choice:
Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats
Security and its Role in Modern Society
Cover #2

I think the 1st choice captures what you have been talking about with your new book. I am not sure #2 does it quite as well, but I think the title is fantastic as far as keeping the terms within risk analysis.

Dave June 21, 2011 1:27 PM

I like the working title and subtitle better than any of the alternatives. In particular I don’t care for “protecting” or “defending” in the subtitle as it puts a positive spin on it and “security” can be misused just like anything else.

None of the covers really leaps out at me and I agree that “security” would be hard to illustrate. Numbers 3 and 5 are probably the best of the ones pictured.

Actually, maybe something like #5 but make one person stand out. Put him in a prison outfit if you’re feeling really obvious.

RockDoggy June 21, 2011 1:35 PM

How about “The Defiant Minority” as a title? Less baggage comes with that moniker, but still gets the point across, I think.

Also, I like cover #2. Subtle but illustrative.

Mr June 21, 2011 1:36 PM

I prefer “Trespasser” to “Transgressor”. I also think it will resonate more with the average person.

Given that I like:
“Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Trespassers”

This may lead to other ideas for covers, I don’t care for any of the existing choices. Maybe something with a “No Trespassing” sign.

Eric June 21, 2011 1:37 PM

I like the first cover, looking up through a floor, pretty much as is. It looks like a novel, but I cannot say wether it is good or bad to look like a work of fiction at first glance. That would be the one I might pick up off a shelf in the bookstore.

My second pick would be the black cover, but I am not sure about the little venn diagram. This would be the cover I would be happiest with on my bookshelf.

I found the other covers uninteresting.

pfooti June 21, 2011 1:37 PM

#1 is my favorite all-around. Best typeface choice, most ominously evil-looking lurkers up there above the glass ceiling.

I like the typeface in #2. While I have some ideas about what the little venn diagram probably is, it looks like it might evoke just a tiny bit of race (black/white) subconsciously which you might not want in a book entitled “the dishonest minority”. Just sayin’.

#3 looks like (probably because of the typeface again) one of those feel-good stories about a teacher who overcomes adversity.

#4 looks like a movie poster (maybe the Bourne Supremacy? looks to be about the same font.)

#5 is decent, although I am still not wild about that typeface (#1 is IMO the best typeface in the bunch). It solves the white-blow-out problem that #1 has (the ne in your last name in particular is hard to pick out) by using a black background. I will say: I hate the handwritten typeface for the author name in that one.

My suggestions: try a darker typeface in #1, the typeface from #1 in #5.

John David Galt June 21, 2011 1:38 PM

While you acknowledge that you’re lumping together two types of rule violators (I’d call them thieves and dissidents), you also seem to be lumping two types of rules together and not acknowledging the fact. Rules that protect individual rights (property, free speech) are different both morally and in the mechanics of enforcement from rules that “society” imposes for the benefit of the political class against the rest of us (taxes, arms control).

It seems to me that many kinds of controls on technologies (for instance, requirements that all phone systems allow eavesdropping by law enforcers or that all bank accounts have known owners) strengthens the second kind of rules at the expense of weakening the first kind, and that both those facts need to be weighed when the question comes up. Many kinds of so-called safety are not worth the cost of having.

PJ June 21, 2011 1:39 PM

I prefer ‘Disruptive’ or ‘Subversive’ or even ‘Dangerous’ over ‘Dishonest’.

Scofflaws, Superstars and other Subversives: Securing Modern Society

On a completely different track, the title reminded me of ‘The Dangerous Book for Boys’ enough to wonder if you could work that in somehow, but not enough to actually figure out how to do so.

Ed June 21, 2011 1:41 PM

DON’T use “Minority” in any way! I know what you mean, but “The Dishonest Minoriy” sounds like “Those Sneaky Arabs, Mexicans, and Blacks”.

Helly June 21, 2011 1:41 PM

Hard to go wrong with the available selection of titles, but I’ll add:

Snakes and Sheep: How Society Protects the Flock

Klaus June 21, 2011 1:44 PM

Ok – cold: My favourite is Nr 2 the grey zone visualised.
The other covers look dark, suggesting this is about criminals mostly – so it is not neutral and may actually sell better but it may not be as “honest” or unbiased..

The duck picture is great and speaks many words but I like the circles more – perhaps combining the two.

The only weakness of the black and white circles are that their meaning is not instantly clear – although it helps if you use my favourite title.

The duck plus the circles would cover the whole range from philosophical, ethical to the applied every day occurrences..

I don’t like the word minority. I think that those who want revolutions may not alway be minorities (depressed, sleep deprived people could all be potential revolutioners and they may not be the minority).

I suspect minority is not the perfect word for your book as I understand it..

“Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People” is my favourite of the ones you listed.

It is probably the cleanest and clearest title straight to the point and interesting, exciting.

Murder is negative in most cultures and contexts and Messiahs are positive nearly universially.

The others you mention are less “clean” in my opinion.
It seems there would be a need for less loaded terms in the English language 🙂

Good luck and keep on the great work!

HiTechHiTouch June 21, 2011 1:45 PM

Title: “Protection, Palliative, or Puzzle?: Security and it’s role in modern society.”

Brian Gilbert June 21, 2011 1:46 PM

I think that your name should be in a block typeface, not a script-ish one like in the 5th example cover. I like covers 3 and 2 (3 more). Somehow cover 4’s typeface and color selection makes me think it’s another Jason Bourne novel.

Beyond those aesthetic impressions, I have little to add. I’m certainly no expert in any field of aesthetics, just an average Joe who stumbled across your site and finds your insight interesting.

John David Galt June 21, 2011 1:49 PM

[Sorry for the double comment, I hit Post too soon.] Also, any honest analysis of security rules must consider that law enforcers themselves are not always trustworthy, and like the general public, they will only become more dishonest if you tempt them more by making them immune to more of the processes by which other transgressors can be made to pay for their sins.

Rusty Cawley June 21, 2011 1:55 PM

The phrase that seems to cover both the sinner and the saint is “strong-willed.” As in, “a strong-willed child.” What folks like Madoff and Gandhi have in common is that they never lost that willingness to be an outlier.

JimFive June 21, 2011 1:56 PM

As requested, I skipped the comments.

Title: Securing Society

SubTitle: Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats


Stephen June 21, 2011 1:57 PM

Q1. I think dishonest is fine.
Q2. The first two covers are the best, but the text is too hard to read in #1. #2 is pretty sharp.

Hank June 21, 2011 2:00 PM

1) The Dishonest Minority
2) Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dangerous People
3) Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People

I think the original works best as a title of a book. I do like the alternatives, but they all seem more like subtitles than a title. From the alternatives, Criminals & Revolutionaries was my favorite contrast. Sinners and Saints worked because they are in direct opposition, and then combining them together as “Dangerous People” catches the eye. In any case “Other Dangerous People” is more exciting (and more likely to make me pick up a book) than “Other Transgressors”.

Security and its Role in Modern Society

Cover 2
Cover 1

I like the simplicity of 2 (maybe make 1 circle smaller, since they are a minority?).

Gerald Boersma June 21, 2011 2:01 PM

My vote:
– Book cover #2
– Title: The Dishonest Minority
– Sub-title: Security and its Role in Modern Society

George June 21, 2011 2:05 PM

Of the presented main title options, I like “Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Dangerous People” best. The juxtaposition of sociopaths and saints is enigmatic, as is the implication that saints are dangerous. Enigma is enticing from a marketeering perspective, especially when it’s alliterative.

I don’t know about the subtitle, but I dislike the word “deviants.” Deviants come in various flavors, not all of them harmful. Some of them are dangerous security threats. Some are merely harmless curiosities. A very few are geniuses.

Also, in the age of the TSA, it’s increasingly clear that “security” is as much a threat to society as those sociopaths and saints. Is there perhaps a way to work that enigmatic concept into the mix?

Of the covers, I think number 4 draws the most attention. Bright “high key” colors tend to do that, and would probably be more likely to make someone buy the book than the darker choices.

Dave C. June 21, 2011 2:05 PM

I like #1 because it hints that the minority are unknown by not showing their faces or bodies. The position that the photo was taken from is unusual. I like the original title and subtitle.

Gerald Boersma June 21, 2011 2:05 PM

Okay, now after reading the comments, I agree that using the word “dishonest” and “minority” together will be misunderstood by someone glancing at covers. Unless you want to end up on some political party’s reading list…

Rusty Cawley June 21, 2011 2:07 PM

Perhaps “defiant” is better than “strong-willed.” It can be applied equally to the criminal and to the saint. Thus: “The Defiant Minority.”

Adam Lopresto June 21, 2011 2:07 PM

(Posted before reading any of the above.)
Of the listed titles, I like “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats”. Ramblings follow.

Lots of unfortunate overtones and implications on all of the obvious words here (“minority” among them). In my mind, I keep coming back to the idea that, game-theoretically, what you’re describing is “defecting” (contrast with “cooperating”), but none of the adjectives work well (“The Defective Minority” would certainly get attention, but not the right sort). Maybe something along the lines of “The Defectors: How Society Crafts Security to Protect Itself from Rapists, Reformers, and Other Dangerous People”. For cover, I prefer the general design of 2 most (none of the images speak to me), but if the title is “The Dishonest/Defecting/Non-Cooperative/Dangerous Minority/Few/Subset”, then I like the coloring (though not the font) options in 5.

Andrew June 21, 2011 2:13 PM

I also like cover 1, it’s the easiest to grok, and just business-like enough. Keep the title, it says what it is; the other choices are too cutesy or convoluted.

Clinton June 21, 2011 2:15 PM

“Subversive Minority”. Subversive really doesn’t carry any absolute moral bias, only a localized one. Thus Spartacus, Madoff, Gandhi, Judas and Jesus were all subversives to their own authority groups — but perhaps not to other related groups.

I like #5, it would be better if some people were more/less shadowed than others to hint at a minority.

Banjoman0 June 21, 2011 2:15 PM

I like “The Subversive Minority,” or “Subversives” or “Subversions” as a one word title; your first choice as a subtitle; and I have a slight preference for your first book cover, although I try not to judge a book by it’s cover …

James C June 21, 2011 2:19 PM

I like the way “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” sounds, but I don’t think it quite conveys what you’re after. But grouping Messiahs, Saints, Revolutionaries, Activists, Gandhi, and Jesus into the bundle of “Dangerous People” or “Transgressors”, while it may be technically true, probably won’t sell books. I think the best presentation may be to stick with your original title, “The Dishonest Minority”, and have the discussion about the different meanings of dishonest at the beginning–because both need to be covered here. For the subtitle, “Security and its Role in Modern Society” seems appropriate.

As for the cover, I’d vote for #5, but all look like stock photos. Perhaps the photo of the duck would be better. Or some way of indicating that a few individuals in a crowd aren’t “going with the flow”.

Now, after skimming the other comments, I like Tim’s modified subtitle: “Protecting society from Saints and Sociopaths”. “Subversive” and “Deviant” are also good words in place of “Dishonest”. (I know Deviant was in your list, but some of the arguments presented here swayed me.

Chris June 21, 2011 2:25 PM

‘The Deviant Minority’ is definitely wrong. A Minority is by definition Deviant.

‘and Other Dangerous People’ Please no… maybe it’s just me but I utterly hate it.

‘The Dishonest Minority’ is relatively good, it doesn’t have to be entirely accurate as long as it’s close enough and this fits the description. Is it just me: honesty feels like synonym for truthfulness where dishonest more criminal.

If I try to think about a disconforming minority then I get:
– ‘The Parasitic Minority’. But I think thats a too specific minority and isn’t the core message of your book.
– Anarchist… but thats unfair. The dishonest do care about rules, as long as they can bend them to their advantage. And the word seems to drift away from security.
– Dissent.
– Dissident. Probably comes too close to political statements.

I would avoid both words ‘Protecting’ and ‘Defending’. Mainly because it adds no further explaination to the books content.
Personally I prefer the ‘Security and its role in Modern Society’ subtitle.
It coincise.

1) Subtitle isn’t prominent enough.
2) The subtitle is rather nicely styled. I feel it’s a bit too simplistic.
3) Font size of the Author name is too big 😀 but seriously, like #2, the subtitle is good.
4) The photo seemed chaotic at first glance. Too bright for my taste, but that prolly personal.
5) Subtitle anywhere? Better photo than #4 since the people are less conspicuous, could be brighter. The title is alot better since the emphasis on Dishonest is done with color rather than extreme boldness.

My favourite is #5, with the #2 subtitle thrown in.
Maybe exchange the black background for the background of #2, but that might not work with the picture.
Not sure whether the font should be serif (Like #2) instead of sans-serif.

The pickpocket duck photo is funny, but feels like too individualistic. Is it about individuals or society?

After writing this I read the other comments… Rather funny to see once again that there is no accounting for tastes. Although there seems to be concensus on some points.

FreshBaked June 21, 2011 2:27 PM

I would go with a simple “DISHONESTY” in as large a font as would fit, like cover number 5. Then the subtext on one line below: Security and its Role in Defending Modern Society.
That would make me pick it up and think about buying it. The Dishonest Minority doesn’t pique my curiosity in the least. In that case, I would only pick it up because I recognized the author’s name.

Tony June 21, 2011 2:31 PM

How about this succinct title:

Societal Security

It’s alliterative and snappy, and aptly summarizes the topic of the book.

It could then have a more descriptive subtitle.

“Protecting Society from Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People”

Michael Hayes June 21, 2011 2:31 PM

An alternate take could be Evolving Equilibrium, with some reference to the dishonest minority in a subtitle.

Bill Smith June 21, 2011 2:32 PM

Cover photos 2, 4, and 5 look like something I’d find in a discount book bin. Cover photo 1 is the most attention-grabbing. Cover 3 isn’t that exciting, but I’m drawn to the hand-written title.

I like subtitle 2 the best — it’s large enough to see from a distance.

Thanks for asking. I look forward to reading your book. (Glad it will be available in eBook format.)

KerrekSB June 21, 2011 2:32 PM

For covers: 5 or 2. Clean and atmospheric, without visual cliches or emotional deception. Any allusion to “Minority Report” is a definite no-no. Loved the duck.

Some random reader June 21, 2011 2:35 PM

I’m thinking something like “The Public Enemy: Society’s Security to Maintain a Necessary Threat” or “The Necessary Threat: Security that Protects Society from Itself”

Having read your thesis for the book, I think that you should have a provocative title. Using terms like “Public Enemy” or “Necessary Threat” will probably catch more eyes than “Dishonest Minority”. And from the sound of it, the dishonest minority that you mention are a necessary threat to society. We need to allow for dissenters, but minimize the damage that the self-serving “immoral” will do given the same freedom.

There are several books with “Public Enemy” in their title, already (a novel and some documentary-type books), but “Necessary Threat” seems to be open.

Jon June 21, 2011 2:36 PM

Not reading the other comments:

The Dishonest Minority sounds a little too much like those pulp fiction books one sees stacked at Costco.

I’ve come to extremely dislike the recent wave of titles in non-fiction with only one word.

I might go for a derailment title, followed by your subtitle. Something like

Burning Space: Security and Its Role in Modern Society

Extra points for never giving an explanation for the title. Fifty years from now, some will still think it’s some kind of coded message.

I don’t like any of those covers, by the way. Maybe I should send you a photo you can use. Or better yet, have a cover contest: Winners give you rights to use their submission in exchange for an autographed copy of the book!

paul June 21, 2011 2:36 PM

I like “Sociopaths, Saints…” because all of the other ostensibly positive outlier words (activist, revolutionary…) are negative for a lot of people.

Have to admit I don’t really like any of the covers. No pizzazz.

Jim Rodovich June 21, 2011 2:37 PM

I think the “X, Y, and other Zs” titles are the most evocative — the most likely to get me to flip the book over to see what it’s about. In particular I like “Madoff, Ghandi, …”, though I wonder if that one might date the book, especially if Madoff’s notoriety fades with time.

Some of the other titles in that family are weaker: for example, I don’t think the connotations for “revolutionaries” and “activists” are broad enough or positive enough for those groups to successfully counterbalance “criminals” in the title.

Of the straightforward/descriptive subtitles, I prefer “Security and its Role in Modern Society.” I’m also fond of “Securing Society from its Deviants” (which I take to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek).

BobH June 21, 2011 2:38 PM

Covers: #2 best, #5 second

Names: none resonate with me. I guess I’m closer to Liars & Outliers – but I also like statistics.

Ben June 21, 2011 2:40 PM

These covers look too much like “Beyond Fear” to me. I don’t like the blurry corwd thing.

Is the Tiananmen Square photo public domain?

James Sutherland June 21, 2011 2:40 PM

I’m not taken with any of the options given; something more like “Breaking rules, making changes” or “breaking rules, changing society”.

Rather than names, photographs of the individuals mentioned might work well – headshots of Gandhi and Madoff for example.

Brian June 21, 2011 2:41 PM

Cold comments:
For the title, I like your working title as it is: “The Dishonest Minority”. It doesn’t matter that the word “dishonest” applies to two groups as you have defined it, it is simple and makes me want to read the book. You can get into the details of what you mean inside the book. I don’t like the “A’s B’s and other C’s” format at all.

For the cover, #1 is the best. I like the fonts, the overall look, the perspective of the picture. The picture conveys a sense of anonymity as in, “there are some among us who are dishonest, but who are they?” This is a book I would pick up and read.

#2 makes me think you’re going to talk about infidelity (the Venn diagram reminds me of marriage rings, and that in combination with the title changes my perception of what the book is about). I would pass over this book in a store.

In #3, the fonts are too harsh– I think about hack and slash horror movies. While serial killers are also “dishonest” I think it doesn’t go well with your real intent.

#4, meh. Just doesn’t do anything for me.

#5, although it has the anonymity thing going for it as well, looks like an army of zombies. Makes me think the dishonest minority is not really a minority at all– there sure are a lot of them (and they’re coming for us!).

Bill Smith June 21, 2011 2:42 PM

For the title, how about “Miscreants and Morality: Security and its Role in Modern Society”. Google’s first definition for miscreants is, “A person who behaves badly or in a way that breaks the law.”

Ben June 21, 2011 2:42 PM

Also, after reading the other comments:

I like “subversive”/”subversion”.

Don’t use Madoff.

harri June 21, 2011 2:42 PM

First, as non-native English speaker (but I have used English as my working language for 15 years) I did not know the word “transgressions”. I would probably have skipped the book based on that if I did not know your previous work.

The title should also be short. I think that the options ending “… other dangerous people” are too long. So after these elimination I am left with “Crime, Revolution and Other Dangers”. I actually like it. (Personally I do like the idea of using religious/political names too, but some people might of course find them inappropriate)

For the subtitle, I prefer the ones starting with “security and its role…” It has a bit more formal touch in it, the others feel like just another cookbook for solving all your problems in 21 days, which (I hope) you are not going to do…

Michael June 21, 2011 2:45 PM

I’m glad that you’re writing this book. I think shorter is better in the main title, and
“Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People” captures the different sides to the rule-breaker (plus ‘danger’ juxtaposes nicely with non-violent Gandhi and a guy who just stole rich people’s money).

For the cover, the style of the second is nice, but why not interact between text and image:
Seven normal silhouettes in a line, with the dishonest one reaching up to steal letters from the title

John B June 21, 2011 2:46 PM

How about, “The Dishonest Minorities: Positive, Negative, and Their Affects on Society”? You’re seemingly talking about a mainstream and two seemingly opposed external groups, best to be up front about that, IMO.

the Positive/Negative bit needs polish, admittedly. Maybe alternating the point of view to be more based in morality – “The Realms of Morality – Mainstream, Offbeat and Criminal – and Their Affects on Society”?

For covers, I have a strong personal dislike for scribbly fonts that take too long to decypher such as the title in #3 and your name in #5. I would suggest something more indicative of your thesis than a random crowd scene – Sheep, shepherd and wolf, perhaps? Cop, criminal and looky-lou bystanders?

The Venn diagram on #2 is interesting, but should really be a triple-bubble per your apparent thesis. You can even foreshadow some with white bubble, grey large central bubble, and black bubble, the white and black much smaller than the grey and overlapping it slightly (perhaps shade blend in the overlap region between the colors?)

KRR June 21, 2011 2:50 PM

For a cover image, how about this:

On the left, a group of white Go stones, with one black stone.

On the right, a group of black Go stones, with one white stone.

I remember seeing something similar in a demotivater-ish image years ago (showing racism can go both ways), but can’t find it now. This gets across the message that there is something different about the non-conformists without the image making a judgement on whether they are good/evil.

Alternately, a group of ducks with one goose in the image would be both humorous and get across the one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-others theme.

Of the posted covers, I definitely like #2 best, then #1. Not a big fan of the hand-written font choices in #3 and #5. #4 is too disorienting and looks like it should be the cover for a Bourne novel.

Tom June 21, 2011 2:52 PM

Of your choices, I like “Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People”. It fits our polarized world, in which we might disagree on whether someone is a saint or a sinner, but would likely agree that it’s one or the other. Maybe “Sinners, Saints, and Other Troublemakers” would be a bit better. Whistleblowers and informants are troublemakers of a sort, but perhaps increase our safety (decrease danger) in the long run.

Regarding the original title, neither “dishonest” nor “minority” may apply (consider Assad protecting himself in Syria).

Of the subtitles, I prefer “Security and its Role in Protecting Society”, though sometimes you need to protect someone or something from society. How about “Security and its Role in Counteracting Dangerous People”? Or “Security and its Role in a Dangerous World”?

So I suggest:
“Sinners, Saints, and Other Troublemakers”
“Security and its Role in a Dangerous World”

For a book cover, I suggest showing someone cutting a barbed-wire fence.

Alex K June 21, 2011 2:55 PM

I prefer cover 2, followed by 1. The fonts on 3 do not look good, 4 looks too much like a text book and is way too bright/over-saturated, 5 has bad fonts at the top (name, description) and the picture has the look and feel of being old.

CSM June 21, 2011 2:55 PM

I don’t know if its simply because of familiarity of reading the working title for all these months but I like “The Dishonest Minority”. Short, to the point and in my view a good title to bring in the first time reader. As for the covers presented I prefer #3 but think having the sub-title in the same freehand font as the title looks a bit off. Perhaps a smaller version of the font your name is in?

John Kugelman June 21, 2011 3:06 PM

My gut reaction is that the A, B, and C titles are a lot more intriguing. I’d want to know what the heck murderers and messiahs have in common. These titles are quite eye-catching.

Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People
Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Dangerous People

They’re more memorable, too.

The Dishonest Minority doesn’t really have that intriguing hook. “Adjective noun” is a bit bland. I suppose I have somewhat of a distaste for the “Boring title: Long explanation” format for book titles, anyhow. “Intriguing title: Subtitle” works better, don’t you think?

Gordon June 21, 2011 3:07 PM

I like cover #4 best, but get rid of the colored box around your name. For the title: The Disruptive or Uncooperative or Noncooperative or Noncooperating Minority. Subtitle, just: Security and its Role in Society (or Our Society).

Michael DeWitt June 21, 2011 3:08 PM

What about The Transgressive Minority as a title? Transgressors are what you have been calling the dishonest minority up until now, after all. My second choice would have to be Murder, Revolutions, and Other Transgressions.

And none of the proposed covers really strike me. It seems to me that you’d be best off with a cover with a clean design and a large typeface that will catch someone’s eye from across the room.

Ingmar June 21, 2011 3:15 PM

You’re writing a book about why security exists? Call it “Why security exists”.

As for a cover image, plain black works fine, the pictures are all a bit silly and not obviously related. The one other option would be to pay xkcd some royalties:

Alistair McDonald June 21, 2011 3:18 PM

Title: Transgressions
Subtitle: Security and its Role in Modern Society
Cover: 1 or 3 (sorry)

Carl 'SAI' Mitchell June 21, 2011 3:22 PM

“Sinners, Saints, and other Subversives” keeps the alliteration going.
Security and its role in Modern Society
Cover 1 or 2 I like most, but a phone book with a padlock through it would be a good picture for security/society ideas. Cliches are OK for covers IMO, since they instantly give one an idea of the contents of the book.

Alan Porter June 21, 2011 3:23 PM

Cold impression: cover #2 jumps out at me.

And I think you’re on the right track with:
The Dishonest Minority
Security and its Role in Modern Society

Kayla June 21, 2011 3:23 PM

I like “Transgressors: Securing Society from its Deviants”. Transgressors is an unusual word, so will grab attention and set your book apart. I vote for the threatening-looking fifth cover.

Peter Keane June 21, 2011 3:24 PM

I like number 2. It reminds me of a certain kind of “societal self-help” from the 60s that is (I think) a neat visual reference. Ha — I was thinking specifically about “I’m OK, You’re OK” and I just googled the cover and I see why — it’s the joined circles. Funny how the memory work. I never read the book — but I used to see it sit on my dads bookshelf as a kid.

CGHMartini June 21, 2011 3:26 PM

‘social PARASITES, a dishonest minority gets dominant’.
Send me a signed copy if that is a relevant post…
The 5 Covers are not worth comment. Truly bad.

astromac June 21, 2011 3:28 PM

My favourite options:

Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats
Security and its Role in Modern Society

Cover 1.

Troy June 21, 2011 3:31 PM

#1 “feels” good. I like the colors. I think the subtitle needs to stand out in a different color font however.

Jay June 21, 2011 3:33 PM

My cold thoughts on the covers:
1 is sort of creepy, 3 looks like a fiction novel, and 4 reminds me too much of Minority Report.

I like 5 & 2. 5 sort of has a punk rock album feel to it. I like the Venn diagram look to 2. As for font, I prefer 5, it makes the word “dishonest” pop. The circular gradient in 2 makes it blend in too much.

I vote for keeping the title as is. The Dishonest Minority is short and sweet, it’s easy to say and remember, and as a writer you can take some liberty in how you want to use the word “dishonest”. I think the way you’ve described it makes it fit. Second vote would be for “Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People”, but this may focus too much on those specific types of people.

Adrian Colley June 21, 2011 3:33 PM

I think “dissident” is the word you’re looking for.
“Madoff, Gandhi and other Dangerous People” is the best title for grabbing people by the brain. “Security and its role in defending society” is the best subtitle for the simple reason that “defending” is a word that suggests a call-to-arms, which is close to a call-to-action, which is what makes people buy. I don’t know why you’d want “modern” in there; is your thesis applicable to transgressors in ancient societies?
Cover #3 is the most eye-catching because of the large friendly letters and the blue flash. I want to prefer #4 because it’s bright and clear and it uses a proper typeface instead of #3’s chummy handwriting-font; but I have a feeling #3 would sell better.

malice June 21, 2011 3:35 PM

“Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People”
No preference for subtitle.
For the cover, out of the available options, the first.

Sero June 21, 2011 3:43 PM

Without reading the other comments: I like Saints and Sociopaths, and Liars and Outliers. I’m not sure how well it works to try and include a C to that A and B combination, as it feels like a subtitle in and of itself, or makes the ‘exciting’ title feel too long. Your title should convince people to pick the book up (or click the link on amazon, or whatever) to read the back and see what its about, not try and explain itself in the name alone. I don’t care for the minority aspect or titles with ‘deviant’ in them. Playing devil’s advocate, it sounds like good titles for a book preaching bigotry. Cover wise, my preferences are 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 in that order. Four seems the most generally eye catching but I like 5.

elad June 21, 2011 3:46 PM

For the subtitle, I like “How Society Secures itself from its Transgressors”. I think “transgressors” (or “deviants”) is important to put in there, since the book has a subtle approach to the transgressors — they are not simply “bad guys” but rather any transgressor — both with good intents and with bad intents.

For the title, I really like “X, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People”, but I don’t think X should be Madoff. He is temporary, I think, and he is not a violent criminal, which to some extent creates a less dramatic title. Plus, I’m not sure how much he’s known outside of the US. I’d like to suggest that X to be in {Manson, Capone, Che Guevara, the Unabomber}, that kind of thing. Maybe another deadly criminal.

I also like the “X, Y, and Other Dangerous People” (AODP) pattern. I particularly like
“Murderers, Messiahs, AODP”
“Murderers, Revolutionaries, AOTP”
“Murderers, Activists, AOTP”

For the cover art: they all look pretty awful to me, except maybe #2. What about some security metaphor (say police) attacking two guys X and Y, where X is a metaphor for a bad transgressor and Y is a metaphor for a good transgressor. You can put pictures of say Capone and Gandhi instead of X and Y, but also other metaphors work.

GSE June 21, 2011 3:47 PM

My preferred title is “Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People”. I think it’s striking that it points out how both good and bad people are ‘dangerous’. I’m a fan of the third cover, although the title font could be less handwriting-y.

mcb June 21, 2011 3:52 PM

I like “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” for its alliteration and the term outliers has currency.

For the subtitle I vote “Security and its Role in Modern Society”

I prefer cover No.3


Chuck Vose June 21, 2011 3:52 PM

First cover: looks really creepy, could work
Second cover: looks like it was made by a programmer
Third cover: looks like fiction, same font as a mystery novel
Fourth and Fifth: very nice typography, modern but restrained. I like the image on the fifth, it’s a little less distracting.

Definitely the fifth is my favorite.

I feel like the type is very important for this, it should be a modern feeling font but also not sterile. I know helvetica neue light is so passe, but it’s just my favorite. Black, brown, grey definitely give the feeling of a post-apocalyptic future but that may honestly be where we’re headed in some ways. I don’t know if that’s your intention with the book though.

Also, the venn diagram on the second book is misleading, it seems to imply that the dishonest minority is really just the overlap between a whole world of shady people and a whole world of nice people. For a venn diagram it should be a tiny circle inside a big circle.

I have no comment about the titles, I’m sorry. I’m crap with titles but I trust you to nail it.

Manuel P. June 21, 2011 3:54 PM

I really like ‘The Disobedient Minority’ since I reckon it describes the two kinds of people you mentioned best without causing too much confusion. For the same reason, I prefer your first suggestion for the subtitle (‘Security and its Role in Modern Society’).
I am not sure about the cover pages though. They are all not bad (except the bright one (4.), which doesn’t seem to fit the mood of the book at all) and would make an acceptable cover but not an outstanding one. If you find a neat way to get to the Ghandi-vs.-Madoff idea into a nice picture, you should consider something like that.

Jonathan June 21, 2011 3:56 PM

I like cover #1, and “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” as a title. Although maybe I’d choose “Other Dangerous People” rather than “Other Threats.”

CGHMartini June 21, 2011 3:57 PM

Ok, checked the comments. I now suggest
“computer (CR) PARASITES (CR) the dangers and chances of (CR) INFECTION”

The cover should show bits&bytes “infected”

Particular Random Guy June 21, 2011 3:59 PM

I’d go for “Deviant” or “Transgressors”

Somehow “clever people” also springs to my mind.

Covers? Ah well, shoot at will. 🙂

Curran June 21, 2011 4:01 PM

I actually like “The Dishonest Minority”. In particular, I think “minority” best conveys the idea of inconveniencing many because of the actions of a few without having a positive or negative connotation.

Among the alliterative titles, I’d go with “Liars, Outliers, and Other Transgressors”. If that’s too much alliteration, I still think “Liars & Outliers” make the best “A & B”.

Short and sweet: “Security and its Role in Modern Society”. I think “security” already implies “protection” and “defense” to many people, so no need to be redundant. And since I think you’ve mentioned that you’ll be discussing the origin of security in early societies, the word “modern” will remind readers of its relevance. (Even independent of that, I think the word “modern” helps make any product sound more relevant to the potential buyer.)

I don’t like the handwritten font in covers 3 and 5. I think it clashes badly with the clean, professional look of the thin serif font (and the 3-block partitioning of cover 3). I also don’t like cover 2 (too sparse, and what does the Venn Diagram mean?). As far as the artwork goes, it’s hard to tell at those resolutions, but I think I like the photo in cover 3, and I really like the colors and design of it too (but that font needs to go). Designs 4 and 5 remind me of a poster for a Bourne movie (which isn’t a bad thing). Another idea I had, though, is those pictures of a crowd of people all walking in the same direction, with a single person turned the other way, facing the camera. Maybe it’s a bit cliché, but I think it captures the idea of a deviant without implying anything good or bad about them.

Can’t wait to read the book! Here’s hoping it’ll come to the Kindle.

Garrett June 21, 2011 4:03 PM

In regards to the title:
I’d skip “The Dangerous Minority” and “The Disobedient Minority”. The first is going to make people think about violence most likely, and the latter about social control mechanisms. You might want to add “The Nonconforming Minority” if you stick with that model, but “The Rule Breakers” seems to be more descriptive of what you’re writing about. I think about honesty in terms of whether what you convey provides the meaning that you believe to be factually accurate, regardless of content. Rule-breaking or non-conformism shows that your dealing with group standards rather than consistency.

“Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People” – not bad, but I worry about people getting trapped in the secular first, but religious second word.
“Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People” Agh. No.
“Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Dangerous People” – wait are Saints now supposed to have been sociopaths, or does it mean that sociopaths can never be saints. Drop the “saint” – I don’t think it’ll help.
“Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dangerous People” Interesting, though that makes the book sound like it is about how the outsiders live rather than how we attempt to minimize them. Still, it has potential.
“Criminals, Activists, and Other Dangerous People”. Murderer, guy holding a sign. I can see too much differentiation in dangerousness.
“Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People”. Not bad. I’m not sure it has the right ring, but I think I like it the most. I’m just worried that Madoff is too contemporary. How about “Capone, Gandhi, …”. Capone is more well-known, had a broader organization, etc, etc.
“Jesus, the Two Thieves, and other Dangerous People” No. Not unless you’re righting about comparative ethics and theology.
“Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats”. I like it, but I worry it sounds to flaky, like a Malcolm Gladwell piece.
“Crime, Revolution, and Other Dangers”. Sweet, but revolution is too strong for the other two words. Maybe “Crime, Social Change and Other Dangers”.

“Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Transgressors”. This works the best out of these 4. The others have the same downsides as listed above. This is nice in that by talking about the people, revolutionaries is more mild than revolution (revolutionaries have cool war stories, revolution ends with your house on fire). Criminals is stronger than crime (crime happens to other people, criminals will stab me).

“Transgressors”. Might work. A little vague, but in a good, mysterious way. The more I think about it the more I like it.
“Transgressions” Who did you have the affair with?

For the subtitle:
Avoid the word “modern”, because based on your experience it isn’t limited to modern society – we’ve always had to deal with the issue. In addition, it makes the whole thing just too long to read.
“Security and its Role in Modern Society” – probably the most value-neutral of all of them, and the shortest, too. This gets my vote.
Everything else starts to read like a tongue-twister of some variety, or perhaps a new poetry meter that I can’t quite master.

“Protecting Society through Security” – as opposed to protecting society through water-supply poisoning? It reads just a little off. Perhaps “Protecting Society from those who Disagree”?

Book Covers:
1) Reminds me of the Minority Report, while failing to give me more information, and the white on shaded light green is hard to read. I vote no.
2) Clean, elegant, and I view the circles in the middle as both a Venn Diagram (trusted and good, untrusted and bad, and those we trust but who are actually bad), and as a take off of the James Bond opening bit, who is charged with protecting society. At the same time, it looks a little dated and a little boring. Still, I’d give this reasonable consideration. Adding some weight to the central font would probably help. A typeface change could help, too. Less type-writer-like and you get a more modern look, but I’d be afraid of loosing the charm at the same time.
3) Saved by the Bell with “evil” font? This looks like a cover from bad pre-teen horror novels. Could work if the background image was much more clear, but as-is, I vote No.
4) I Can See The Future Right Before I Die From A Stroke. Good cover, but wrong book subject matter for it.
5) My favorite. It’s about people, and you can’t tell which of them is good, which is bad, and they’re all the same, yet different at the same time. That photo, plus “dishonest” pretty much sells it. “Dishonest Minority” and that photo and I start trying to figure out how to tell who’s good and who’s bad. Oh, wait, that’s the subject of the book. Hell, the title could straight-up suck and still have that work well for sales. I might suggest getting rid of the squiggly font, though. It looses some power, detracts from the photo and provides a disconnect that says “this book is a laugh a minute – enjoy it on your summer vacation”!

Alex B June 21, 2011 4:05 PM

My votes are

Criminals, Activists, and Other Dangerous People
Security and its Role in Modern Society

I like the top two covers.

I think if you’re linking to ‘modern’ society then activists will resonate more than revolutionaries. I also think given the probable focus on technological security, murderers and sociopaths probably are less relevant.

Baai June 21, 2011 4:10 PM

I like the phrase “Breaking the Rules” . . . maybe you could use that (or some variation of it) or incorporate that into the exciting title part. Maybe “Lawbreakers: Security and its Role in Modern Society”, or some such.

The first cover is the creepiest, I vote for that.

JZed June 21, 2011 4:14 PM

“Dishonest Minority” is good. Anything else feels like you are bending to political correctness.

Cover #1 is good, but hard to read the white text on the light background. I also like the straight forward clean #2. The others look like covers for a crime novel.

Doug June 21, 2011 4:19 PM

Would “Pathological Minority” be appropriate?

Though I can’t imagine anyone wading through every one of these comments!

Duncan Wilcock June 21, 2011 4:34 PM

I like Dishonest Minority, although –

Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People

works well for me too. Maybe someone other than Madoff. I don’t think he’s in the same league as Gandhi.

Cover #1.

Erin McJ June 21, 2011 4:37 PM

I love the two-types trope. Of those I think the Murderers & Messiahs one is my favorite — it’s clear that you are juxtaposing bad with good (as opposed to Criminals & Activists — which many readers will interpret as two very similar classes!).

The one downside is that I don’t think this title setup works as the first half of SHORT TITLE: Long Subtitle. The first half is just too long.

You could go with The Dishonest Minority: Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People. But that would… probably irritate everybody in a messianic faith, at a minimum. Perhaps beginning with “The Transgressive Minority” instead? (Although “minority” is sort of embedded in “transgressive,” I think.) Maybe “Transgression: Murderers, &c”?

I have been reading this blog for years and I loved Beyond Fear. I will probably buy a paper copy of your book. I don’t totally understand any of the covers, honestly. I don’t like the font choices in #3 or #5 from the left, but maybe your publisher knows something I don’t about trends in fonts. I like book covers where they maybe don’t make obvious sense at first, but after you read the book you see there’s a joke or insight embedded in the cover. So maybe the meaning will be clearer after I read the book?

David June 21, 2011 4:41 PM

Giving it to you cold (this may have been suggested):

“The Needs of the Many” or
“The (Perceived) Needs of the Many”

Yeah, it’s a geeky Star Trek Reference, but I believe one or both encapsulate the price and perils of group security.

mr arson June 21, 2011 4:46 PM

I like the first cover the best overall, but the white-on-white text of the title is fairly difficult to read. Might be improved with light grey text or something similar?

Roman June 21, 2011 4:49 PM

I like

Security and its Role in Defending Society
(I don’t think “Modern” adds anything. Society has been defending itself for a long time.)

Securing Society from its Deviants

I also like these 4:
Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People
Jesus, the Two Thieves, and other Dangerous People
Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats
Crime, Revolution, and Other Dangers

I like ditching ‘dishonest’ from the title. Gandhi was very honest about what he was doing. I like words like subversive or deviant better.

A couple other tweaks on this idea:
Madhoff, Gandhi, and other Subversives
Jesus, the Two Thieves, and other Deviants
Crime, Revolution, and other Deviations
Ponzi, Pacifism, and other Perversions

Onno June 21, 2011 4:54 PM

I’ll leave the wordiness to the wordsmiths, but I’ve got opinions on the cover.

  1. The best one. Make the photo a little darker to let the text pop out. Horizontal bars, seeing only part of people – good theme. Fonts are nice.
  2. Beautiful, nice fonts, graphic too generic.
  3. This cover sucks. All of it.
  4. Overall very nice, but the graphic gives me more of a “you’re being watched” feel than anything else.
  5. Great, at first glance. Nice title font, colours and layout. Unfortunately the author font is horrible and a closer look at the photo makes it look like a zombie parade.

Best to worst: 1 4 2 5 3.

David Thornley June 21, 2011 4:56 PM

  1. Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Dangerous People

It’s alliterative, conjoins two very different groups, and calls saints “dangerous”. “Dangerous People” is stronger than “Transgressors”, and “Sociopaths” is stronger than “Sinners”. Somebody like me (all I can speak for) would be intrigued by the claims and at least read the blurbs.

  1. This depends heavily on the length of the title. I’d go with #1 or #5. My visual imagination isn’t quite up to plastering my favorite title on the covers today.

kcullimo June 21, 2011 5:00 PM

Apologies for posting before reviewing existing comments, but my immediate reaction involves the asymmetry between deviant & dishonest. In order for individuals to go against the group, they don’t necessarily need to behave dishonestly (it would depend greatly upon the individuals and the group involved). They DO, however, need to behave deviantly. Beyond obviously, an adjective beginning with “M” conveying the same sense would prove a better choice.

RJones June 21, 2011 5:03 PM

I think “Sinners, Saints and Other Dangerous People” captures the concept the best without having to think about it much (i.e. wider audience). The terms are simple and counting “Saints” among the dangerous will hopefully pique the interest of those who might not otherwise read it. I would not use “Transgressors” in the title as I think you’ll lose much of the potential audience (any word they need to look up results in putting the book down).

You could then make the subtitle “Security and its Role in Protecting Society from the Dishonest Minority”.

I would DEFINITELY not use “Protecting Society through Security”. That sounds like a slogan the TSA or other government entity could latch onto.

My second choice would be your original title, “The Dishonest Minority”.

I don’t have any good suggestions regarding the cover. For me, none of them really capture the concept (maybe I’m dense). The duck picture certainly illustrates the concept, but doesn’t scream to the book store browser that this book is about societal security.

Simon June 21, 2011 5:03 PM

Cover 2, as it’s minimal, but with the fonts from 5: I guess I don’t like serifs

“Security and its Role in Modern Society” is the most straight-forward without “is it really protecting or defending us?” questions

The title is the hardest: I don’t like Transgressors
Dishonest is the best word for it, and I’d suggest your original title
Disobedient is like scolding a child
Deviant is paired with “sexual” too often

Also, I like the flow to “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats”, but it probably isn’t the best title for a book

Gweihir June 21, 2011 5:04 PM

I don’t like criminals/crime, because that really does not cover it. I also don’t think religious references apply at all.

  1. What about

“Transgressors: Sociopaths, Revolutionaries and other dangerous people”.

No religion in there. No law either. Both are really just results from the existence of transgressors and therefore are unsuitable to characterize them.

  1. All these covers are far too generic. 1,3,4,5 are to hectic. Too many small elements that do not add meaning but have to be taken in. On the other hand, 2 is too simplistic. The topic is more complex than that.

Flado June 21, 2011 5:06 PM

I’m not so sure the title or the cover matter much.
I knew nothing about you until a neighbour loaned and recommended “Beyond Fear.” I’m a fan of yours ever since.
I’ve read maybe three unrecommended books by previously unknown authors in the last ten years. I might be atypical, but I doubt it.
So I’d say the title doesn’t matter at all, and any cover should do as long as it says “Bruce Schneier” in large, easily readable type.

Dr. T June 21, 2011 5:13 PM

My preferred title is “Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Transgressors.”

My preferred subtitle is “Security and its Role in Modern Society.” I don’t like the subtitles with protecting or defending, because too much of our security efforts do neither.

I dislike all the cover choices. #1 has white text over very light areas. Plus, the design is weird. #2 uses boring fonts, particularly the too light, blocky title text. #3 has that awful marker pen all-caps font overlying a boring black and white photo of legs in an alley. #4 has an ugly and busy photo background of a crowd that doesn’t reflect the book’s topic. #5 also features a strange crowd scene and looks bleak.

I recommend a cover photo of someone doing something obviously dishonest such as shoplifting, car stealing, breaking and entering, etc. For shoplifting or car stealing, there could be multiple people in the background going about their business while a shoplifter in a busy store tucks something into an inside coat pocket or a car thief in a crowded parking lot uses a shim to unlock a car door. That would reflect the theme of a minority of people behaving badly.

Richard Steven Hack June 21, 2011 5:21 PM

It’s true that it’s a bit pejorative to use the word “dishonest” to describe both Madoff and Gandhi. But I can’t think of a better word.”

Try. i still don’t like “dishonest”. To me and I think to most people, “dishonesty” refers to telling the truth or fraud and little else. Your usage is WAY more general and less likely to be understood by the average reader.

“The Dishonest Minority” Nope
“The Dangerous Minority” Better.
“The Deviant Minority” Unless psychs want to quibble with a clinical definition of “deviance” this is better.
“The Disobedient Minority” Not bad, about on a par with “Deviant”.

“I don’t really like any of them.” Tough – they’re better than “dishonest”.

“Another option is to explicitly call out the two different types:” Let’s see.

“Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People” OK, but leaves out less radical dangerous people.

“Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People” Better, since it includes more types of radicals but tends to have religious connotations which I assume are only a small part of what you’re interested in discussing.

“Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Dangerous People” Nope – Sociopaths doesn’t work.

“Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dangerous People” – Nope, same problem as above. Too much emphasis on real crime.

“Criminals, Activists, and Other Dangerous People” – Nah, activists is lame, too vague.

Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People” – Nope, completely confusing unless you know what unites the two individuals a priori.

“Jesus, the Two Thieves, and other Dangerous People” – Nope, too Biblical as you note.

“Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” – Close, but liars is a subset and not orthogonal to outliers”. Again, the reference to outliers might not be understood on first reading.

“Crime, Revolution, and Other Dangers” – Boring, too general.

“They’re both “transgressors,” which might be a good word for the title.”

Now we’re getting into my territory: “Taboo and Transgression”. If you’ve read by Georges Bataille, you’ll understand what I mean. This is getting to the heart of your thesis that social conventions are the mold and there are those that exist outside the mold.

Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Transgressors
Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Transgressors
Crime, Activism, and Other Transgressions
Murder, Revolution, and Other Transgressions

All have the same problems as their earlier versions with just the “transgressor” or “transgressions” word added.

“Or the word alone” – Nope, too general, you need to tie it to the issue of security directly.

How about “Taboo and Transgression – The Nature of Security”?

“The subtitle is still one of these:”

“Security and its Role in Modern Society” – Not bad. Allows you to discuss its role OTHER than that of simply “protecting” or “defending”.

“Security and its Role in Protecting Modern Society” – Nope, “Protecting” is redundant, implied in the term “security”.

“Security and its Role in Defending Modern Society” – Same problem as the previous.

“Security and its Role in Defending Society” – Same-oh.

“Security and its Role in Protecting Society” – Same-oh.

“Other options:”

“Protecting Society through Security” – Too general.

“Securing Society from its Deviants” – Maybe. Better might be “Securing Society From Transgression”.

stevelaudig June 21, 2011 5:22 PM

This is stream of consciousness not a reasoned presentation:

Against the Grain
Cheating Security
Defending Dishonesty
Different Honesties
Differently Honest
Dishonest Honor
Dishonestly honest
Don’t ‘dis My Honor
Honest Me, Dishonest You.
Honest Transgressors
Honesties and Securities
Honestly dishonest
Honestly? Dishonestly!
Honesty Matters.
Honesty? Dishonesty!
Honor and Dishonesty
Honorable and Dishonorable Transgressors
Honorable Dishonesty
It’s Either You [or me]
Principled and Unprincipled Honesties
Principles of Dishonesties
Round Peg, Square Hole-Two Takes on honesty
Round Pegs, Square Holes-Two Views of honesty
Selfish and Unselfish Honesties
The Judas Principle [see Robert Graves’s theory of the betrayal contained in the Nazarene Gospel Restored.]
Transgressing Honesties
Transgressors of Honor
Truthfully Dishonest
Un/Selfish Dis/honesty

Richard Steven Hack June 21, 2011 5:25 PM

And, hey, my connection and posting problem here appears to have magically cleared itself up! So far at least.

If that’s true, I’m inclined to believe in an ISP DNS issue or something got tweaked on the site.

Chip Uni June 21, 2011 5:25 PM

(Without reading the other comments)

My thoughts, on seeing each cover:

1: I’m looking up, from below, to a frosted walkway. The title is straightforward and classic. Is this book a sequel to /Minority Report/?

2: What does that symbol mean — is it an eclipse? That white+black=gray? A variant on the infinity sign? A Venn diagram?

And what does that symbol have to do with “The Dishonest Minority”? There’s no relationship between that Venn diagram and the word “minority”, except maybe that small group in the middle…

…aha! I know what the cover means. If you’re part of two different groups, then you’re seen as dishonest to both of them.

3: A semi-handwritten, dripping font. Dark feet behind. If that font were bleeding more, I’d classify the book as horror.

4: A blurry school. Students going to class. What does this have to do with a dishonest minority?

Aha. The book must be about cheaters in school.

5: Faceless silhouettes standing. The dishonest minority. This book must be a spy thriller.

My opinion: I do NOT recommend these covers.

You have a strong, short phrase to describe your book: “How a group of people protects itself from individuals within that group.” Use that phrase to guide your choice of images.

Use places — checkout lines, sports stadiums, or the like — where security occurs.

The Archon June 21, 2011 5:31 PM

Random thoughts during a slow moment at work:

I kind of like “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats”. Clever.

I’d avoid use of the word “Revolutionaries” due to carrying as much negative context as positive. Religious stuff makes it look like a religious-themed book, so also something to avoid.

Of the covers there, I like #4.

gordo June 21, 2011 5:32 PM

Possible title/words:

Disruptive Innovation
& the Dishonest:
Security and its Role
in Modern Society

Cover #3, maybe not so dark.

Florian June 21, 2011 5:32 PM

What about “Why Security exists” as a title with “The Role of Security in Modern Society” as the subtitle?

Not sure about the covers, except for 2 most of them look like novels, or maybe it’s the current title. “The Dishonest Minority” sounds very much like a novel or crime thriller title to me.

Regardless of what the book will be called in the end, I’m looking forward to reading it!

Tom Gillespie June 21, 2011 5:39 PM

As far as names go, I might consider something along the lines of “Weeds in the Virtuous City,” or “Weeds in the Modern Society.” This refers directly to Al-Farabi’s (and other medieval Islamic philosopher’s) discussions of imperfect men or vicious men living in the virtuous city or the virtuous man living in the immoral or imperfect city. I think that you deal with many of the same questions that these philosopher’s tried to tackle and that the analogy of weeds fits very well.


ABC June 21, 2011 5:40 PM

General comments:
Madoff is too contemporary. Won’t make sense in 10 years.

“Transgressors” is a strange word. I also think that “Outliers” isn’t in most people’s vocabulary.

I think of Minority Report when I see the covers with the working title so I’d change the title.

Question 1:
“Crime, Activism, and Other Transgressions: Security and its Role in Modern Society” (or even drop “Modern”)

Question 2:
Go with a cover that just shows a bunch of people like 4 or 5. Lots of people – don’t know who to trust.

Now reading other comments…
I like “Against the Grain”
Ugh. There are too many comments to look at.

Vles June 21, 2011 5:41 PM

I’d probably pick “Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Transgressors”, but “other transgressors” has no ring to it.

Maybe “Sociopaths, Saints, [and|in] Society”
“On sociopaths and saints in our society”

The subtitle should not have “modern” in it. What you describe has happened through the ages. I’d choose “defending” over “protecting”.

Richard Steven Hack June 21, 2011 5:42 PM

Of the covers, three and five are too dark. And lose the squiggly font – people need to be able to READ the words, not treat them like a Capcha.

Cover one is hard to read. Cover two is easy to read but a bit boring, although the Venn diagram could be a bit of value if it’s made more clear it is one.

If you use a photo like cover four, it has to be clear, not fuzzy.

Above all, avoid “arty”! You want clear, precise and concise – then add on adjectives like “bold”, “stunning” to describe the appearance of the cover.

Frankly, it wouldn’t hurt to slap your picture on the cover. You look like a smart guy, people might want to know what this smart guy has to say. It would also attract those who have already heard your name or seen you on TV, although of course that would be a tiny minority of the potential buyers.

Otherwise, go for an image (drawing or picture) picture which represents “taboo and transgression” and the place of security in that dichotomy.

And here it is! A little Google Images search reveals – The Execution of Guy Fawkes by Claes (Nicolaes) Jansz Visscher

Absolutely PERFECT for the topic!

Nick Lancaster June 21, 2011 5:47 PM

Covers – I like #4.

What about “True and/or False: The Role of Security, etc.” – which takes the dishonesty issue to an assessment of reliability/veracity as opposed to the judgments associated with names.

Vles June 21, 2011 5:48 PM

Sorry for the double post. I don’t like any of the covers, but I keep thinking about Leonardo’s Renaissance Man.


Muffin June 21, 2011 5:54 PM

Q1: The first type of title (“The ${ADJECTIVE} ${NOUN}”) works best for me. I agree none of the ones listed are great, though; if I had to rank them, I’d say “deviant” is best, followed by “dishonest”, “dangerous” and “disobedient”, in that order.

“Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People” is decent, I think, insofar as that it’s attention-catching. “Madoff, Gandhi […]” would work, but I’m not sure Madoff is recognizable enough – the way that Gandhi is. The rest I don’t like that much.

The “$A, $B and other Transgressors/Transgressions” titles I don’t like; the words “Transgressors” and “Transgressions” are too stilted. For the same reason, they also don’t work on their own for me – even less so, in fact. “Transgressors” and “Transgressions” without anything else are my least favorite titles.

Subtitles: I’d go for the first (“Security and its Role in Modern Society”). It’s the shorter and more general than the other options in its group, and catchier than the other options.

Q2: if the goal of the title is to make people want to read the book (by means of an exciting title and informative subtitle), the goal of the cover image should be to grab people’s attention and make them read the title and subtitle.

Given that, my gut feeling is that the 5th cover is the best, overall. The 2nd is also good, but less exciting – less catchy. The 1st is not very readable with the white text on a bright background; the 4th is too visually busy, and the blue is distracting. The 3rd might work, but the relative placement of the image and the text does not work well for me, and the font for the title proper (“The Dishonest Minority”) is too comic-like and squiggly.

The same goes for your name in the 5th cover, BTW, although the effect is less pronounced there. And perhaps it’s necessary to use a different font to draw some attention to your name for those that will recognize your name and look at and/or buy the book based on that; but if the main goal is to target people who aren’t familiar with your name and your work(s), I’d suggest something more subdued.

HTH! (I am getting a free signed copy for this, right? ;))

Sam Kington June 21, 2011 5:55 PM

“Transgressors” or “Transgressions” sound too much like, respectively, a bullshit management book (or non-fiction written by someone who isn’t, but wants to be, Malcolm Gladwell), or an airport sci-fi/romance novel.

Of the “these two are not the same, but have the same behaviours” titles, I much prefer “Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People”. (And not because of the whole “He’s not the Messiah, he’s just a naughty boy” angle.) “Liars, Outliers” is too weak – nobody thinks of Gandhi as an outlier, even if they know what the word means – and nobody knows what the two thieves did, other than to be crucified at the same time as Jesus, and be the only two people he promised would go to Heaven. Murderers and Messiahs is the best, most striking combination to my mind.

I’d go with “Security and its role in Modern Society”, because you don’t need the flashy “Securing Society from its Deviants” if you have Murders vs Messiahs in the main title, and you may as well a) have “Modern” in the title, and b) not have to choose between Protecting vs Defending.

Covers: I don’t think the Venn diagram in #2 works, as it suggests too strongly (or too arbitrarily) an intersection between two sets of people. I dislike the script typeface in #3 and #5. #1 strongly suggests chromosomes to me, which I think gives the wrong impression. That leaves #4, which is rather clichéd. I’d prefer the typefaces of #4 with either #3 or #5.

Nicolai June 21, 2011 6:00 PM

I think cover 2 is best.
It is has clear typography presented in a high-contrast style, has a simple graphic design, and lacks complicated and ambiguous images.

Anon June 21, 2011 6:00 PM

“Please first give them to me cold, without reading the other comments.”


Best title:
“Sinners, Saints and Other Dangerous People: Security and its Role in Modern Society.”

(no need to mention ‘protecting’ etc in the subtitle – that would just be redundant verbiage).

The all-black cover looks good – with the title in bold white print, and the subtitle below in a more muted colour.

But, what the hell, I’ll still buy it whatever title you settle for, and whichever cover you choose.

bob mcbob June 21, 2011 6:10 PM

I like “Why Security?” as a title. I don’t like “The Dishonest Minority” because, as you recognize, it describes as dishonest those who would not necessarily be described as “dishonest” in a more usual context.

As for the cover: if you stick with “The Dishonest Minority” title, the cover image should be a picture of a Supreme Court judge lying on his bunk in a prison cell.

Brian Ballsun-Stanton June 21, 2011 6:13 PM

I like “Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Transgressors” the best from the titles, “Security and its Role in Modern Society” in subtitles, and cover B the most.

If you can get movie stills or similar, you may want to capture the walk-through X-ray machine from Total Recall. It’s a very evocative image that has a “dishonest minority” within it.

Ds June 21, 2011 6:19 PM

If you stick with a minority theme title, I like cover 5, but altered so that one of the figures has a red aura. As an alternative title, I like “drawing outside the lines” or something similarly evocative of an emotion rather than something more plainly descriptive.

Steven Hoober June 21, 2011 6:19 PM

#1, for sure. Contemporary, shadowy without being dark, etc. Like it.

Certainly not any of the script face ones. Ick.

Love the final title/subtitle also. Good for a book cover.

josephdietrich June 21, 2011 6:23 PM

I cannot speak to the title text, since I am not a punch headline writer. However, I find image 1 for the cover the most visually appealing by far.

pokerke June 21, 2011 6:30 PM

Lots of people seem to like cover 2. I also think it is way ahead of the others.

All the others look like fiction detective novels to me. I have a feeling I can even remember reading some of them.

With the stockphotos you also never know where they have been used before (e.g. ).

Concerning the titles and subtitles, none of the alternative titles beats the current version, I think.

Tony H. June 21, 2011 6:31 PM

Comments unread, as instructed…

I really like the Liars, Outliers pair, probably best with “and other dangerous people”. (Yeah, I know the Outliers may not directly be people.)

Securing Society from its Deviants is good, but you could go all out with the alliteration and say Securing Society from Dangerous Deviants.

Tim June 21, 2011 6:36 PM

Q1: What do I think of the title options?
Long titles lose attention. I like the subtitle “Security and its Role in Modern Society”. It’s concise and makes your point. As to the title itself, I think that a subtle bible reference is safe, but a blatant one probably hurts the book. Of course, simple words are best: my favorite of your choices is “Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People”.

Q2: What of the cover options?
I use covers on my digital media to show my friends what I’m reading, so the cover is still important to your sales in my small world. Again, simplicity helps so I don’t like busy covers. I don’t like #4 or 5 for this reason. Solid beefy fonts are easier to read fast, so I prefer the ones used in #1 & 3. #2 is probably my favorite, but I’d use the font from #1 and replace the circles in the center with something more mathematical (a set of ‘normals’, subsets of saints & sinners? White hats, black hats, & grey hats?)

I hope that this helps. I’m no author, or graphics artist. Good luck!

JT June 21, 2011 6:37 PM

i like cover 2. It stands out the most among what you’d normally see on someones bookshelf.

I actually think ‘dishonest’ is the best choice here. Perhaps it doesnt ‘feel’ the best. But arent you the guy that says all the time that security isnt about ‘feeling’ like everything is ok. 🙂

Whatever you title it. I look forward to being able to order it. Will you offer signed copies as you have done for some of your other releases?

Jesper P June 21, 2011 6:37 PM

‘The Perverse Minority’ would cover the idea of deliberate and persistent contrariness. The common use in the sexual sense would also give added publicity.

Yonatan Zunger June 21, 2011 6:40 PM

X, Y and Other Dangerous People scans well, especially if X and Y are fairly strong — so “Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People” is a great title. Madoff is too topical a reference and will age quickly. Sociopaths is too scholarly a word for that position in the title; Criminals / Revolutionaries isn’t a clear enough contrast, and Activists may make people think that you consider activists to be criminals, which probably isn’t what you want.

The other title which sounds especially good is “The Dishonest Minority.” For all that it isn’t perfectly accurate, it’s short and punchy, and conveys the most critical idea of the book.

For the subtitle, I’d stick with zero or one modifiers: “Security and its Role in Modern Society,” or even just “Security and its Role in Society.” OTOH, since this book isn’t specifically about the modern world, perhaps “Security and its Role in Human Societies?” Sounds very Jared Diamond. (In a good way)

On the book covers, first of all good on you for having a strong enough publisher relationship that they’re asking you. 🙂 I would vote against #2 for being too dark and not visible enough, and #3 for not looking quite cleanly professional enough for what’s ultimately a fairly serious idea. #1 is a bit hard to read (white-on-white) but could be fixed. 4 and 5 both look great.

andy June 21, 2011 6:47 PM

Covers are still important to me – lame as it sounds; I don’t think I will be able to take option 3 with the comic font seriously. All of the others seem to be suffuciently ‘serious’.

phb June 21, 2011 6:49 PM

Come in No. 5

I suggest a distinguishing colour on a couple of parts of some of the people, e.g. 2 orange caps, or 2 red brief cases, or just 2 coloured lapel badges. Something to identify the minority in the photo.

( This may be contrary to the theme of your book, but seems to speak to an obvious interpretation of the title. )

jayden June 21, 2011 6:53 PM

Liars, Outliers and Other Threats

Its catchy, and seperates the classic idea of bad (liars) from the good (outliers) – but still indicates that each is different from the societal norm.

Book cover 4 or 5, again because they represent the crowd, and the idea of discerning the minority from the majority.

Stuart June 21, 2011 6:56 PM

Cover #3. More likely to attract those who don’t know you and your work.
Use the proposed title and subtitle, because it is catchy.
Inside the book start off with a discussion of the use of dishonest and change the working term to transgressor.
A bit of bait and switch, but not in a bad way.

oscar cassetti June 21, 2011 6:58 PM

I like the title: “The Dishonest Minority”
but I would use one of the alternative subtitles
“Securing Society from its Deviants”

I believe the two link together and the summarize what you have said about the topic of the book.

About the covers: I don’t really like 1 and 4. 1 It’s not very readable – to much white. 2,3 and 5 are quite nice but ultimately I would use 5.

yb June 21, 2011 6:58 PM

The first cover is definitely the best. Actually, the first title is the one I like best, too. “The Dishonest Minority”–concise and intriguing.

Nick Condon June 21, 2011 7:04 PM

The one with the Venn diagram is the only one that really matches the title and content of the book. It’s also just the sort of cover that would make me take a closer look. It’s my favorite by a landslide.

Although I don’t necessarily think it’s appropriate for the content, the first cover is graphically striking. It might draw eyes.

The third cover is blandly laid-out and uses a horrid, faux-handwriting font. The fourth has a ridiculously bad stock photo, although the rest of it is good. The fifth would be a solid cover if your name was in a non-pukey font.

Dr. I. Needtob Athe June 21, 2011 7:23 PM

Add one more vote for Geoffrey Kidd’s idea, “Rule-Breakers”. It works because rule-breakers are those who break both good rules and bad rules.

PB June 21, 2011 7:27 PM

I like cover number 3. It’s got a bleak, despairing look to it that matches the topic.

As for the title, I like “Sinners, Saints and Other Dangerous People”. I know you have reservations about biblical allusions, but I can’t see any disrespect in this one. There is the problem that it doesn’t actually say anything about the content but the subtitle fixes that.

I don’t like the titles where you mention Gandhi, Madoff etc. Putting Gandhi and Modoff together seems vaguely disrespectful to Gandhi to me.

jason June 21, 2011 7:39 PM

I like “The Dishonest Minority” or the “The Disobedient Minority” as a main title, with 2 of your subtitles…with either 1st, 2nd or 5th cover pages picture-wise

Not to brown-nose or anything, but thanks for all you do Mr. Schneier…Keep informing the masses with your genius mind…

Andy June 21, 2011 7:40 PM

“Murder, Revolution, and Other Transgressions” I wouldn’t pick this one, sound like the book would be poltical/etc and leaning towards fiction

Scott June 21, 2011 7:46 PM

How about something not even on the table?

My suggestion is “Dishonest or Just Different?”

And Cover #1.

Evan Harper June 21, 2011 7:53 PM

I very much like “Transgressors,” think “The Dishonest Minority” is pretty good, and don’t think much of the others. The only strong opinion I have about the covers is that the fake handwriting font in 3 is absolutely terrible.

Zith June 21, 2011 8:04 PM

Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats: Security and its Role in Modern Society

I really like Cover 1, but the white text gets unreadable. If that could be cleared up with the same concept I’d be all over it; if not, Cover 5.

Jenn June 21, 2011 8:05 PM

I’m a fan of Liars and Outliers as the title – it doesn’t have the same outright negative connotation as “dishonest minority” (which frankly sounds like it’s some sort of racist propaganda to me), and it still goes with a number of subtitles. I’m a fan of the word “transgressive” as it also can go both ways, and I think that ambiguity is key.

As for covers, I like the Venn diagram best, it’s very classy. Is classy good for sales?

Daniel June 21, 2011 8:16 PM

I didn’t address the topic of the book covers in my first comment because I wanted to reflect on them. What I think now is that the visual cover you should chose depends on who you perceive your audience will be. If you want to reach out to a more general audience, I think cover #1 is best. It almost looks like the cover of a mystery novel. I think it arouses curiosity and will make people take a look at the book who might otherwise pass it by. OTOH, I think #2 is best if you are aiming for a more technical or academic audience. It looks like the cover for a textbook. As for the last three covers, no. Those covers with that title make me certain that when I open the book I will find the words “cultural hegemony” right in the preface.

Terry Cloth June 21, 2011 8:18 PM

OK, you want me to shoot from the hip:

Lose the covers!

I like the A, B, and other… style, but shortening it a bit might help: Madoff, Ghandi, and Other Dangers

All this without going for my thesaurus. I suspect some quality time with Roget would help, too.

Scott June 21, 2011 8:23 PM

I understand what you’re trying to say…I’m not sure any of the titles you’ve offered does it–and the title will set the tone for the book/is itself a message.

I’m not thrilled with any of the “The * Minority” titles you provided if it’s intended to include the good guys. They’re all negative connotations. I feel like the good guys are demonized enough.

Playing a little more with the thesaurus:
“The Risky Minority”?

Of the “series” titles, I suppose I like “Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other X” most. Transgressions tend to be minor, which doesn’t go with the weightier crime & revolution.

Other pairs:
Terrorists and Patriots
Villains and Vigilantes
Desperadoes and the Desperate

That said, I would lean toward shorter, simpler titles. They’re easier to cite/recommend, and are typical to your books.

How about this (something totally different, but similar):
“Risky or Dangerous?”

I’d avoid biblical references.

For book covers, I like 2 or 5. 4 looks like a fiction book I’ve seen before. 2 works well for your dichotomy/series titles. 3 is ok, but it doesn’t feel right to me–maybe it’s the font, or maybe it’s because it looks like a repeat of the “beyond fear” cover (it’s different, but similar). 1 looks like something from a movie.

Pat Gunn June 21, 2011 8:28 PM

As for the covers, #2 looks the most serious, #3 looks the most readable (particularly the subtitle), and #5 looks the most stylish. I’d like a poster of #5.

If your book is fairly academic/stuffy in tone, I’d use #2, otherwise #3 is best.

Paul June 21, 2011 8:29 PM

“Liars and Outliers” is both the most descriptive and the most aesthetically pleasing of the options presented above. It’s catchy enough that you don’t need the “…and other xxx”. I’d go with short and snappy, then a subtitle that captures the ‘and others’. So the best combo is probably “Liars and Outliers: Securing Society From Its Deviants”

Terry Cloth June 21, 2011 8:31 PM

Considered opinion on cover: As noted above, all the examples are turn-offs for me. Maybe a photo of a large crowd from twenty feet looking out so you get a feel for the folks in it. Make it in color, but fade two or three of the crowd members to grayscale.

That would make me want to know why those few are different.

David Smith June 21, 2011 8:31 PM

People will have forgotten about Madoff in a few years. So, don’t incorporate his name in the title. “Outliers” is too fancy a word – it does not have rich enough connotations. My suggestion is: use a title that evokes a picture in the mind of the reader. How about simply “Dangerous People”?

george June 21, 2011 8:32 PM

I go with number one as the cover of choice. Color depth of image or lack of certain focus draws the eye to the title.

P June 21, 2011 8:35 PM

My preferences:

The Disobedient Minority – Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dangerous People – Cover 2

I’m interpreting your message that what can be a cure, can also be harmful.

Keith June 21, 2011 8:35 PM

How about:
Title: Security Happens
Subtitle: Why security exists and how to deal with it

godel June 21, 2011 8:47 PM

I like No.3, but possibly with a different font for the center bar with the subtitle.

I actively dislike No.1. I think the white text disappears into the light colored background.

igloo June 21, 2011 8:56 PM

Cover #1 is simple and uncluttered – good layout. #2 is too stark. Don’t like the font in #3, and #4 & #5 are too ‘fussy’.

“Security and it’s Role in Modern Society” is more honest as a subtitle by not pretending to definitely protect or defend! I’m sure you’re not going to be that prescriptive!

ScottC June 21, 2011 9:02 PM

Title ideas:
– Why Can’t we all just get along?
– Why we can’t all just get along

Subtitle ideas:
– How groups protect against their members
– How groups defend against attacks from within
– Defending against your own team

David Romm June 21, 2011 9:11 PM

Well, if you want a new audience, then The Bible is the way to go. Hence my new favorite is:

“Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People”

As before, I think you “defend” against something passive, like a random crime (which is why we have the passive Defense Department and not the active War Department), and “protect” against an active threat, like a direct attack (which is why the armed police Protect and Serve). Hence, I would go with the more active:

‘Security and its Role in Protecting Society’

I’m iffy about “modern”. True, you would be making a biblical reference (if you use this suggestion) and not an historical one, but Biblical times did not have “security” concerns in the way we define them. Hence, I think “modern” is redundant.

I still don’t like any of the covers. On the other hand, as you say, I’m not the one who’s going to be buying the book as a discretionary purchase.

(It would be cool to have a little foil as a mirror, so that the potential reader sees that they are what society needs protecting against…)

As always, this is just my 2.8¢ worth.

Bob June 21, 2011 9:12 PM

The use of “security” in some of the sample subtitles, eg “Security and its Role in Protecting Society” kind of throws me. “Security” is the state obtained when society is protected, not something that protects. Exactly what are you giving credit for protecting society? Security forces? Security procedures? Security experts? the TSA?
Good luck with the book.

Chris Brew June 21, 2011 9:15 PM

Number 4 is good because it doesn’t look anything like a horror movie, but like a book about ordinary people living ordinary lives. The others are dark and aggressively techie

Bill Roper June 21, 2011 9:15 PM

Given that we’re talking about people with different morality (Gandhi) and people with a criminal morality (Madoff), might a good title (with suitable alliteration) be “Minority Morality”? Possibly with a subtitle of “From Gandhi to Madoff”?

As far as the cover goes, #4 is my favorite because it is light-colored and the font is easy to read and pops off the cover.

#1 is my least liked, because the title is almost unreadable on the background. I also have no clue as to what the background is supposed to represent.

I am largely indifferent between 2, 3, and 5, but I note that the graphic on #2 makes very little sense to me (and reminds me of “Not Even Wrong”), while the font for the author’s name on #4 just looks wrong in combination with the rest of the cover.

I guess I would rank order the covers as 4, 3, 5, 2, 1 from best to worst.

Bill Roper June 21, 2011 9:23 PM

And having read the other comments now, if you think Madoff will soon be forgotten, I’m fairly sure that Enron won’t. 🙂

Joe White June 21, 2011 9:25 PM

I like the alliteration of “Sociopaths and Saints”, but I think it sounds better as “Saints and Sociopaths”. Better rhythm, a little easier to say, and it seems a little more attention-getting: going from “saint” to “sociopath” is a little more jarring than the other way around.

How about: “Saints and Sociopaths: Modern Security and the Disobedient Minority”? It’s catchy. But the “Saints and Sociopaths”, while dramatic, might overpromise a bit.

Your working title, “The Dishonest Minority”, isn’t bad. I think a paragraph or two in the introduction could explain why you’re using the word “dishonest” and what you mean by it.

I like cover #4. It’s eye-catching, a little out of the ordinary, interesting use of color in the image, but not overwhelming. The typefaces and overall layout are appealing. It’s hard to tell from the pixelly image, but the person on the left could almost be picking the pocket of the person next to them, which would be appropriate to the topic.

Jeremy June 21, 2011 9:25 PM

I like Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dangerous People. I’m not thrilled about the word “transgressors” – I think “Dangerous People” is a better attention grabber.

None of the book covers really leap out at me, but then I never judge a book by the cover anyway, so I’m probably not the best judge. I would say go with the second one – it is nice and simple cover with no distractions.

Macarthur June 21, 2011 9:34 PM

I like the title as it’s shown in the images, and I really like 5. If I was in a bookstore and I saw it, that’d be the one that picks me it up and at least glance across the back.

It’s a lot more catchy than the other ones. Since 4 to me would be more scifi minority report style of a book. So I guess it’s either 4 or 5. But 5 feels a bit more intriguing.

Tim Smith June 21, 2011 9:40 PM


“The Dishonest Minority” is still my favorite title. I like the explicit call out idea, but think the resulting titles are too long. “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” is OK.

My favorite subtitle from the list is “Security and its Role in Modern Society”. If you go with “The Dishonest Minority” as the title, I’d like to see some antagonism in the subtitle. For example, “Security’s Benefits and Costs to Modern Society”. If I was unfamiliar with your work, the suggestion of a downside to security might pique my interest.


  1. B1-C1
    I like the image (because it is strange).
    The contrast of the title against the lighter parts of the background isn’t high enough though.
    Fontwise this was my favorite. Good thickness. Consistent (no bold on “dishonest”).

  2. B1-C4
    It’s OK, a little boring though.
    Title font is too thin for my tastes.

  3. B2-C1
    The title font suggests the book is going to contain anecdotes in place of data.
    Picture is OK.

  4. B2-C3
    I don’t like the image. The layout is nice, though. I think I’d prefer “The” and “Minority” the same size and weight as “Dishonest” though.

  5. B2-C4
    My favorite image. I quite like the effect of the reduced resolution image in this case, perhaps you should keep the pixelation. You might try a slight reduction in the brightness of the unshadowed patches of floor. Using different colors (rather than weights) for “dishonest” works for me. Again, title is too thin.

Unix Ronin June 21, 2011 9:52 PM

I like covers 1, 2, and 5. Covers 3 and 4 are too busy.

Have you considered “Outsiders” instead of “Transgressors”? I have to say, though, I really like the suggestion above of ‘The Non-Conformant Minority’. That’s particularly good in light of the way that so much of our society is all about conformance. “Don’t be what you want to be. We’ll tell you what to be and what to think. Obey. Conform. Be a good little worker drone.”

Kip W June 21, 2011 9:54 PM

A Little Security: Protecting the Pack from Liars and Outliers

Cover art: I liked the idea of a Venn diagram. How about a Bell Curve, with possibly menacing shapes scaring the middle from both sides?

The first font choice works for me. Legible is good.

Alice Bentley June 21, 2011 10:04 PM

Of the title options, I find “Liars, Outliers and Other Threats” to be the best at encompassing what I think you’re going for, with “Liars and Outliers” being an even shorter, punchier alternative.
“Security and its Role in Modern Society” is my pick of the subtitles, but I would consider dropping “Modern” as unnecessary.

For cover design, I like Cover 2 for its sharp readability, although I would bold the title and push the font size for the subtitle up a bit for more clarity. The Venn diagram isn’t itself very informative, but I like the clean lines it provides better than the busyness and blurs of the stock photography.

I would avoid the loose, scribbly font used in Cover #3 unless this particular book is aimed at the very casual reader.

Matt Andrews June 21, 2011 10:16 PM

Given that the core theme is transgression, but that “transgressors” as a word doesn’t have much grab, how about:

“Crossing the Line”

Of the cover options, 1.

Darryl June 21, 2011 10:22 PM

How about “Heros, Villans, and Other Perils,” or “Heros, Villans and Other People Mother Warned Me About.”

David June 21, 2011 10:50 PM

I really like the Liars/Outliers parallel, although I’m not certain how well it works as the title for this book compared to the other options.

Daedala June 21, 2011 10:59 PM

I think the title and the name for the central concept need to work without pages of careful explanation of what you actually mean. I’m really unhappy if someone calls me “dishonest” or “deviant,” even if there are a number of social norms I don’t adhere to. I’m really unhappy if someone calls MLK or Gandhi those things for their civil rights activities. Someone who says that needs to do a lot of work to demonstrate that they’re not trying to uphold the order MLK and Gandhi were fighting against. (Also: actually naming Gandhi in the title seems appropriative to me.) I think people are already forgetting Madoff.

I think “X and Other Y” titles only work if they’re ironic: Love and Other Demons, Love and Other Drugs, Mothers and Other Monsters, My Family and Other Animals…. I still like Sinners/Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Dangerous People, fwiw.

“Liars and Outliers” is good, and recalls Malcolm Gladwell. “Disruptive” recalls Clayton Christensen’s “disruptive technologies”; that might not be bad. Actually, if you replace the “transgress” titles with “disrupt,” that works pretty well for me: Disruption: Securing Modern Society. (Are you securing society from disruption, or by using disruption?)

I dislike all the covers except #2, which is too boring to dislike.

Eli June 21, 2011 11:06 PM

(Having not read the comments yet…)
I don’t care for the titles with proper names.
Prefered title from the list: “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats”
On the subtitle, I prefer “defending” over “protecting”.
“Security and its role in defending society” or maybe “The Role of Security in Defending Society”.

What about this for a title: “Liars, Outliers, and Pyres”
or maybe “Liars, Pyres and Outliers” would role off the tongue better.

Pyres have been used for disposing of diseased animals… which is a security measure for a different threat.

Cover idea: college/university student clearly cheating on a test in a classroom, and a student demonstration in view outside the window
It would capture a bit of both the cheater and the revolutionary

Or take a page from nature, and get a photo with one of those spiders that hides by looking like an ant, in the midst of a bunch of ants. But it shouldn’t be focused on the spider… you’d want it to almost go unnoticed, so it triggers a double-take.

Oliver June 21, 2011 11:06 PM

A friend of mine is a very, very successful self-publisher. His advice: “Choose cover 4, it is the only one visible from six feet. Also, shorten the why to 30 seconds. His explanation is too long to hold the attention of someone with 1.5 long island ice teas on board.”

Rock on.

MR June 21, 2011 11:10 PM

Knowing America’s fear culture, Dangerous Minority will sell more copies. Also, I like the first cover the best.

Mike C June 21, 2011 11:35 PM

Dungeons & Dragons, of all places, had made a distinction between the Good, Neutral, and Evil scale and the Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic scale. The idea is that someone may not be Lawful but could still be Good (like Ghandi), or someone could be very Lawful but Evil (Evil is subjective, but think of a typical tyrant here).

Alternately, something simple like “The Subversive Minority” sounds nice.

Fog Mountain June 21, 2011 11:35 PM

I like THE UNCIVILIZED MINORITY better as a title. The point is not so much that some people are dishonest in the sense that they misrepresent themselves, but that some people breach the implicit interpersonal trust required by an ordered, urban society.

I like cover #4 the best, both for the typefaces and the picture (which suggests urban society better than the others). I’d like it even better if the title were typeset as in #5. The typefaces on covers #1 and #2 look too stodgy, and the use of casual script typefaces on covers #3 and #5 is inappropriate for the serious subject matter.

E.I.A June 21, 2011 11:44 PM

In order of preference:

2 = clean and simple – could be slightly changed without killing anyone
5 = busy but it works
3 = almost there, but the color is slightly off, perhaps

I’ll buy a coverless copy right now at a 10% discount 🙂

voter5467 June 21, 2011 11:45 PM

Number 2 is definitely the best cover. 1 and 4 look like spy novels. Whoever came up with the idea of using the title font on 3 should be slapped. 5 is zombies.

fbm June 22, 2011 12:39 AM

Number one is the best, although I think it makes it look a bit like a novel. Number 4 looks like a DVD cover for a Bourne movie, but I like it.
What I don’t like about some of the others is the handwritten typeface. Looks “cheaper” somehow. Number two would be ok, but the symbol in the middle needs to be bigger. I like that it’s black. That color or some variation of shadows looks best for a book like this.
By the way, what is that a picture of in #1?
So #1 gets my vote. Good luck!

Jon Eliot June 22, 2011 12:44 AM

Security and its Role in Protecting Society

Not the catchiest, this might not sell the book to the marginally interested. But it is an honest title.

“protecting society” makes me think of CERTs.
“defending society” makes me think of George Bush.

Marticus June 22, 2011 12:45 AM

I must say that I like the first cover the best. The simplicity and stylistic approach grabs attention without straining the eyes, not to mention the translucent glass lending it an inherent “curiosity” effect (I would want to pick it up and see what it was about).

#2 I think comes in a close second.

Maurice June 22, 2011 12:58 AM

Regarding the title:

Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People
Security and its Role in Modern Society

This title because ‘sinners vs saints’ is the most intriguing one of the options you provided. And ‘Other Dangerous People’ because it suggests a more accessible book than ‘transgressors’ (a word which, as a non native speaker, I had to look up).

As for the subtitle, I wouldn’t put anything before ‘Modern Society’, as all your suggestions imply a certain bias that might put people off. This subtitle suggests a more critical look at the role of security.

Regarding the cover, make sure it clearly shows the subtitle. Don’t really care between the five covers otherwise.

Ian June 22, 2011 1:00 AM

3 looks like a murder mystery to me. 4 somehow reminds me of Jason Bourne. I like 5 best, apart from the handwriting font.

Weregoat June 22, 2011 1:18 AM

About the title:

I go as far as suggest an alternative:

“Against social conventions” or something of the like.

As of the cover:
Number two. I like the Venn diagram, I think it fits.

tommy June 22, 2011 1:45 AM


Black covers are too gloomy and suggest “hacker” web sites and the same scare tactics you deplore. Anything in a brighter, more attention-getting shade, with only a trace of red at most, perhaps for the subtitle. Red is scary and sensationalist. Blue is calmness and peace (think water) and green is safety. Some combo of those.

Titles: Alliteration always attracts attention. (See? 😉

Madoff will be forgotten in time. Outliers is a term not known to people outside certain fields. I think you should hope for, if not mass appeal, at least some market beyond the specialized.

Rhythm is good, too. So while “sociopaths and saints” is more scientifically descriptive, “sinners and saints” is more rhythmical and is an already-well-known expression. Short attention spans require short subtitles.

My idea:

“Sinners, Saints, and Other Different Drummers: The Role Of Security In Society”

“Different Drummers”, even if the reader does not know Thoreau, was publicized in a 1967 pop single, “Different Drum”, by the Stone Poneys featuring the up-and-coming Linda Ronstadt, with a dozen covers since, so you catch both the classicists and the pop generations. It makes the contrast clear — those who do not march to society’s beat, be they sinners or saints, and how society handles them with “security”.

My qualifications, among others: hobby of writing song parody, in which rhythm is a requirement, and alliteration is a distinct bonus. Home page, with 431 original parodies:

99 more, done with a collaborator:

Short samples, showing use of rhythm and extensive alliteration:

One “serious” one, parodying Hamlet’s famous Soliloquy, while keeping Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter:

Andy June 22, 2011 1:51 AM

#1 underground….
#2 same coin different side…like it,simple
#4 more black,more people
#5 more white, keep the people..more moden tec in background

#3 pass

Jens Omland June 22, 2011 2:01 AM

Cold comment:

“Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People”

  • The apparent paradox, combined with alliteration and the playful tone you get by using the phrase “Dangerous people” makes this title very appealing.

“Security and its Role in Protecting Society”

  • I want to read about the general principles too, not just why it’s relevant to modern society. Thus, i don’t like “modern” in the title. I think dropping all unneccesary words is a sound principle, especcially in titles. I like protecting more than defending, but I’m not really sure why. Since security is about protecting against people, not circumstance, defending might be more accurate.

“The third cover”

  • I like book covers with the authors name after the title. I like the big, playful font, but I’d like the subtitle to be in a more serious one.
    Walking people are boring, and carry no meaning as far as I can see. The Venn-diagram might be better, but surely there has to be something more to the point? How about a lot of people (even walking ones) where one (or if there were enough, two or three) stood out by being paintet red or something?

Anonymous2 June 22, 2011 2:03 AM

I like:
The Dishonest and Disobedient Minorities

To me, it separates the the crackers from the hackers as well as the crooks from the revolutionaries. The “Disobedient” would include the non-dishonest dangerously selfish minority in this context. Swapping the order of Dishonest and Disobedient seems rolls off the tongue better, but the current order might better represent the nature of the book (and be more meaningful to consumers). Maybe put “and Disobedient” in a different (hand-written?) font — and maybe use the different hand-written font to cross-out a “y” at the end of “Minority” and change it to “Minorities”.

Subtitles don’t matter much to me, but the following might match the subject matter:
Security and its Role in Stabilizing Modern Society
Or alternatively:
Security and its Role in Maintaining the Status Quo
Security and its Role in Maintaining Modern Society
Security and its Role in Protecting Society from Society

Or “The Dishonest, Disobedient, and Dangerous Minorities” for the title, as you want to catalog the subject matter, as the dangerously selfish might not always be dishonest and “Disobedient” might not be sufficiently pejorative.

Good Luck!

Desperate Olive June 22, 2011 2:04 AM

I don’t like cover 1 because I cannot even fully understand what’s on it, especially the two people in the upper part just look like black stains. Cover 2 is very conceptual and really makes me think it is an academic book (and probably technical). Pictures on covers 3 and 5 tend to make you think the book is about some underground plot (ala X-Files).
Picture on cover 4 evokes society, without necessarily evoking problems; I think it is quite refreshing because in a way you’re putting focus on security, instead of insecurity – today when you evoke security most people really think about insecurity, so such a cover would kinda break this unconscious link.
Moreover cover 4 is very visible and attracts attention.

Avoid typeface on cover 3, again looks like a novel with some underground plot. Also I am not sure about putting emphasis on dishonest.

Nononymous June 22, 2011 2:06 AM

Concerning the book cover, it’s even more important in electronic form.

Unfortunately, I don’t find the link anymore, but there was a story about new authors coming to fame due to e-books (didn’t get accepted by paper publishers previously) and they consistently got much better sales when their book covers were more catching. Granted, this was generic fiction, but it probably still applies here.

Robert June 22, 2011 2:12 AM

I haven’t read the first post nor the discussion afterwards so this opinion is really cold.

The Dishonest Minority is actually a good title. Adjective Noun style kind of works for me. You could consider dropping the “The”. It’s cleaner that way. I don’t think perspective readers/buyers would get the Madoff/Gandhi issue. I wouldn’t, anyway. I don’t attribute “dishonesty” to “those who are differently moral than the rest of society”.

The A, B and C style could work for Americans, given the terms “Danger” or “Threat” would be included in C but I don’t think you would be the type to ride on the Fear wave to attract buyers.

Transgressors? WTF? You could as well call it Transformers. Noone will go check their dictionary to try to understand a book title.

Subtitle – please don’t use “A and its role in B” – sounds too much like an academic paper title than a book. “Protecting B through A” is a tad better but I think you could do better than that.

Covers – any of them would work for me. Maybe except for 2. Do use a stock image.

Anton June 22, 2011 2:17 AM

“Dishonesty and other Virtues”

Subtitle: The role of security in Society

Cover 3

Why ‘modern’? Context is different, principals are the same.

Torben B. Sørensen June 22, 2011 2:23 AM

If you write a book called “Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People” or “Jesus, the Two Thieves, and other Dangerous People”, then the book would have to deal with the people mentioned in the title.

I would be disappointed to buy a book about Madoff and Gandhi only to find that they are not the main subject of the book. Don’t sell what you can’t deliver.

Doug Hudson June 22, 2011 2:24 AM

A nice example of “crowd-sourcing”.

I like “The Dishonest Minority”.

A couple of ideas (I haven’t checked the other posts yet):
– Malefactors
– Miscreants
– No-Goods and Goody-Goodys
– The Miscreant Minority (see the alliteration there?)

For the cover, I thought all of the examples given were pretty dry, personally. I.e., what one would most expect from such a book.

A couple of ideas:
– A black sheep in a crowd of white sheep.
– A mediaeval line drawing of a miscreant peasant in the stocks, surrounded by peasant neighbours pelting him with rotten tomatoes.

Vles June 22, 2011 2:24 AM

As a title/subtitle (put it in your favorite programming font Bruce)

catch (Exception $e)
$code = $e->getCode();
$message = $e->getMessage();
echo “Caught dishonest minority – error code $code with message text $message”;


Victor Engmark June 22, 2011 2:25 AM

  1. “The Subversives”: A mostly neutral word which conveys that these people are not just a minority, but also work against the grain of the system, for personal or popular gain.
  2. Cover background 2 with typeface 1, 2 or 5 looks strong and serious. Typefaces 3 looks like it fits on a horror novel, and 4 looks too varied.

Robert June 22, 2011 2:40 AM

After reading through the other comments – if you’re going to keep “Minority” in the title, use a cover with caucasian persons in it to avoid references to “those sneaky arabs and blacks”.

For the subtitle, I really like Zoxpni’s idea “Why Security Exists: Protecting Society against …”

Frank June 22, 2011 2:45 AM

With all the stuff in the news about hacking, lulz, wikileaks and anonymous I’d go for:

Crime, Activism, and Other Transgressions
‘Security and its Role in Modern Society’
with Cover 2.

I would grab that because of the plain cover and the title is promissing something interesting without showing too much prejudice.

Radiola June 22, 2011 2:50 AM

I’d suggest “The Straying Minority” – this is the least used and least connoted word I could find, while representing your subject idea well.

Cover n°2 is the best, especially the font. N°1 is unreadable, n°3 looks unprofessional, n°4 looks like a Bourne novel and n°5 – is that Comic Sans for your name? and the picture is not very representative of your point.

RonK June 22, 2011 2:51 AM


I like “Liars, Outliers, and Other Transgressors” with “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” a close second and “Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Transgressors” coming in a relatively distant third place.

Covers: #2 with #3 a distant second.

Good luck!

Redbeard June 22, 2011 2:55 AM

I actually like the original title, but I also did like jeffbadge’s suggestion “Saints, Sociopaths, and Other Dangerous People”.

Regarding the covers I’d say no. 2 or no. 5.

luck June 22, 2011 3:03 AM

Facing black sheeps: the immunity defense of humanity.

(analogy with the immunitary system in the human blood against infections)

Kannan June 22, 2011 3:10 AM

Hello Bruce,
My Suggestions,

Title: The Dishonest Minority.
Sub-Title: Society needs Sinners Saints and other Dangerous People.

Cover: No.4.

Thanks for the opportunity.

David Brown June 22, 2011 3:10 AM

Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People

Definitely this style of title, and I quite like the Madoff/Gandhi pairing. I think this title will attract a wider audience than many of the others.

Slight preference for cover 3. But I’m not wildly enthusiastic about any of them…

Herman-Peter Steens June 22, 2011 3:16 AM

How about the next mix of ideas:
Title: “Gandhi and other dangerous saints”
Sub title: “The dishonest Minority”

Cover: 4

Fousage June 22, 2011 3:17 AM

If find the working title “The Dishonest Minority” to be the most interesting. It’s, for me, amongst the other propositions, the one that most arouses my interest and curiosity. And it’s the most accurate about the content. Dishonest is a loaded word, but it is how these minorities are perceived. (Also, dangerous minorities, but I find that far less satisfying and much, much more aggressive, discriminating.)

I do not like the “X, Y and Other Z” propositions. I find them too long and not intriguing at all. (My mental dialogue goes something like “X and Y, well they’re chosen as example because they seem to be in opposition, but of course there are important similarities, it’s evident. This book probably does not contain anything I do not already know / have thought about. Lame.”) The Z category usually does not fit both X and Y very well. The best titles among this category (like “Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People” or , which sound great) are the one that are farther away from the books’ known content. If you drop the Z, “Liars and outliers” is the best one so far.

Maybe the principle of showing “opposite” examples might be better done through the cover illustration?

Divergent minotiry

I am somehow indifferent to the proposed subtitles. None of them is a clear winner to me, and I do not have a better alternative. “Modern society” wording does not fit. I tried some things like “Majority vs. the rest.”, “Why security?”, “Security’s societal function”, “Origin of security”, “How deviants created security” (some also work as title)

I like #1 and #2. #3 looks amateurish to me, and the font is inappropriate. #4 looks out-of-fashions, like a 15 year old textbook. (While #2 looks old also, it is stylish, old fashioned-old, and much more classy.) #5 suffer from the same inappropriate type as #3, but only for your name. The image does not talk to me, it looks like a fear-mongering cover, which is not what I expect of you nor of the book.

I like #2 best. #1 is as good, but more neutral.

I wish you the best.

Andrew Rosswell June 22, 2011 3:34 AM

1) Some fun and jokes.
Liars, Outliers, and Quagmires.

2) The book designs.
No. 1 (my favorite) goes very nicely with Beyhond Fear.
No 2. goes nicely with Cryptography Engineering
and Practical Cryptography.
No. 3 looks like a Dummy Series book.
Design No. 4 reminds me of a movie poster. Looks like Minority Report gets crossed with The Bourne Ultimatum. Readers that don’t know you will expect a spy story.
Finally, No 4. looks a bit outdated.

3) Just do not EVER think to use your subtitle as the main title. This would be the title of a book that will never and up in my book case.

3b) Question: Does your book only apply to modern society? You brought up Gandhi, Jesus it seems to be a problem of all ages. “Et tu brutus”.

Wesley Parish June 22, 2011 3:36 AM

I somewhat automatically thought of “Off the Bell Curve: Dishonesty and Dissent”, because this is essentially a book of psychology, not computer science as such.

Or you could use a chiastic structure:
“Saints and Sinners; Dishonesty and Dissidence” … or “Saints and Dissent, Psychopaths and Dishonesty: the Dangerous Outliers” …

Apart from that, I don’t really have any ideas …

bedroom June 22, 2011 3:49 AM

I like “Sinners, Saints, and Other (Transgressors|Rule Breakers|Nonconformists)”

(yes, I know regular expressions)

Subtitle : you said yourself in this blog post that “It’s a book about why security exists: specifically, how a group of people protects itself from individuals within that group”. So let’s stick to this ! I think “Why security exists in modern society” or a slight variation on it could work great, personally I would find it quite intringuing.

As for the cover, I think the fifth one is the best, but your name really needs to be printed in block type.

vwm June 22, 2011 3:50 AM

I actually like The Dishonest Minority, as it arouse curiosity about that Minority and whether this is a good or a bad thing. A neutral alternative is The Dissident Minority. I think that will put the focus more into the direction of the “differently moral” people but away from the “selfish” people.

Problem is, I’d call Madoff and Robin Hood dishonest, and Robin Hood and Gandhi dissident. But I don’t think of Madoff as a dissident and I don’t think Gandhi was dishonest: He did not lie or betray, not even from a colonist point of view.

Deviant will fit, but it is somehow blur and not catchy. Maybe as a plural to reflect the difference between deviant groups?

How about:
* Deviant Minorities
* The Dishonest, the Dissident and the Deviant
* The Dishonest and the Dissident (Minority)

I think cover 2 (the Venn-Diagram) reflects that nicely. I do not like those some-people-walking-or-standing-from-different-angles-with-more-or-less-blur-stock-pictures: They are overused and do not carry any message at all.

BASH KAZAN June 22, 2011 3:55 AM

I strongly recommend short naming for books, such as “The Dishonest Minority”.
i think cover 5 is really good,
good luck !

ASG9000 June 22, 2011 3:56 AM

Re: Covers that don’t suck. I would avoid fonts that look like handwriting, unless there is some particular relevance to it. Both as a matter of personal taste, but also the signalling aspect — it’s going to look like a lot of cheap/crap books do… YMMV, IMHO etc.

Danny Moules June 22, 2011 3:58 AM

I’m fond of ‘deviant’. ‘Deviant artist’, ‘deviant sub-culture’… it’s not so much of a broad pejorative and it’s decidedly more accurate in terms of the English language. Unfortunately collides somewhat with ‘minority’.

What about The Dissenting Minority, as well? Or Dissident Minority.

Tom June 22, 2011 4:22 AM

3+5: Looks like some crime story
4: “Minority report” (film) comes to my mind
1+2: Looks good, although 1 reminds me of “Human centipede” (film)

“The Deviant Minority” does sound good to me.
“Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People” really is catchy, but how will it sound in a few years when nobody remembers Madoff?

The first subtitle list sound somewhat scientific. “Protecting Society through Security” sound great plus there’s an alliteration.

Note: Take this with a grain of salt, non-native english speaker here 🙂

Denial June 22, 2011 4:46 AM

To clarify:
– both Gandhi and Madoff have been called traitors,
– treason describes the act of defection and emphasizes the perspective of the group,
– it is a highly emotionally charged term and should catch attention really well,
– the subtitle can do the rest.

Michael June 22, 2011 4:58 AM

I like option 2. It is clear and simple and nothing distracts from the content.

Ryan June 22, 2011 5:06 AM

Title: A few bad men
Subtitle: Defending society against the dishonest minority
Cover: 1 or 2

Toby Speight June 22, 2011 5:08 AM

“Please first give them to me cold, without reading the other comments. Then feel free to comment on what other people think.”

Okay. I’ll start with covers (as it’s a less open topic). I’ll simply rank them from best to worst:
Pictures: 2, 1, 5, 3, 4
Typefaces: 1, 5, 4, 2, 3
Layout: 2, 5, 1, 3, 4
Colours: no opinions, really

I like the first two, though the subtitle is probably too subtle on the first. The chalk-effect script of the third makes it look too lightweight in tone for me (although that might be what you want). Number four is too cluttered. The fifth I didn’t like at first glance, but looking again, I think it works well – but where’s the subtitle gone?

Titles – I agree with you about the attention-grabbing title and more descriptive subtitle. The word that has bubbled up to the top of my thinking lately is “betrayal”. To me, that captures the essence of the behaviours that you’re describing. “Cooperate” and “defect” are the terms used in the classic Prisoners’ Dilemma literature, but they don’t alliterate particularly well, either.

I quite like your suggestions of “Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People” or “Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People” – I think that categorising “saints” as a subset of “dangerous people” could pique interest. I’d steer clear of those that reference (real or mythological) people, in order to avoid excluding groups unfamiliar with them (e.g. I’ve heard of Jesus, but not the “two thieves” – and will Madoff still be as infamous in ten years’ time?)

More blue-sky thinking gives things such as “Preparing for treason” or “Treachery” as main titles to add to your list (or to inspire better ones!) I quite like the double meaning of the first – preparing to commit, or to defend?

Chris Beatty June 22, 2011 5:30 AM

I like cover 4, I think a light cover stands out better in a shop & it gives that “they could be anyone”/paranoia slant to it. I don’t know if it would work better with your name at the bottom & the title at the top?? Clear fonts are better then “handwriting” style to me.

I like “Security and its Role in Modern Society” as a subtitle & I’d stick with the original title, I can see the other options being too long.
Although with the current threats of striking workers & public uprising worldwide, I can see “Disobedient” being quite apt for a “casual” reader to pick up on.

MattH June 22, 2011 5:39 AM


I am not a fan of “A, B and other Cs” title patterns. I prefer “Adjective Noun” or just “Noun”.

I like “Transgressors” as a title, I feel it is entirely non-pejorative and is the closest match to the section of societies that I think you are writing about.


My suggestion would be along the lines of “Security and its Role in Societies”.

I would drop the ‘modern’ as I’d thought you were including historical perspectives.

I would make societies plural as I’d thought you were looking at a selection of societies.


I most prefer Cover number 1. Conveys to me the idea of inspection/analysis of a group of people.

One suggestion would be along the lines of a Venn diagram, portraying minorities within minorities. Perhaps achieved using primary colours shading sections of a crowd of people.

I realise that my suggestions may seem staid, but I respect accuracy more than sensationalism.

Toby Speight June 22, 2011 6:12 AM

As I read the comments, some additional thoughts come to mind:

I like the pairing of “liars” and “outliers” – catchy and witty.

Also, have you considered “The Threat from Within”, or something along the same lines? Perhaps, “The Threat from Within: How societies defend against traitors”?

I think the subtitle should refer to “societies” (plural) if my understanding of the book is correct.

Avoid alienating half your audience with words spelt differently around the world, such as “hono(u)r” or “defen[cs]e”.

Another picture suggestion – a line of (say) five identical silhouettes against a plain coloured background, with nothing to indicate which one is dishonest.

If you go with a photograph, could you commission a photographer rather than buying stock? You may well be able to find a good amateur via the blog, and get something that’s a better fit than the ones presented above. Sadly, my speciality is landscapes, but if I were more suited, I’d probably volunteer in exchange for a signed copy.

Another photo suggestion: innocent-looking person with head and feet showing; mid-portion shown in X-ray showing something concealed and subversive. Think “nun with a gun” but somehow without offensiveness!

I that it’s worth posting a few iterations of designs for review, particularly to ensure that the title and cover will be meaningful and not unintentionally offensive for the worldwide audience (at least, the English-reading world – if it’s translated, then I expect the cover design to differ). For example, a lot of people associate “minority” with (negative) ethnic, racial or cultural overtones, which surprised me. But those people might be equally surprised that I don’t get the religious references. So it helps to have many eyes on this (but remember, the judgement must be yours in the end – prepare to stop the buck!)

Konrads June 22, 2011 6:14 AM

Definitely book cover 2. Clear message, clever graphics. Perhaps a few alternatives to Venn diagram could be considered.
The title is fine, your books will be sold because it is Schneier who wrote it on topic audience cares about, not because someone will see it at Tesco book club.
I would prefix the subtitle with “Gandhi, the Two Thieves, and other Dangerous People” as it will intrigue the potential customers who don’t know about you.

Stephanie June 22, 2011 6:16 AM

Looking solely at the titles above I don’t think I’d pick up the book (although having read your previous posts I know I will). The titles all sound a bit tainted to me, like just another item of fearmongering (which I’m allergic to).

From your previous posts the main theme that stuck with me is how security is an inherent need of society and how the mechanisms we put into place are based on our instinctive need to protect ourselves. Security systems in place today are not just imposed on us by governments and the TSA, they have been brought about by us, they are rooted in our primal needs (even if we don’t agree with how they’re implemented).

It’s easier to criticise than to do better, but here’s my attempt at contributing a more neutral suggestion (maybe too vanilla to sell books):

  • The rebel minority
  • The free thinking minority
  • Friends, foes, and other free thinkers
  • Modern society’s intrinsic security mechanisms
  • Modern society’s instinctive need for security
  • Modern society’s primal quest for security

Good luck with the book, I’ll read it no matter what title or cover it ends up with 🙂

Thor K June 22, 2011 6:19 AM

“Transgressors” is definitely the most appealing to me.

So is the cover 4. “Transgressors” injects a big question mark into this optimistic picture of modern, dynamic, everyday life. The darker covers conjure up boring conspiracy theories or good-evil dichotomies. The first cover escapes me completely.

Ruth A June 22, 2011 6:39 AM

I prefer the A,B and other Cs style with C being Transgressors. For me transgressor captures both ends of the spectrum with less pejorative connotations than ‘Dishonest’ while still giving a strong sense of breaking norms. I also like the effect of juxtaposing the two seemingly opposite types of people. I think it raising curiosity and interest.

Of the 5 covers shown I liked #4 the best. It has a sense of society about it and is the most representative of at least the gender mix of a real society. The others with people in them look all male, or unknown which defaults in people’s minds to male.

Kent K June 22, 2011 6:59 AM

Here’s my “cold” comments:

Title: Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Dangerous People

and the subtitle:
Security and its Role in Protecting Society

While the word transgressor is quite descriptive, I’m not sure the general public will relate to it as well as security types.

Covers: I really like the pick pocket duck.

No matter the title and all, I will still buy and read this.

Atakan Gurkan June 22, 2011 7:00 AM

For question 1: Perhaps another word can be used instead of “dishonest”. “Contrary”, “nonconforming” and “incongruent” come to my mind. For the subtitle, I like “Security and its Role in Modern Society”. That being said, I would like to make a suggestion for title that is not listed as an option: “People On The Less Traveled Road”.

For question 2: I like option 1.

FYI June 22, 2011 7:17 AM

I still think that the dishonest minority, albeit a bit misplaced is still the most titillating of the titles. The title is not more of less true however, any minority that deviates from the main set of social guidelines is considered ‘dishonest’ by the larger group. Dishonesty is not a definition according to truth, but according to society. Sometimes you need ‘liars’ to tell the truth and betray the social consensus that has passed for truth so long.

The title seems to cover more of a sociological subject (minority is a buzz-word in sociology circles) and less of social security. but seeing as the content is unknown, if it fits the right requirements, it might as well be a book on sociological issues as well as security issues.

The summation of famous people vs infamous people sounds too much like a Dan Brown novel to me. Also the suggestion ‘and other dangerous people’ is tricky in the same aspect that ‘dishonest’ is tricky.

Stay away from transgressors. The word however fitting it might be, just sounds wrong. And I mean it ‘sounds’ wrong in a literal sense. Transgressors is no ‘cellar door’ of ‘summer afternoon’ it’s an ugly word.

Subtitle, don’t use protecting or defending. This suggests a positive connotation to the activity, however a society securing itself to minority influence can both be a positive thing and a negative thing.

For the cover, isn’t there any Apple ‘1984’-ish foto with the juxtaposition of a dark crowd and a single highlighted individual. Maybe think of The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony’s sole person walking against the crowds direction on a pavement. It again highlights how minorities can challenge social conventions (cover 5 has a nice ‘dark crowd’ in it, but lacks the individual or minority presence).

Typography of the first cover works, but with that photo it’s nearly unreadable. Cover 4 has its positive sides, but edges too close to a movie poster.

Matt June 22, 2011 7:31 AM

Q1: Of the “X Minority” titles, I like “The Dangerous Minority” the best–but it doesn’t quite capture what I think the book is about (perhaps “Subversive Minority”?). I prefer the “A, B, and other C” style, but what about flipping it to “Cs of A and B”? e.g. “Transgressions of Sinners and Saints”. Sociopaths would also be a good pairing.

Other alliterative pairings that might work: “Villain[ou]s and Virtuous”, “Shady and Saintly”, “Radicals and Reprobates”, “Activists and Anarchists”, “Dissidents and Deviants”

Q2: 1 and 5 work the best IMO. 3 is good, but the typeface seems wrong. Maybe a good security book needs a solid, “secure” typeface? 2 doesn’t work well for me (the Venn diagram doesn’t seem to quite fit the concept–maybe a white circle with a smaller gray/black spiky (not smooth, anyway) “deviant” area inside would work better). 4 is too busy for my taste, and somehow reminds me of the poster for “Catch Me If You Can”.

Rhialto June 22, 2011 7:34 AM

In the title you could mention “terrorists and freedom fighters”, because of the saying “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter” (which I like to quote whenever people are talking about evil terrorists).

David June 22, 2011 7:36 AM

For the title I like:

“The Questionable Minority : The Role of Security in Modern Society”

I would go with cover design #2 (or something similar) – simple and elegant yet easy to read at a glance compared to some of the others.

Looking forward to the book!

Roger June 22, 2011 7:43 AM

Title: Transgressors.
It’s catchy, a little mysterious and scary sounding, yet summarises your subject very succinctly.

Subtitle: Any of them are good. I slightly prefer them without “modern” for two reasons: firstly, as I understand it, your topic is timeless; secondly, anything with “modern” in the title looks dated within 5 years.

Cover design: If I had to choose one of these options, I’d go with #2, because it is clean, simple, and clever. Unfortunately it is so clever that people may only get it after reading the foreword. The utilitarian function of a cover is to make browsers pick the (physical) book up from the shelf, and NONE of these covers make me think “Hmm, interesting, what’s this all about?”

Given your topic, I would think it would actually be rather easy to get a more intriguing cover. Say something like one of these:
or while we’re on Caravaggio, this one does a good job of the Messiah / murdered theme (maybe too religious?):

Here’s pretty much the same story, with the religious themes more subtle, and just a hint of INFOSEC on the side:
(You would have to pay for that one, of course.)

You would have to pay through the nose for this one too, but it is pretty cool:

For something a little more light-hearted, any of these:
As per request, I have read none of the other comments yet.

Bryan C. Geraghty June 22, 2011 7:46 AM

My vote is for #2. It’s not the best book cover in the world, but it doesn’t have the “cheap crime novel” feel to it that the others have.

I almost like #4, but it’s too bright for my taste. And rather than having generic stock-photos of crowds, why not have photos depicting the types of characters you’re writing about?

By the way, I know nothing about creating a book cover; but you asked for feedback 😉


kingsnake June 22, 2011 7:53 AM

“Sinners, Saints and Other Dangerous People” is very catchy. First you drag a person into the concept of sin, then contrast them with saints, and then catch & intrigue with the concept that they are both dangerous kinds of people. (And they are, in different ways.) Sure to arouse curiousity, and at the very least, get them to read the book’s Amazon description / dust jacket blurb.

T June 22, 2011 7:53 AM

I like:
Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People
Security and its Role in Modern Society

Cover 2

of course my inner minimalist says: “The Dishonest Minority” trims three words from your title but I think you won’t get as many new readers. Sinners, Saints.. on the other hand may attract readers who don’t want to read about security. With this in mind I recommend:

Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People
Security and its Role in Modern Society

Cover 2

derf June 22, 2011 7:57 AM

Cover #5 would be great if you just shaded one of the people red in Photoshop. It would give it some color and directly convey the idea of a hidden, “dangerous” minority.

Dave June 22, 2011 7:58 AM

I like the comparison of sinners and saints, but it’s odd that you’d have to defend society from saints. It’s also odd to think of saints as dishonest.

To your D* Minority list, I’d add: Disruptive Minority

Tom June 22, 2011 8:22 AM

This is ‘Tom at June 22, 2011 4:22 AM’
Thinking about it, from your suggestions, “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” or just “Liars and Outliers” seems to fit best with what you want to say. Although I had to look up “outliers”, but this might be because English isn’t my first language.

+1 to the comment suggesting “The Dishonest Within”, worth thinking about imo.

+1 to “Why Security Exists”. Interesting, simple and readers will be delighted when they notice that the answer can actually be found in the book. Also it already sounds like a must-have classic.

+1 also to KRR’s Go stones: Like a timeless version of the Ghandi/Madoff idea.

Olthough I’m obviously a deviant minority here, I’d like to point out again that the wording “Security and its role in…” resembles a scientific article and thus might not be the best choice to appeal to a wider public. I vote for “Protecting Society from those who Disagree”.

A word on “Crime, Revolution, and Other Dangers”: I think there are many people who actually see revolution as a danger. For those the title would totally miss the point. Same goes for “… Revolutionaries/Activists and…”.

On cover #2: Keep in mind who reads your blog. We know Venn Diagrams and like the plain and simple style. Hard to say what average Joe (a.k.a. Anonymous?) is thinking.

Fred P June 22, 2011 8:41 AM

“Remember, the goal of a title is to make people — people who don’t already know me and my writing — want to read my book.”

In that case, I’d go for a religious reference. As long as it doesn’t slam that religion, it should pick up a few readers.

I like “Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People” myself.

As for cover, any but the first works. If you like the first image, I’d ask for higher-contrast lettering (for example red or blue)

Prohias June 22, 2011 8:43 AM

With all respect – as someone who studied and cherishes Applied Crypto and Practical Crypto and enjoys almost all of your videos you have shared – I was utterly disappointed with all the non-technical books. I had to wade through 80% meandering fluff for 20% gems:

Please wait, edit carefully, abridge, and then release. All variants you have shown are good enough. The name, sub-title or cover will hardly matter if you could kindly do this – and that is just the way it should be for a great book.

wito June 22, 2011 8:45 AM

My “cold” opinions. The validity of my opinions is, of course, based on whether or not my impression of the book is what you want to convey.

I think either “The Dishonest Minority” or “The Deviant Minority” are the best. I like “deviant” because I feel the connotation is much broader than “dangerous” or “disobedient”. I like “dishonest” because it has the least connotation.

I don’t like the lists; they make it sound like an inspirational book or a philisophy book deviod of pragmatism.

I think “Security and its Role in Society” with no adjectives would be good to avoid being too wordy. I agree with MS Word that “Protecting Society through Security” would be preferrable since it uses active voice rather than passive.

I like 1 and 2. I like 2 the best because I think the simplicity is intriguing and gives it a look of class: it says you don’t need an image because the book is so interesting. 1 might be better for intriguing people and is still fairly clean. 3 makes me think it’s a bad Dickens novel. 4 makes me think it’s a bad young adult novel. 5 makes me think it’s 1984. I don’t like the scratchy font but I can see it being effective to convey unformal excitement if it was better integrated into the design. I prefer the font on 1.

RSaunders June 22, 2011 8:59 AM

I like “Liars and Outliers, the Dishonest Minority”, and the #4 graphic. What I’d like better as a graphic would be a little more futuristic. A crowd scene with little attribute bubbles hovering over the people. Shopper, Socialist, Terrorist, …

Doug B June 22, 2011 9:01 AM

Perhaps a watermarked photo adds to the cover design; it could be left on the final version.

Wolf June 22, 2011 9:13 AM

I like “Criminals, Activists, and Other Dangerous People” and the second (Venn diagram) cover.

John Campbell June 22, 2011 9:19 AM


I sometimes wonder if Slippery Jim DiGriz (a/k/a “The Stainless Steel Rat”, a creation of Harry Harrison) has a part.

Are dissenters from “normalcy” (and there’s a whole spectrum of characters) necessary to provide a level of challenge and novelty to the rest of the population?

Justin Warniment June 22, 2011 9:20 AM

My picks would be:

Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Dangerous People

Security and its Role in Modern Society

I would go with covers 3 or 5 due to the dark colors and the depiction of people in a crowd.

CLC June 22, 2011 9:21 AM

I think they are more like rule breakers as they are not always dishonest about what they are doing. I like cover 2 the best; looks like the author will bring order to the subject

Me June 22, 2011 9:25 AM

I think the original title sounds better than the others. One point, “the dishonest minority” sounds slightly racist; I know it isn’t, but it does sound that way as minority is usually used in that context. What of “The Dishonest Few”.

The subtitle is great, I wouldn’t add any words between “roll in” and “modern society”, in fact I’d consider removing “modern”.

Initially I like cover 2) best (if you can’t tell already I am a minimalist). However, if you want to get the society concept covered by the picture, I would go with 4).

Katja June 22, 2011 9:28 AM

I actively dislike #3. I just can’t stand that handwriting typeface that is used. I don’t have anything against handwriting typefaces in general, but that one doesn’t do it for me in this context.

Francois June 22, 2011 9:31 AM

I like the use of salient quotes or phrases from the work in question – or on similar issues. You quoted James Madison in a way that is directly relevant. Furthermore literature is full of comparisons between angels and men, with angels as the moral ideal compared to man. It seems like your work is similar in that you are comparing different ethical standings and contrasting ideals with reality (a common theme in your books) .

I submit:

If Men Were Angels

Men and Angels

The Angelic Majority
Sociopaths, Saints and other Dangers

I think the title doesn’t have to be precise, or too wordy. It should convey the life (or one’s experience) of the work, and a little dramatic language gets attention and speaks to the heart.

On the covers, number four really pops, it looks exciting, interesting and modern. It’s the only one that stands out. Number one is good, the frosted glass implies attempting to see through anonymity or uncover the truth. I like the fonts in number four better, number one just isn’t enough contrast. The other covers I don’t personally like. I would put number two last, and number three second to last.

HenryJ June 22, 2011 9:38 AM

Bruce, your first instincts are on target. The original title and subtitle sound best to me. Cover 1 is head and shoulders (no pun intended) above the others in conveying an intent to look at the underside of society.

I think the word you’re looking for to replace “dishonest” is something like “outlying,” as in being far from the norm. But that’s too neutral for a book title. The notion that both a Madoff and a Gandhi would get the attention of the security establishment is in important one.

Tom June 22, 2011 9:39 AM

I like “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” as the main title and would stick with “Security and its Role in Modern Society” for the subtitle. I don’t care for any of the covers that the publisher sent. The duck pickpocket is better.

DaveS. June 22, 2011 9:50 AM

I like “The Dishonest Minority”
“Security and its Role in Modern Society”
Cover #3.

Brad June 22, 2011 9:54 AM

I agree with @Frax et. al.

Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats (or maybe Deviants)
Security and its Role in Modern Society
Cover #2

Nick Fitzgerald June 22, 2011 10:01 AM

Title: I like the original title.

Cover: Number 2, definitely. The others don’t seem very classy, or seem overly stock photo-ish and less professional.

In the end, I’ll buy whichever combo you choose.

Montana Harkin June 22, 2011 10:09 AM

I would go for a single word title that plays with the word. The a short one line about the book.

“Society and the truth. How we interpret each other’s actions.”

For the cover, #2 is perfect. Clean. Great Venn diagram that isolates the grey area.

xd0s June 22, 2011 10:27 AM

My thoughts:

Refocus the title away from the people because you will hit exactly that barrier you reference (how do you place Ghandi and Al Capone in the same cagetory without offending people for the sake of syntax)?

Why not something like:
The rules, and those who live outside of them.

On the cover, I’ve always been partial to minimalist designs so 2 is my pick, though the oder would be 2, followed by a tie with 3,5, then 1 then 4.

MikeA June 22, 2011 10:34 AM

I like “Transgressors” and “Security and its Role in Defending Society”, with Cover #3. Just gut feelings, cold as requested. I could also agree with making the title “Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People”, if the cover art could take the extra length.

Now to read (some of) the other somments.

xd0s June 22, 2011 10:40 AM

Liars and Outliers is my favorite of the posted titles.

I think the duck picture is great inner cover or back cover material.

Andy Feldstein June 22, 2011 10:45 AM

Note that the stock photos sometimes have watermarks, or are shown in artificially reduced resolution. If we actually use one of the photos, those artifacts will disappear.

But don’t forget that they’ll still be overwhelmingly representative at this size and resolution–since that is what will be displayed in online searches, Amazon, etc.

Harry June 22, 2011 11:06 AM

  1. I don’t like any of the words you list for “The XX Minority.” My vote is still for “The Uncooperative Minority.”
  2. If not, then I prefer either
  • Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People OR
  • Criminals, Activists, and Other Dangerous People.

I think if you list people by name then readers will expect you to go into those people in detail – do you want your hands tied that way?

Using “Jesus” is way to hot-topic. If you believe any publicity is good publicity then go for it, but I wouldn’t buy it. And which group does Jesus fall into anyway?

  1. “Security and its Role in Modern Society” gets my vote. I think you should avoid trying to distinguish between protect and defend.

  2. Covers #1 or 3 are my first choices. #2 comes next. I do not like #4 or 5. Will it be a wrap-around cover? They attract more browser attention but are rather more expensive.

  3. What a lot of comments you have to read. I will now read some of them and revel in my freedom to stop when I want to.

Pete June 22, 2011 11:29 AM

I think the distinction you’re searching for is;

‘Unlawful Minority’

It doesn’t matter what your morals or scruples are. The law is what matters.

Unless you’re talking about BT/Phorm obviously :o).

Then the law doesn’t apply.

Jon Bailey June 22, 2011 11:41 AM

I like the title as is “The Dishonest Minority”, and the Venn Diagram cover #2, it goes well with the visual of what the title’s implication is.

Jur June 22, 2011 11:43 AM

Title: Troublemakers
The troublesome minority

The first is more powerful, but I feel you like the minority bid, and troublesome is more inclusive than troublemakers, as it also accepts passive people, like free riders

Subtitle: How modern society/societies deals with deviance

Depending on whether your book pictures western society as unified or as a loose accumulation

Norrin Radd June 22, 2011 11:46 AM

Liars and Outliers. Security and its Role in Modern Society

IMO, this is your best option. You really aren’t discussing “other threats” or “other dangerous people”, your book focuses on those who break a moral contract (whether they wear a white or black hat).

Harvey MacDonald June 22, 2011 12:05 PM

I actually prefer “The Dishonest Minority”, along with cover #5 (many people walking around without obvious details on who they are). The subtitles about defend/protect seem to detract from the idea of how security is useful in the situation of a police informant/organized crime society. The role of security is fairly similar in modern and ancient societies, I think. It may be that a totally different subtitle would be more appropriate. Perhaps “the role of security in societies”, or similar.

If it’s not too much of a nitpick – please use “perfect binding” on the books, it’s really irritating when the book closes itself while you read page 10.

Ian Mathers June 22, 2011 12:06 PM

Personally, I like:

Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats
Crime, Activism, and Other Transgressions

with Security and its Role in Protecting Society as a subtitle.

As for the cover images, 1 and 2 are the only ones that wouldn’t make me slightly embarrassed to read the book in public; of them, I much prefer 1.

Tim B June 22, 2011 12:07 PM

Hi Bruce,
my initial reaction on your title is in order of preference:

  1. Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People
  2. Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats
  3. Any of the transgressors possibilities, with preference to Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Transgressors

For the artwork, I prefer covers 5 and 3.

General comments
On the title, I like the idea of using both a typical “good” and a typical “bad” type of person, then calling them both dangerous. It seems to both capture your theme that society has rules to protect itself, and those who don’t obey them (whether morally good, bad, or morally ambiguous) are a threat to society. Ghandi, for example, was not much of a threat to any individual, but certainly was a catalyst for change in the Indian society. The typical view today of Ghandi is that of a hero, so why is Ghandi a threat? This contrast in the title is intriguing.

On the cover art, as you’re discussing society, pictures of people are good. The circles (2) strikes me as more of a mathematical representation of your topic. It might be a good cover for a higher level math text. Then, that might be a fair representation of your target audience.
Secondly, on the cover art, I prefer the font from 4 or 5. The font from 3 – it leaves me with an impression of hurriedness or anxiety.

Mario June 22, 2011 12:20 PM

Cover #3 is the best. I say this only because my eyes gravitated to it immediately, and because I think it’s the most intriguing to a general audience. (Nevertheless, it in no way looks like fluff.)

I’m going to say that THE DISHONEST MINORITY, your working title, is the best. It immediately seems familiar — I’m guessing because the reader is already familiar with “moral majority.” The actual Moral Majority aside, the phrase itself is powerful and good marketing. “Dishonest minority” piggybacks off of that same kind of power from association, while obviously having nothing to do with the Moral Majority. Moreover, the title is simple and direct, and gets its point across.

I am very much looking forward to reading this.

Stuart Schechter June 22, 2011 12:25 PM

I thought about new adjectives (e.g. the “antisocial” or “noncompliant” minority) but realized the whole minority concept is troubling.

For one, I’m skeptical that those who defy social convention at a risk to the social good are always a minority. Those who drive above the speed limit are unlikely in the minority. There were many classes I took in high school where I was definitely in the minority by not cheating (use of Cliff’s Notes was not allowed, but almost everyone read them). There are surveys to show that this is likely true beyond my anecdotal experiences. I believe there’s also data implying that the majority of those who hire nannies fail to pay all the resulting taxes. Only in some cases can security relegate those who do not comply with the desired social norm to the minority. The security infrastructures of many nation states exist purely to protect against the majority (you raised Gandhi in your blog post).

The implication that society can be divided into good people and a dishonest few feels unnecessarily divisive. I would argue that an important role of security plays in modern society is not just to protect against the incurably antisocial among us, but to encourage those pondering potentially antisocial behavior not to join them. Furthermore, if one is to make the division the membership is very specific to the type of antisocial behavior. There are people who cheat on their taxes but who would never cheat on an exam, and folks who would cheat on an exam but would never cheat on their taxes. So, I would argue, that the role of security isn’t to protect against undesirable people, but undesirable behaviors.

Some suggestions based on my very fuzzy understanding of what the book is about:

–Families, Tribes, Corporations, & Nations: The evolution and role of security in social organisms

–Families, Tribes, Corporations, & Nations: The role of security in protecting groups from aberrant behaviors

–Security in Modern Social Organisms: How societies, corporations, and families protect themselves from danger

Johann Gevers June 22, 2011 12:26 PM

Dangerous Deviants
—Security in an Unpredictable World

Alternatively, “Deviant Danger” places more emphasis on risk and mitigating it, rather than on deviants/minorities per se.

I like cover #4, second choice cover #1, cover #2 is too boring, cover #3 is too dark. Even better if one of the figures in the street (cover #4) is presented as a dark character, or a face with eerie/evil eyes is subtly/hauntingly superimposed on the picture of unsuspecting innocent people on the street. I would use an irregular font (as in cover #3) for the word “Deviants” to emphasize their chaotic/unpredictable nature, perhaps even with the letters falling apart/disintegrating/dripping blood.

Alan June 22, 2011 12:48 PM

I like the word subversive rather than dishonest. I also like the alliteration of adding it to make

“Subversive Liars & Outliers – Security and its role in modern society”

I also like the Venn diagram of #2 — add some creativity with a broken padlock and it would be an intriguing cover.

jd June 22, 2011 12:51 PM

First thoughts: I found the current title and subtitle very intriguing. Made me want to read the book. Wouldn’t change a thing.

chris l June 22, 2011 1:02 PM

Wow – a lot of posts really fast!

How about “Misfit Minority”– it’s an alliteration and has less value judgment than “dishonest”

for subtitle, something like “Security, Society, and Social [transgression|deviants|misfits|somethinglikethat]”

Chris Camp June 22, 2011 1:03 PM

Love the idea. Not so much the title.

Dececption & Dissent: Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Transgressors

A Tale of Security and its Role in Modern Society

Deception and Dissent better capture the Madoff/Gandhi spectrum. If you stick with Dishonest Minority you may end up spending more time defending/defining that concept than you want, instead of allowing people to focus on your core argument.

Cover: Venn diagram by a mile

Vadim G. June 22, 2011 1:17 PM

I really like the ‘Liars, Outliers’ idea.
“The Dishonest Minority” is also pretty good.

Biblical references in the title are actually a significant turn-off for me (though fine in the subtitle and the actual text 🙂

Title length is also important. A shorter title is more memorable; longer titles feel more diluted. So in the “Liars, outliers” title I’d prefer to drop the “… and other blah blah” part (maybe mention it in the subtitle?)

Harry June 22, 2011 1:55 PM

Not sure if I would want Madoff and Ghandi as a subtitle. On one hand, someone that is not familiar with your work will think the book has strong political or financial connotations. But on the other hand, comparing and contrasting the two would catch my interest. I like cover 1. Number 4 isn’t bad either.
Or you can do like the mainstream media does and sensationalize the subject by titling it “Hackers Put The Honest In Dishonesty”
Idea for subtitle: “What compels everyday honest people, to dishonesty.”
Also, when I pick up a book I find interesting, I will usually see to whom the book was dedicated to. Not sure why. I guess I put myself in the authors shoes and think about that persons source of inspiration. If you don’t have anyone in mind to dedicate this book too, can you dedicate it to all the dishonest people through the ages. (I’m not defending them, but let’s face it: if people didn’t deviate from soceital norms you wouldn’t have a reason to write this book).

D0R June 22, 2011 1:59 PM

My cold comments, without reading the other people’s:

Just to keep the schema of the title, what about “The Divergent Minority”?

I like the subtitle “Security and its Role in Modern Society “.

Concerning covers, #1 is the best in my opinion — I like the shadows and the typeface of the title. My second choice would be #5: intriguing, but for God’s sake change the Comic/handwritten font.
#2 looks like a spy-story hardback from the ’70s, and #3 like a horror book. #4 looks like a DVD cover. Not great.

B-Con June 22, 2011 2:14 PM

Some general thoughts:

It sounds like the word you’re looking for “dissent”. eg,

“The dissenting minority.”
“Dissenting actions.”
“Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dissenters”

The option “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” has a similar connotation as “dissent”; I like it too.

Of your list of “X, Y, and Z” options, I think the “Criminals, Revolutionaries” stands out as the best by far. Mentioning specific names will instantly brand the book in a certain way in half the minds of your potential readers; I can’t see much good coming out of that.

Your book is more concentrated on psychology and isn’t terribly specific to modern society, right? I’d avoid the subtitles involving “modern” if at all possible. The ideas of security apply to today, last century, and next century.

I like covers 1 and 5 the best. An image with lots of people carries the implication of a vast society, a few of whom are unknown potential trouble causers. That fits your suggested titles well.

Cover #3 looks like the cover of a mystery novel, it doesn’t seem very fitting.

To put it all together, I’d vote for:
Title: “Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dissenters”
Sub-title: “Security and its Role in Protecting Society”
Cover: #5

Second choices:
Title: “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats ”
Sub-title: “Security and its Role in Defending Society”
Cover: #1

jack June 22, 2011 2:19 PM

As to title:
Either one of these…
Divergent Minority
Dissenting Minority

…albeit “Liars, Outliers…” has a nice rhythm to it.

As to cover:
Leave the cover blank, with nothing on it. Have your name Bruce Schneier just in the spine.

That should get some amount of people to pick it up to see what it is about…

zoxplni June 22, 2011 3:08 PM

Bruce, thanks for opening this up for discussion. I’ve read all the comments in this post and went back and read you second post on the book with those comments and and your responses.

I understand perfectly why you’ve been usung The Dishonest Minority as a working title. However, I think it has to be changed. If it doesn’t go over well with your most devout readers, it’s not going to go over well with the general public.

The way I read your thesis and other comments, are we not really talking about compliance and defiance? In most cases, there will be a varying majority that complies with societal norms and a varying minority that defies them. If the non-compliant minority grows large enough, there’s a societal shift, new norms, and new compliant majorities and defiant minorites. Security policy will in turn change (evolve) to protect the norms to varous degrees, depending on their importance.

For example, take the protesters in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. They started out as a defiant minority. The initial policy involved uniformed security forces with tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, etc. Then the defiant minority grew while the compliant majority shrunk. Then security policy changed and plainclothesed thugs were sent in to wreak havoc. The defiant minority grew even larger and more persistant until the regime finally collapsed.

Those Tahrir protesters would be considered the dishonest minority, but it doesn’t seem apprpropriate to call them that. The same is true of MLK or Gandhi. They were definitely defiant, everyone will agree on that, but if you call them dishonest or devient, it won’t sit well with people even if the terms are intellectually appropiate in the context of your argument.

Defiant definition: Open resistance; bold disobedience

Compliant definition: The state or fact of according with or meeting rules or standards

Madoff, Gandhi, MLK, etc. can all be lumped together as bold disobedience to the ruls of society. But if you thow the word dishonest in there, it doesn’t make sense to most people, no matter what the overall argument is.

Instead of The Dishonest Minority, I think a better title would be “Compliance and Defiance”. It’s short, it rhymes, it’s similar to titles like “Secrets and Lies”, and it sems to me to be really what your argument is about. There’s no need to say, the defiant minority becaues minority is almost implicit (though one can always find exceptions, of course). It seems catchy to me, easy to remember, and non-technical, plain English.

As for the subtitle, “the role of security in society” is a bit too bland imo. I did a word cloud on you second post about the book which stated the basic thesis and these were the words that stood out:

Systems, Security, Societal, Group, Evolves,

Really, it seems to say that the book is about how security systems evolve to promote cooperation in society. This conforms to how I read you thesis andvarious posts.

So a good subtitle might be “The Evolution of Security in Complex Societies”. I say complex because the more complex a society gets, the more security policy must evolve to protect society or societal norms. And in your thesis, it really seemed like the focus was on the evolution of security rather than just the role of security.

So that would be my suggestion on a title:

“Compliance and Defiance: The Evolution of Security in Complex Societies”

Or some variation thereof.

Sorry for the long post.

TannerB June 22, 2011 3:39 PM

I so very much want to read other comments first, but I’ll follow the instructions.

Question 1: Of the titles, “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” sounds the best to me.

Question 2: #4 really doesn’t do anything for me. The stock photo for #5 looks more like a zombie apocalypse rather than a book about a small sliver of society. The fonts for #3 are…uhg, not good. Cover #2 looks like a Richard Dawkins book. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, that’s just my impression. #1 however, looks good and looks very much like a Bruce Shneier book. That’d be my choice.

Andrew June 22, 2011 4:35 PM

Cover #5 strikes my fancy.

I really like the “Liars and Outliers” bit in the title.

Jeremy June 22, 2011 5:06 PM

hmmmm… gotta love word play!

Defending Society against Social Deviance

Risk seems to be function of deviance from an abstracted norm… but are we trying to defend against the practitioner of deviant behavior, or the threat associated with the deviance itself?

Nigel June 22, 2011 5:37 PM

Top Row
1) Best, clear text, blurred backdrop, with small number of people
2) To obscure & black, I don’t like the font.
3) Kinda cool, I like the summary line, but don’t like the title font or the font for your name.
Bottom Row
1) What is the photo ??, It doesn’t make sense to me
2) To black & a minority implies a small number of people, not a crowd.

I’d pick between top row 1 & 3 personally, 1 for e-sales, 3 for book shops.

Seiran June 22, 2011 5:44 PM

Book cover: 2, followed by 1. These covers give the impression of a professional, nonfiction work. Clutter on the cover looks too mass-market.


Schneier: Remember, the goal of a title is to make people — people who don’t already know me and my writing — want to read my book.

I am keeping in mind that you want general-interest appeal. Also, that said, the fewer words, the better.

I like the idea of taking two contrasting figures (“Saints and Sinners”), or two disparate ones (“Criminals and Revolutionaries”) and painting them both as dangerous or deviant types. This definitely got my attention.

Though not sure if “revolutionaries” has that positive of a connotation, and “saints/sinners” sounds slightly religious.

The Dangerous Minority
Protecting Society From Madoff, Gandhi And Other Deviant People

Or swap the D words and have Madoff and Gandhi as the Dangerous People in the deviant minority. The thought it brings up is: dangerous to whom? Society, governments, both?

Z. Lozinski June 22, 2011 5:58 PM

Question 2: What do you think of the cover options: the stock photos, the typefaces, the colors, the overall layout of the cover?

I still like good cover art, but I’m old enough to remember LP art, so what do I know.
1. I’ve seen this general pattern before. Can’t even remember what or where, which is probably not a good sign.
2. OK, but the design probably works better in a SF novel. Is this because of the central motif with the two circles?
3. I really dislike the title typeface in 3. And the rest of the cover looks like it belongs on a crime novel.
4. I like this. The one change I would suggest, the colour of the Author cutout at the top of the page is too bland. Pick something – bright red? – that grabs your eye when you pass by the airport bookstand. Red also works well in the context of a security book.
5. I like this design. A lot. The riot police are subtle, then you figure out what you are looking at. The one change I would suggest here is to change the folksy script for the author’s name to something much sharper / more professional. If you want the contrast of a serif font, something like CorporateA-Light or Garamond?

Russell June 22, 2011 6:02 PM

I like the strategy of calling out of the two types. How about “Leaders and Leeches”? That sums up Gandhi and Madoff quite nicely. You could also use: “Defending Society from Interesting Times” as a subtitle.

Jason Yip June 22, 2011 6:05 PM

Have you considered doing what Eric Ries is doing with his book and run tests on the alternatives against pre-orders?

I think a title that invokes imagery will work better than one that does not. So I like, “Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People” though I’m unsure that Madoff will have as much staying power as Gandhi to invoke imagery.

I prefer the subtitle: “Security and its Role in Modern Society” because it’s non-judgemental. Doesn’t alienate against any particular view of whether security is good or not.

And cover 4 draws my attention the fastest but would really need to see it with the modified title which is a lot longer.

echowit June 22, 2011 6:47 PM

1st cut, the cold comment.

I like “the Dishonest Minority” title as is just because the term dishonest is less than rigidly defined (as was so well illustrated in a previous post’s comments). Gives both author and reader a little mind-freedon during each’s experience.
Sub-title: … Defending Society. We have enough people who want to protect us. From ourselves.

Drop the ‘modern, it suggests the Ludites have the answer. Re-write in a couple of days after I read 450+ comments. WOW.

Paul June 22, 2011 7:04 PM

My favourite titles (in no particular order):

  • Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People
  • Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Dangerous People
  • Jesus, [the] Two Thieves, and other Dangerous People

I think the current subtitle is pretty good.

None of the covers really grab me. I would have said 1, but the colour of the title makes it fade into the background picture too easily, so i’d probably go for 2 or 4 (with a better background picture, perhaps). The fonts in 3 & 5 look cheesy.

JonS June 22, 2011 7:08 PM

My vote, of the options presented in the blog post is:

Crime, Activism, and Other Transgressions
Security and its Role in Modern Society

I don’t like ‘transgressors’ – it’s too fussy as a word, and I have to stop and think about it’s meaning in the context of the sentence.

On the other hand,

Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Outsiders

Might work. They are ‘outside’ societies norms, hence they are rare and therefore dangerous, and they are also ‘outside’ the security bubble … apart from insiders, of course :rolleyes: but even they are outside the norms of the society that exists within the bubble.

Why are they outside? What makes them outsiders? Etc. All intriguing questions.

As for the photos, I’m not really keen on any of them. My favourite would be the indistinct feet through the frosted floor. Through a glass, darkly, and all that.

The thing that came to me, though, thinking abiout outsiders and transgressors, was the imagery of black sheep and their rarity, and being the odd man out. Something like this:

or this:

or these:



echowit June 22, 2011 7:18 PM

Re-write already. OK, I lied. No way I want to reexperience the previous post that I mentioned above. I skimmed the comments and my 1st choice for title(s) stands.

Maybe Cover 2 but am not sure about venn be applicable here either. Ex:

Loved participating, tho, thanx.

Madhukar June 22, 2011 11:08 PM

I’d recommend the title – Transgressors as it seems to cover all (is it too big a set to address?) with the subtitile – Securing Society from its Deviants


Cath of Canberra June 22, 2011 11:16 PM

Cover prefs: 3, then 1. Hate 4, and 2 is boring.

Title: I prefer “Deviant” to “Dishonest” in the first option. But I like “Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People” probably best. The concreteness of the examples and their surprising juxtaposition is pretty good at attention-grabbing.

Though Madoff is perhaps not the best example? He’s nowhere near the fame league of Gandhi, especially outside the US. Perhaps Manson or Capone?

Jerry June 22, 2011 11:21 PM

I’d say “The Disobedient Minority” with the subtitle, “Security and its Role in Modern Society”.

I don’t prefer the subtitles that include defend or protect, because, while that is what people think they are doing (and sometimes really are), they are also defending or protecting a status quo that really ought not to be prolonged. Perhaps you cover this in the book.

In any event, whatever you call the book, I’ll read it.

Leitchy June 22, 2011 11:56 PM

The Disobedient Minority: Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People

Security and its Role in Society

Cover Number 2 (the one without a photo). Cover Number 3 is also pretty good.

I went with an expanded title because that more clearly defines the topic. The first 3 words can be very large, the text after the colon smaller, and the tag line text in slightly larger text at the bottom of the cover.

I sure hope that makes sense! 🙂

Brian June 23, 2011 1:40 AM

I like “The Dishonest Minority: Security and its Role in Modern Society “. I know the term “dishonest” has garnered some argument for being too sloppy, but it’s a nice title — and you can address the quibbles in the introduction 🙂

As for covers, I like the full-cover color from #1 and the general layout of #3. I like the bolder fonts best (the one in #3 has a nice resonance with the title).

One other thought: Have you considered any of these words for the title?


Marco June 23, 2011 2:07 AM

I think the title is fitting… Just use it. 🙂

Which brings me to the cover. Cover #1 fits your explanation of the title best. You can see people, because you can see their feet. But you can not see all of them. Which goes for the “Dishonest Minority” as well… Cover #2 is a good alternativ. It has a more authoritative air to it.

Nico June 23, 2011 2:26 AM

“Dishonest Minority” works for me, and I find cover number four, white background with people, to be the most eye-catching.

Cornerstone June 23, 2011 2:32 AM

I doubt Dishonest is really the right term here. I’d tend to go with some suggestions of Subversive or Disruptive. I don’t think that hacking a system is necessarily dishonest as it depends on what the person believes in and says are his intentions.

I also don’t think that being dishonest is a minority characteristic. I tend to think the fictional Dr. House is right when he says “everyone lies”. They may not always lie, as they may not always steal but I think it would be a minority who don’t sometimes do something they’d rather not admit to.

Given that a lot of web security attacks now are seemingly aimed at being disruptive rather than really being for selfish gain I’d think that Dispruptive Minority rings more true – but then I haven’t read the book, so who knows what you’re actually presenting.

Cornerstone June 23, 2011 2:49 AM

As to cover. I prefer the type style of #1 and the photo of #3. Definitely don’t like type style of #3 but I do like the shady darkness of the background and how it brings up images of “shady, underground behaviors”.

Lars June 23, 2011 3:04 AM

Cover: #2 is absolutely best. #1 looks as a criminal novel and #3 to #5 is too messy.

Perseid June 23, 2011 3:16 AM

I prefer cover 2 because of its simplicity (and all the other images are not really connected to the topic of the book) and title “Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People” (mainly because of the alliteration).

Pelle June 23, 2011 3:20 AM

Here is my input.

Question 1: What do you think of the title options?

I think this is the best combo:
Title: The Dishonest Minority
Subtitle: Security and its Role in Protecting Society

I feel the subtitle should have the word security in it. Otherwise people who don’t know of you would have no clue of what the book is about when seeing it on the shelves. No matter how much I like the subtitle “Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Dangerous People” security must be in the subtitle in my opinion. I’m sure you’ll address the sociopaths and saints inside the book 

Question 2: Cover
Picture no 5 is the best one. It shows a lot of people, and your topic is all about people. The picture also emits a kind of dark, murky, facelessness masses of people feeling. Somewhere among all these people are the dishonest ones.

The typeface is also clear and easy to spot on the shelf. You might however make the word Dishonest fatter like in pic no 4 to make it more noticeable.

You might want to go with some color in the tile to make lure the eye to see it (red, like in the book “No Logo”).

Pic no 4 looks like a movie poster. Bourne Identity style. Not good.

Pic no 1 has problems with light typeface on light background.

Jaime June 23, 2011 3:48 AM

Question 1:
I prefer the title “The Dishonest Minority”: short, distinctive, appealing and easy to remember. I don’t like long titles like “Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dangerous People”, they are difficult to remember without messing up the words. The title “Transgressors” is also good.

I like the subtitle “Security and its Role in Modern Society” (do we need the word “Modern”?). There is no need to add the words “Protecting” and “Defending” because we assume that security is to protect and defend.

Question 2:
I prefer the cover 1: the picture is great and the position of the subtitle is very clever. Cover 2 is also good, with a more academic look. Cover 3 is also good, with a more popular look. Cover 4 is confusing. Cover 5 is too dark.

bill June 23, 2011 4:07 AM

Nope. The titles are too literal, content oriented, you don’t need to sell it to me, you want my Dad too. Try one that makes a promise, or intrigues, or identifies a need, and make it easy to remember.

promise –
This is Security

intrigue –
Why do Bandits exist?

Where ‘Bandit’ is defined by the economist Carlo Cipolla’s, in the context of Intelligent people, Helpless, and Stupid, whose definitions are expressed in terms of their action and economic reactions.
The wikipedia entry is dry, but this is hilarious

need –
Security and You
Security, and why you need it.

Or combination, need and intrigue
Security, who needs it?

Get the title right first, the cover will follow, don’t do both at the same time.

They’re all noisy and bland.

The cover still needs to be right, even in eBook, because it’s the first handshake with a prospective reader. So better make it a firm one, not a limp wrist, nor death-grip.

The end:
OMFSM 475 comments, amazed if you get to this one. Oh well. You asked!

Sean June 23, 2011 4:21 AM

I like “Dishonest Minority” best of the first four options.
“Deviant” has sexual connatations.
“Disobedient” has 5 syllables and doesn’t read well

The next list of longer titles I don’t like, because they are too long, short memorable title is better, with a longer subtitle.
Also, biblical references can cause problems, especially in the US.

I don’t use or hear the word “trangressors” in conversation, it doesn’t instantly mean anything to me, and a main title needs to instantly provide a reaction of some sort.

“… in Modern Society” is bland, as in an academic publication.
“… in Protecting …” is passive, as in a shield.
“… in Defending …” is active, and therefore the best to grab the attention.

Cover options :
1. Looks like a textbook
2. Looks like a (fiction) thriller
3. Looks like an account of gangs, mafia
4. Bad on the eyes, makes me want to look away
5. I like this one the best, it’s dark, but draws you in.

AJ Finch June 23, 2011 4:51 AM

“Transgressors” Is a great title. It grabs me, is evocative and makes me wonder what it’s about.

I like covers 1 and 4 (the lighter ones). The dark ones make it hard to see the image.

Whatever you go with, Good luck!

paul farrell June 23, 2011 5:22 AM

[hed] Trust and Transgression
[sub] Security and the disobedient minority

A stab. Hed and sub overlap too much? But I think the setting aside of “Dishonest” is a terrific idea, since as you point out saints like Thoreau are part of the problem.

Stephanie Pegg June 23, 2011 6:07 AM

I found the cover with the Venn diagram and the minimalist design to be most striking. I like the idea of pairing virtuous and horrible concepts together, but the examples you gave didn’t quite grab me, sorry.

Gøran Berntsen June 23, 2011 6:40 AM

I like the calling out of two different kinds of people coupled with alliteration. My favorites are “Murderers, Messiahs and other Dangerous People” and “Sinners, Saints, etc”. “Sociopaths” is too gnarly, it breaks the rythm.

I didn’t really like any of the covers: they look like crime novels.

AC2 June 23, 2011 6:45 AM

Dang I’m always late to these things, but I have a very different cover idea…

None of the ones shown on the post really worked for me, but got the idea from the 1st one…

The idea is to show a chessboard, not the whole thing but just one quarter/ half of the board from a player observation angle with some pieces, black and white. And in the middle-game position…

And among them two black bishops, BOTH on black squares…


Quercus June 23, 2011 8:26 AM

OK, my $.02 (without looking at others): I don’t like ‘dishonest’ because, well, nobody accused Ghandi of not being honest. ‘Disobedient’ fits much better, IMHO.

I’m leaning towards “Sociopaths, Saints etc” for the subtitle, because it is both intriguing and does the best job of pointing out the real range of what you’re looking at. In other context a ‘revolutionary’ could have a general meaning, but standing next to ‘criminal’, it’s going to be read as meaning violent aggressive people only, which I think is more limited than what you mean. Maybe if you have a better word than “revolutionary”, one that (even standing next to ‘criminal’) implies ‘trailblazer’ more than ‘violent’.

Tyler June 23, 2011 9:19 AM

Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dangerous People: Securing Society from its Deviants

This, paired with cover design 2 (or something similar). The choice of 2 is pretty obvious; it’s something that would display well on a monochrome eInk display, looks authoritative enough to be on a professorial bookshelf, but would be something that might interest a layperson.

Quinn June 23, 2011 9:43 AM


Just a few thoughts from a reader:


I agree, I don’t really like any of the short titles but I think the cadence of them is catchier than the alliterative ones later. I think Minority has too many connotations with recent movies and with the use as ethnic minorities etc. Perhaps changing that bit of it would help?

If not, the alliterative style is quite nice as well. I would stay away from the biblical stuff myself as well, I like the Madoff, Ghandi… one but perhaps someone more profile than Madoff? He was a bit recent and I worry that the name won’t stand the test of time. Crime, Revolution… sounds too much Dostoyevsky to me.

I personally don’t really like the single word option. And I don’t really feel it with the word Transgress[x] in the title. Could be my own prejudice though.


If I have read your notes correctly you refer a lot to evolution in the book so I would find the use of the word “modern” in the subtitle to be potentially confusing (although I recognise that the evolutionary/society thing is how we got to where we are now). I quite like Security and its Role in Protecting Society, but again, could just be me 


  1. Looks like Minority Report. Also the white text is hard to read on the light parts of the background.
  2. I quite like this one if you can maybe work something about grey areas into the title/subtitle. Otherwise it just feels grey 
  3. Looks like a school book. Or something targeted at tweens.
  4. This doesn’t look too bad, the imagery doesn’t leap out as being about security to me though. It looks more like a business management book you get in an airport. Perhaps with more imagery like the one in 5…
  5. This is my favourite so far in terms of impact and it conveying the content but I prefer the overall feel of number 4. I think it’s the colour scheme. Overall a combination of both would work. 

I’m looking forward to it 

K June 23, 2011 9:46 AM

Something about cover 1 sticks out. I like the ambiguity and abstraction of it, which seems fitting given the topic.

Surprised you used low few watermarked images for web publishing. You must not have studied the threat model behind copyright infringement too much – as a photographer, I don’t know how many times I’ve been paid a four or five figure sum for the use of an image that normall would have only been a two or a three figure sum, all because they decided to use the image without licensing it first. The U.S legal system is, in this regard, set up in such a way to make the threat very great to those who do not license work prior to using it.

Munin June 23, 2011 9:54 AM

Title: “Saints, Sinners and Other Dangerous People”
Subtitle: “Security and its Role in Modern Society”

The title is the shortest and punchiest of that selection (one syllable and two syllables) and gets the contrrast across. The subtitle is the simplest one which gets the context of the work across.

As far as the covers go I’d avoid any cursive script like the plague but all the others are fine and I’d say the pick depends on preference. I presume you’ve had a scan around the non-fiction shelves in a book store as well?

I’d echo several commentators about avoiding the terms “dishonest” and “minority” on the cover. I also think it would be too loaded if you intend the title to grab a mass audience.

Chris June 23, 2011 10:24 AM

I like this configuration …

Title: Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People
Subtitle: Security and its Role in Modern Societies

In the subtitle, I like societies better because it sounds like your describing how a person’s actions or beliefs can be viewed differently depending on the society that is viewing them.

I also like the first and second covers, they look like non-fiction book covers. The third one looks very much like a fiction book. The others don’t really do anything for me.


John June 23, 2011 11:36 AM

“Sinners, Saints” is a good juxtaposition. “Sociopaths, Saints” is not, as Sociopaths is too strong and the term Saints is reduced in modern society (or was never strong).

I particularly like “Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People,” because the “Murderers, Messiahs” juxtaposition is perfect (equivalent strength, opposite values), and calling them out as dangerous is both true and shocking (Messiahs are supposed to be godsends). It’s ironic and true. That said, I don’t know if the subject matter fits close enough; I would expect an applied philosophy book to carry a title like that, and one that dived deep into the associated philosophy and then surfaced dead in the middle of core issues.

Your titles don’t seem to match your stated premise, however. A book about how dangerous bad people and good people both are is good, but you didn’t do that. Your book is about how a group protects itself from internal threats within that group. A title in the form of “The X and the Y” with Y being a subset of X, such that it is effectively “The X and some others of the X” would seem more appropriate than “X, Y, and Other ADJC” where X and Y are unrelated social groups and ADJC is an Adjective Clause linking them to each other but not to the group they are compromised of.

That exact form, of course, is boring and subtle. It also defeats purpose implicitly, as if you say “Society and Criminals” then you have implied that Criminals are an isolated group from the rest of Society rather than your peers. It is also the great mistake we all make: Child molesters (for example) aren’t some sort of festering evil polluting our society, but rather a PART of our society that we have to defend against–a part that could be any normal person, who is also a child molester. You trust your neighbor, but you should have your eyes open enough to notice when it’s time to question that trust, in case he’s planning on stealing your stuff or raping your wife or kids or whatnot; but he IS your neighbor, and if he turns out to be a rapist he is STILL your neighbor, just another guy… and a criminal.

You will have a hard time creating an appropriate title that frames the concept of elements of a group also being adversarial to the group as a whole. Adversaries are considered not a part of the group, and people want to separate them in that way; when you suggest they are adversarial, you will segment them from the group implicitly.

Of course, if you could just speak three words and have people understand, you wouldn’t have to write a 500 page book about it.

qualia June 23, 2011 11:49 AM

My initial reaction is that your propsed titles sets up the tired “Us vs. Them” “Black vs. White” false dichotomy and implies the “Society” is always good, its discontents (oh already taken) are always bad. As a 15 yr+ security pro, I see population at large, structured and controled within the power-based framework, and that there is a natural tension between those comfortably in that structure and those that rebel against the structure, for whatever reason.
We have security to protect the current power structure of society, which is increasingly just the rich (I know, my views are tempered by recent, but historically building trends), so the definition of “society” is changing, especially when so many place the economy above society by their words and actions. What you have is society fragmenting and people are feeling it and realizing that sometimes they are part of society and sometimes not.
Anonymous will become Ubiquitous.

laurent June 23, 2011 12:11 PM

I would not consider Ghandi as dishonest. He may have be dissident, disobediant, deviant, and dangerous in his early time but not dishonest.
I vote for this title :
* The Dishonest Minority


clip June 23, 2011 12:21 PM

For titles, I like these two:

Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People
Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People

They both clearly and readily show a contrast between two well-known entities. Although I worry the phrase “Sinners & Saints” might be a bit over-used in general, it still is approachable and familiar to most people.

For a sub-title, I like this:
Security and its Role in Protecting Modern Society

Again, I worry that the phrase “Modern Society” may be over-used in “modern culture”, it still focuses the viewer’s time frame. For myself, “Modern Society” certainly means the past 50 years, or even the last 10, post-9/11, and the changes the Patriot Act, and other freedom-reducers that affect today’s society.

For covers, I like #3.
I like the “scrawl” script, since it reminds me of graffiti or other lawlessness. I like the photo of the few individuals, waist-down, unidentifiable, whose shadows point towards the viewer. These are the sinners the book is warning us about.

#2 has the interesting Venn Diagram, with the intersection which might be the sub-set of society the book is about, but the serif font and general sterile feeling is unappealing.

#4 is too “friendly” with the calm colors. I feel that it is a sidewalk-scape, in any city, and shows that you just don’t know who around you is the criminal.

#5 is appealing too, showing a bunch of people in semi-darkness, potentially dangerous, but they can’t all be sinners, can they? We just don’t know.

sfguy June 23, 2011 1:19 PM

I do not like “The Dishonest Minority”. You cannot make a word mean what you want it mean, and dishonest doesn’t apply to a large segment of people you will cover who violate security, if I understand what you will be writing about. A book review might spend more time focusing on the inappropriateness of the title than the substance of your argument. Then too, you might write about what happens when the minority becomes a majority.

Of the titles you suggest, some riff on Sinners and Saints seems best. I prefer the fonts on #1 and #2.

Carol June 23, 2011 1:31 PM

The Disobedient Minority, Paired with Security and its Role in Protecting Society, as they avoid the pejorative Dishonest. Leave out the Modern, unless you are implying that it only applies to modern society, not any in the past.

As for covers, the first two look like novels. I don’t like the script of the third. I do like both 4 and 5, with 5 being a bit grittier.

Canuk June 23, 2011 1:46 PM

I like the cover for #1, followed closely by #2.

At first blush, I like your title, “The Dishonest Minority” however, not all security subversion is strictly dishonesty, but it does catch one’s attention.

I like Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Transgressors as a second choice. I’ve often thought about revolutionaries as not necessarily the warm, fuzzy thing we think it is. I think that title is more provoking but would definitely benefit from the subtitle of “Security and its Role in Modern Society” to let the anticipated reader know the subject focus of the book.

manfred June 23, 2011 1:53 PM

How about “Transgressors: Saints, Sociopaths, and Security in Modern Society”?

manfred June 23, 2011 1:55 PM

Also cover #2 is good. I don’t like any of the titles with “minority” in the title because it’s redundant; we already know that “saints and sociopaths” or people like Madoff and Gandhi are in the societal minority.

Zack June 23, 2011 2:09 PM

I don’t really agree that “Dishonest” can represent the “differently moral” category. that said, it wonderfully represents the “criminal” category and makes a resonating title. Here are some other options.

The Outlaw Minority

If you’re willing to break out of words beginning with “D” I really like this one as it captures the “disapproved by society” theme of both groups you’re focusing on without some of the unwanted connotations of you other options.

The Unruly Minority
The Defiant Minority

These are both great if you really want to push the angle of society wanting to keep people in line, perhaps harder than the criminal side.

unum June 23, 2011 3:00 PM

I like:
Crime, Activism, and Other Transgressions
Security and its Role in Protecting Modern Society

I also like the word disruptions.

Crime, Activism, and Other Disruptions.

Mat June 23, 2011 3:05 PM

Title: The Dangerous Minority
Why? It’s intriguing. The minority that doesn’t pay taxes? Dangerous to society. The minority that hijacks political discussions? Potentially dangerous to democracy. The minority that hacks the Senate then laughs about it over Twitter? Dangerous to something or other.

“The Dangerous Minority” also has a “tipping point” (a la MG) simplicity and neutrality that draws you in. Whereas “dishonest” sounds like a judgement, “dangerous” sounds like an observation. Much cleaner.

Cover #2. Simple, clean, direct. The “handwriting-like” fonts and busy images in the others detract and seem not to link in, conceptually, with the title. I find the excellent design and (somewhat) starkness of the #2 cover emphasizes the seriousness of the subject.

Graphic design suggestion: I’m not sure that the overlapping circles should be the same size. Ideally, the white one would instead be smaller, filled with red [subhead color], and on the left, indicating that the minority is dangerous/dishonest–a warning sign.

Meanwhile, the larger circle would be an outline (i.e. filled with black, suggesting that the majority is less dangerous/present/dishonest).

Alternately, I’d suggest asking for a mockup of a small red circle inside a bigger circle (in that case, white). That may make the point more forcefully.

Can’t wait to read it.

Emile June 23, 2011 3:05 PM

As a non-security expert, but avid reader, I like:
– Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats
– Security and its Role in Modern Society
– Cover number 5

I like the two part main title, and the fact that it doesn’t quite explain what the book is about. I am not so keen on the words ‘protecting’ or ‘defending’ in the sub-title, since the typical (mis) use of security has nothing to do with either.
I like the anonymity of the picture on cover 5 – who is good, and who is not?
As for font – I think cover 5 is too mixed, I prefer the relative simplicity and clarity of number 4.
Bruce, I hope this helps – I look forward to the book!

John Galt III June 23, 2011 3:23 PM

I wish that I had the time and patience to read all of the posts. There are a lot of good ideas in the extensive comments. Many of them better that what I offer here.

You might get some mileage out of putting the favorites to a vote. Be sure to include the option to vote for each individual word too.

I like the plural “Dangerous Minorities” better, because it allows for multiple types of people. And gets rid of the extraneous article that adds little. Certainly those of us with ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) fall into the disobedient classification. Born Irish. It was a sin under British rule. Some people will misread “Dangerous Minorities” to have a flavor of racial prejudice. Besides liars, thieves and murderers, otherwise known as politicians, I also am concerned about the threats posed by idiots, psychotics and criminals. All of them wielding the arbitrary power of guns with vastly greater terminal effects, cyclic rates of fire and accuracy than the Framers of our Constitution ever imagined. Purchased in the blood of our forefathers, may they rest in peace.

I found these to be the best of the offerings in your post; I am unable to rank them against each other. They all are good. I liked some of the ones in the comments at least as much as these, but I don’t have the patience to ferret them out for review.

“Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dangerous People”
“Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats”
“Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Transgressors”

It was Malcolm Gladwell that started me on the path to truth and righteousness. I call them cognitive flaws, but your choice of cognitive bias is very good. I use “inability to act in long-term self-interest,” as a definition of cognitive flaws, but our cognitive biases often do that too. Your formulation is less judgmental.

I thought that Saints and Sinners are in some ways outdated terms, which disfavored them. Arguably Transgressors is cut from the same cloth, but somehow it carries a different flavor.

This is pretty good; brevity, wit’s soul:


I like this subtitle:

Security and its Role in Society

but I think that you may need one more word to go with Transgressors to make the combination work.

Mitigating is too fancy a word for the general public, but for those with a better command of the language:

“Mitigating Transgressors” with subtitle
“Security and its Role in Society”

comes close.

Defeating, Defending Against, Foiling, Fending, … also close.

Good luck finding the global optimum.

Whit Kemmey June 23, 2011 3:55 PM

The Enemy Within: Protecting Society from Saints and Sinners

Note that there is an older book with the title “The Enemy Within”, so that could be a problem.

Tamara Benson June 23, 2011 4:16 PM

Hope I can comment twice, once now and once after I’ve thought more about the logic of choosing a title–for mass appeal.
“Arty-by-me-now-wise”, I like “Transgressions”–it appeals for it’s universal sense of both the personal realization of our own failings, and our voyeuristic inclination to gawk at others’ failings. It’s also got that ‘dirty word’ feel to it that triggers interest. (Your “Secrets and Lies” title got more attention sitting on my desk at work than anything I’ve ever seen! Everyone had to know what it was)

I’ve been drawn to the phrase “Where Angels Fear to Tread”–which E.M. Forster used for his 1905 novel, however the phrase is owned by us all. What I like about it is the danger and ambiguity, as you mentioned, of transgressors–some evil, some idealist, some naive. Seems to be playing out right now in the news.
Kudos on the progress on the new book! Can’t wait to read it and give it as Christmas presents!

Martin June 23, 2011 4:37 PM

1) Of all of those, “The Dishonest Minority” soudns best to me. Second is “transgressors”, but it’s a definite second. No strong opinions on the subtitle.

2) I like the 1st, 3rd and 5th covers better than the other two. My favourite is the last one, but I don’t like the font your name’s in.

Michael (aka madmike) June 23, 2011 6:44 PM

If you want to go full alliteration, I like something slightly different: “Sinners, Saints and Other Subversives.” This gets away from the ‘minority’ connotation that can be construed as derogatory, especially if you combine it with ‘Dishonest’. Subversives can refer to entities going against the group norm, whether you are a criminal in a ‘good’ society or a whistle-blower in an evil corporation.

As for a sub-title something along the lines of these: “Security and its Role in [Differing|Various] Societies” or “Security and its [Varying|Various] Roles in Protecting Societies”. These sub-titles don’t specify a specific type of society as one with the word “Modern” in it does. The security roles you have discussed in the past are applicable to ancient and modern societies. They can also be applied to non-human societies as well.

I was drawn to cover three right when I first looked at the covers. Upon further review of it I really like the main title font but think the author font doesn’t fit with the rest of the cover. I like how the title script font’s “messy” look. This “messy” look adds to the allure of the subversive/dishonest angle you are trying to discuss in the book. Cover one is simple but seems more like a textbook based on the cover. Also I can’t figure out what the black ‘objects’ were. They seem disjointed with no real purpose. Cover two is simple; I’m not sure about the Venn diagram/lunar eclipse icon. The author text made me think of a ‘2001’ marquee poster. Cover Four seems visually a mess, almost an assault on my senses, but I like the differing weights of the title font. Five is OK. I think the script author font is out of place and I’d suggest not using pictures that represent any societal group.

Feel free to send me a signed first edition after you select my titles. 😉

Good luck and I look forward to reading it.

Jose June 23, 2011 7:00 PM

I like cover #1, it portrays in an interesting way the concept of seeing things from a different (opposite) perspective, although I didn’t get it immediately. I think it would be a good match with the “As Bs and other Cs” title.

Frank June 23, 2011 9:05 PM

I still don’t think that those who “don’t follow [] social conventions are by definition dishonest.” If you mean to refer to people who violate the rules secretly (obviously Gandhi doesn’t fit, but the rest of your examples do), you could think about the practice of `ketman,’ though that is usually used in defense or necessity.

Seeing as you really do mean to include Gandhi, I think deviant' fits better. I disagree with you about the meaning of the worddishonest’ (as do most commenters, I imagine — though I haven’t yet looked).

Jacob June 24, 2011 12:30 AM

My Title:- The dishonest Minority.
It is intriguing. More takers definitely!

My Cover:- #1.
Me thinks, the concept could be conveyed better, if one pair of the soles is white or if one pair is walking in tangent.

waiting for ebook!

Marcin June 24, 2011 3:20 AM

Wow, that’s a bikeshed painting thread 🙂
I’d choose #2 – simple, like Mitnick’s stuff or “silence on the wire”.

Jeremy June 24, 2011 6:02 AM

“Defending the dominant paradigm: the role of security in societies”

Probably too dry.

“Demons in Heaven, Angels in Hell, and other subversives”
“Demons in Heaven, Angels in Hell, and other undesirables”

“Subverting the subverters”

lorenzo g. June 24, 2011 7:14 AM

My answer to Question 1: “Look at Them”. Rationale: it’s the first form of ‘protection from parasites’ that I remember being told. I was a little kid and my grandmother was walking me somewhere, and pointed at ‘the bad people’. It does not matter who they were or what they were doing (drugs, having long hair, just kissing on the street, whatever). But I recall that moment as a “us vs. them” epiphany.

Regarding Question 2, I like cover no. 4. But that’s just because you asked 🙂

Please let us all know what you decided at the end.

(now I’ll go back to reading other people’s comments).

Toby Speight June 24, 2011 8:39 AM

One more title into the idea-pot:

“Safe from our Friends? The emergence of security in societies”

Nylarthotep June 24, 2011 8:51 AM

Title: The Deviant Minority
Clear and concise and more inclusive of the behaviors that you are describing. Some may not be completely dishonest, but they are still deviant in the society as a whole.
Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People
Or one of those. I think the longer subtitle in a smaller font will hold the browser after they see the title.

I think covers 1 & 2 are simpler and more dramatic in the end.

Can’t wait for it to come out.

Martin Schafer June 24, 2011 9:28 AM

How about The Disruptive Minority?

Predators, Parasites, and Progress

The first cover is my favorite followed by number 4.

ScruLoose June 24, 2011 12:12 PM

I like cover 2. It’s a clean, uncluttered design. Also, the Venn diagram without labels is evocative (those who disobey the rules, and honest people, with a skinny but real intersection).

I really don’t like “the dishonest minority”. It makes a highly misleading moral judgement. Some who refuse to follow the rules of their culture do so for entirely honest (and honestly-stated) reasons.

If you want to stick with the “the x minority” pattern, I think “the deviant minority” is the best option (the least loaded with implied moral judgement).

For the subtitle I like “Security and its role in modern society” best.

Also, I would stay away from the Jesus and Gandhi references.

How about “Crime and Revolution — Security and its Role in Modern Society”

BrianSJ June 24, 2011 2:56 PM

Agree, stay away from Jesus and Gandhi refs. Preference for 1 or 2 but agree, doesn’t matter so much now. However, a smart infographic that tells some of the story might be worth generating and then abstracting for the cover. The suggesions above about ‘trust’ in the title appeal, since I thought that was a big part of the book. Deviant might get you the wrong sort of reader?

fu8a June 24, 2011 3:14 PM

Personally, I like:
Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People
Securing Society from its Deviants

I also like “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats”, but feel like it’s not catchy enough to make flip through the book if I just saw it on the shelf at a store.

I’m not a huge fan of any of the covers. But, #1 seems to be the least bad.

GregW June 24, 2011 3:38 PM

I buy your overall argument that a security system that squelches the “dishonest minority” is somewhat counterproductive.

But the actual term and way you use “dishonest” as a term that purely is a social construct just continues to grate on my nerves (across all 3 blog postings on this). If you said morality is purely a social contract, then I could understand that as a coherent point of view, but when you muck with the term honesty in the same way, we all lose the scientific/objective notion that dishonesty or lying means “saying something that you know/believe is not true”. Jesus and Gandhi may have been immoral by their opponent’s standards, but generally they aren’t accused of being “dishonest”… the word “dishonest” means something different.

If open to other perhaps less-inflamatory yet still striking terms, you might consider “The Deceptive Minority” or “The Deceiving Minority”. But those words remain almost equally inaccurate in my view in clearly describing the concept you are trying to convey.

If I understand you, I think what you’re saying is that there are a minority of people who rebel, and our security mechanisms are evolutionary-originating attempts to protect the group from insider abuse, yet we would be unwise to squelch such rebels completely with our security mechanisms since they may have something to teach us. In that case, perhaps consider the titles “The Rebellious Minority”, “The Dissenting Minority”, “The Upstart Minority” or “The Rebel Minority”. (I like the latter best of that list.) It captures what you mean best, imho.

GregW June 24, 2011 4:25 PM

OK, now, having read/skimmed all the comments, I guess I’d say I prefer (for reasons of clarity/accuracy) to replace the term “Dishonest Minority” with some variant of the following:

The Rule-breakers/ing Minority
The Subverting/ters/sive Minority
The Rebel/ling/lious Minority

(Transgressor/ing is ok conceptually/definitionally, but just not punchy to me.)

Of the above variants, I think the best is:
The Rulebreaking Minority

since it is the closest to having the virtues of the “dishonest” label you mentioned earlier; it remains striking, that potential reader can relate to it in their own personal way, that it’s sometimes good/bad, and that security attempts to deal with it but should deal with it subtly/properly. But it’s a clearer/more-accurate term than “Dishonest”.

By the way, in terms of your other questions, I don’t have strong opinions on the cover but lean to #5.

And on the subtitle, I do agree with others that there’s nice alliteration, clarity, and punch to to the “Murderers, Messiahs, etc” subtitle. And I prefer “Security and its Role in Defending Society” to the one mentioning “Modern” since while you are dealing with the modern (“technology”-oriented) context, you are trying to make a point about non-modern security too, and it’ll be pretty clear from other aspects of the context of the book and even the market it’s released in that it’s not a history-section book about security.

vanilla June 24, 2011 6:31 PM

Sorry to come so late to the party but this has been a busy week.


Group 1. The Deviant Minority or The Disobedient Minority. Group 2. None. Group 3. Crime, Activism, and Other Transgressions.

In the subtitle group, Security and its Role in Defending Modern Society.


Do not let anyone tell you that the cover doesn’t matter … IT DOES. I have a Nook (two, actually) and that is how I browse for e-books … by cover … and that is how they grab my attention.

Cover 4. I like it.

Thanks for letting us vote.

JP June 24, 2011 6:32 PM

Cold reading of the post and not really knowing the book though we can guess the direction.

Citizens Owned
Society, Sinners, and Saints
Society Owned
Citizens, Sinners, and Saints

If you are highlighting risk to society, the risk is to the participants in the society – the citizens (loosely of course). The bad guy’s goal is to own the society and manipulate it to their advantage.

A cover alternative would be a brushed black background and create 3 dark orange simplified icons you discuss in the book representing groups you use in the book – perhaps something like:

government (ie TSA or law enforcement or UN)
criminals and money/currency
computers (ie hacking)

Place these stylistically around a set of citizens in a simplified single line representation of a mild protest formation in a brighter red color. Possibly(?) add a somewhat obscure stylized threat icon to make the reader think when they see it.

The dark orange represents the dark threat while the bright red highlights a frustrated population at risk. Perhaps a white title and a light blue author name. While a risk of a little nationalism, the use of red for the people with white and blue subtly implies a U.S. perspective. Brushed black instead of bright black will allow the bright colors to stand out more while softening the darker colors. Not a design or color expert but just an idea.

Back Cover: Your picture (and maybe a tiny squid) with a column of small threat icons down the side representing the threats you discuss. Add basic publisher back cover material.

Side Cover – Basic name and title with possible use of minimized icons if space permits. Makes it more noticeable in the Barnes and Noble bookshelves in the future.

Use of dark colors indicates you are focusing on the dark side of society.

Orange is a warning color though the use of darker orange on black mutes the effect and implies they are background but ever present – it also does not take away from the title.

Red implies risk. People are at risk. Your readers are at risk. This icon is critical as it is the most visible thing on the cover. While you do not want to push the protest or riot side too much, you do want to imply society under threat and the need to respond.

Single line art for the graphics/icons implies simplicity while still allowing visual communication. This is a complex topic but the threats and people can be simply defined and simply visually communicated. This use of icons is consistent with modern communications. Keep them simple so they initially communicate a point but in the end the reader gets to reinterpret.

Single line art also simplifies the complexity when looked at in electronic format such as Amazon and on e-readers. Photos don’t always do well here even if a defocused photo like your sample.

George H. H. Mitchell June 24, 2011 7:50 PM

“The Fly in the Ointment: Security and its Role in Modern Society”

A. J. Harper June 24, 2011 8:13 PM

For appeal, I think “Murderers, Messiahs, and Other Dangerous People”,
“Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People”, and “Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People” would all catch someone’s eye on the bookshelf. The idea of saints, messiahs, and Ghandi as “dangerous” pulls me right in. I don’t feel like the crime/activism or criminals/revolutionaries pairings pack the same punch, mostly because they don’t represent clear opposites.

As for 2nd line… “Security and its role in modern society” seems the most all-encompassing.

Best cover as-is is #5 (though it makes it look like a novel). Cover #4 is way too busy – I can hardly read the text, and I think the color scheme is distracting. I like the font on #1, I think it says ‘this book is good non-fiction’ the most, but I can hardly read it on that background. Maybe just make the font black? Cover #3 text looks like a chalkboard or something equally juvenile which doesn’t seem to fit with your message. It might be great with just a font adjustment. I like the venn diagram a lot on #2 but it requires just that extra additional thought beyond just being attracted to the cover. Maybe that’s a good thing, though.

Excited to read this, whatever it’s called and whatever it looks like.

Tamara Benson June 24, 2011 9:13 PM

Two cents opinion on the book jacket/cover:
I don’t like any of those too much, though they don’t offend in any way.
I lean toward a title that looks more like #3 for it’s almost Graffitti style. I think Graffiti fits well with this topic and appeals art-wise. the more edgy the better–the public is stressed and appears to not have attention span for ‘textbook’ looking materials. sigh.
The colors of these examples is cool rather than warm–blue/black instead of red/orange/green. I think warmer colors will sell more to the general public. I have to ditto the commenter who said you could write anything in any way and I’d still buy it. But selling to the public–arty and inviting covers sell books. Sadly, even some of my own family may not read the book in it’s entirety, but if the cover is pretty or intriguing they’ll have it sitting out for others to see and peruse.

magenta? purple? 🙂
You’ve done hot orange, you’ve done green, red too right? What about electric blue or purple?

H. Rider Haggard June 25, 2011 9:35 AM

If you find yourself lumping Madoff and Gandhi together, that’s a sign that there’s something seriously wrong with your thinking.

Madoff was a stealthy trust violator, a fraudster, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He avoided conflict.

Gandhi was an open rule-breaker, an iconoclast, an inspirational leader, more shepherd than sheep. He took on conflict.

Neither Madoff nor Gandhi was one of the sheeple. That’s about all they have in common. But there are many other groups that neither was a member of, so it’s not much of a link.

Frederick June 25, 2011 12:57 PM

I agree about “dishonest.” “Dangerous” is okay, but really suggests violence, which I don’t think you mean. Also, “The Dangerous Minority” could be read as an anti-minority-group statement, which could get you in hot water. “Deviant” will just make people think “sexual deviant.” “Disobedient” makes people think of kids. I think the word “Defector” is closer to what you want to suggest, but it doesn’t work as an adjective.

I like “Criminals, Revolutionaries, [aODP].” I feel the others fall short of the mark, but this one is good.

(I tried combining these: “Delinquents, Defectors, and Other Dangerous People,” but it just doesn’t have a punch: delinquent sounds merely like either children or someone who missed a payment. Maybe if there were a better synonym for “criminal” beginning with D..)

“Transgressions” sounds like a romance novel.

The “Security and its Role …” subtitles sound a little too much like someone’s thesis title. (Especially the “.. in Modern Society” one.)

The last option, “Securing Society from its Deviants” is good .. punchy, active. But again, “deviant” sounds sexual. What about “Securing Society from its Defectors?”

“Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dangerous People / Securing Society from its Defectors”

I hate all the covers with stock photos. I would never just pick up one of those books. The #2 blank one is the best of the lot, though it reminds me of my college texts.

Personally, my inclination would be a couple pictures of old paintings showing trials .. Socrates, Guy Fawkes, Blackbeard. I’m sure your publisher can say if I’m woefully out of fashion.

Clive Robinson June 25, 2011 2:36 PM

@ MarkC,

I can just see Bruces face on the back of a “Jackie Collin’s” style fly cover…

What did she have for “Ridders” a very feminine young bottom in tight riding trousers with a mans hand…

Yup it might sell books but to whom 😉

Terry Cloth June 25, 2011 4:33 PM

It’s a good point that Madoff will be forgotten soon. How about

Ponzi, Ghandi and Other Dangers

Not only do you get someone whose name is in current use, and will stay there, but some nice assonance to boot. I’m not sure which order of names falls most trippingly from the tongue, but ISTM putting Ponzi first will get more attention. Just Dangers'' is punchier thanDangerous People”.

For a subtitle, how about Security’s Role in Your Life? That oughta get ’em wondering.

Or maybe What Security Does For and To You.

RonK June 26, 2011 6:59 AM

@ Clive R

Tsk, tsk! “Riders” is by Jilly Cooper, not Jackie Collins. What’s funny is that I’m not sure catching you at this particular inaccuracy makes me think that other more on-topic tidbits you post are less, or rather, more reliable….

AviD June 26, 2011 7:32 AM

Malicious Minority

  • Security and it’s role in Defining Society

I like cover #1 best, #5 second best. #2 doesnt make sense, #3 looks too dark and drab, and #4 gives me a headache…

Dimitry June 26, 2011 8:21 AM

The Deviant Minority.
Criminals, Revolutionaries, and Other Dangerous People

Cover #4

Ush June 26, 2011 1:45 PM

It seems to me that what you’re describing as “dishonesty” is really “non-conformism”. How was Gandhi “dishonest”? He publically declared his intention to flout or disobey the norms. Madoff on the other hand concealed his intention to do so.

“Criminals, Conformists and Co-operation” might express the idea better?

B.t.w. I forgot to mention during the last post that you might be interested in Patricia Churchland’s Braintrust [1] which investigates the role of neurochemicals like oxytocin and vasopressin on trust and bonding.

I’m very excited by the idea of your book! It’s definitely an interesting time to be thinking about this area.

Good luck.

  1. Churchland, Patricia S., “Braintrust:What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality” Princeton 2011

Ush June 26, 2011 2:00 PM

Oh, I forgot:

Question 2:

I prefer cover #2 strongly.
I would rank #5 next, but much lower
Next is #1. It’s boring. Is the book about glass ceilings?
I strongly dislike #3 and #4 (both typeface and photos)

Pau Amma June 26, 2011 2:07 PM

I like the “dissidents” option that someone suggested. I also like activist/m and transgression/or So I would vote for either “Crime, Activism, and Other Transgressions” or “Criminals, Dissidents, and Other Transgressors”. I have no opinion on subtitle or covers.

Also, there are comments on, and maybe on other places that syndicate this.

mesrik June 26, 2011 2:54 PM

Dishonest Minority is quite good, just append a subtitle something like:

  • Trouble with Opportunism and Subversion.

Incase you are not just describe the troube, but also provide means of taking care of those then “Dealing with O & S”, would be better.

I like the 2nd cover most, thanks.


🙂 riku

Gareth June 26, 2011 8:47 PM

I like: “Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Dangerous People” – “Security and its Role in Modern Society”. Cover 2 appeals to me the most.

Clive Robinson June 27, 2011 1:13 AM

@ RonK,

“Tsk, tsk! “Riders” is by Jilly Cooper, not Jackie Collins”

I think you can take it that I’ve never “read” either of the ladies works that I know of (though I have had my ear bent by them).

I saw the cover and several similar some years ago when I went out with a lady who did read their work and others in a similar vein.

And as I started to find out she must have read hundreds of such books, as she considered she needed a dozen or so such books when going away for a couple of weeks holiday. And for my sins I discovered it is not possible to live up to others fiction (romantic or otherwise), even when you don’t know you are supposed to.

Which begs the question as to why you are so familiar with the ladies works?

Jack June 27, 2011 4:14 AM

All the covers look great, but number #1 is my favourite by far.

As to the titles, I think “The Dishonest Minority” sounds pretty cool. I also like the idea of calling Jesus dangerous and subversive.

Moving on to subtitles, I rather like “Security and its Role in Modern Society”.

With all that being said, however, I haven’t read the book, so obviously I can’t know for sure whether or not these covers/titles fit the content.

fourletterword June 27, 2011 7:36 AM

How about “Liars, Outliers and other Dangerous People”?

First cover.

Steve June 27, 2011 7:45 AM

I like the idea in the film The Matrix where he is walking down a street and everyone is dressed similarly in black except for the lady in bright red. For your book it would be like an allegory of the few being different from the group.

On the typeface I thought they were all good except #3. It looks too close to vandalism and reinforces that these deviants are just bored, mindless and lacking in (art) skill. The most dangerous of modern deviants are right at the other end of the spectrum.

Looking forward to your book. I will probably buy in paper format tho even then the cover will not be relevant to my purchasing decision.

POI June 27, 2011 10:04 AM

Can’t read all the comments, but seems to me that your book boils down to

“Bad People”

As for covers, nr 4 gets my vote.

Tony L June 27, 2011 10:47 AM

A slightl variation on your options:

“Liars and Outliers: Security and its Role in Modern Society”

I like book cover #1 the best.

Tyler June 27, 2011 11:29 AM

I like the grouping of criminals and revolutionaries as dangerous people, since both groups really are considered dangerous by an incumbent government, but are not considered the same by your average person. This accentuates the fundamental difference in perspective between the people and the governments they create.

Anon June 27, 2011 12:07 PM

Demagogues, Democracy and Other Dangerous Demarcators

Security and its Role in Modern Society

Cover 4.

longtime June 27, 2011 1:54 PM

Pick the cover design that looks best on-air when you are invited to The Colbert Report.

longtime June 27, 2011 2:01 PM

Vis-a-vis the subtitle, shouldn’t you also be dealing with government run amok, ie. the powers of the modern police-state?

How about ‘From Swindlers to the Police-State’?

61north June 27, 2011 2:57 PM

I like Liars and Outliers (no subtitle). It’s generic enough not to carry any bad connotations, but indicates that the book is about people who are different. It also has the neat wordplay.

I admit I read a few of the other comments before posting this, but I like very much the cover concept of a group of similar people with one or two highlighted doing something different.

Antonio Rinaldi June 27, 2011 4:18 PM

Besides my already done proposal for the title (Minority Resort) I have also a proposal for the exergum: Karl Marx, from the Economic Manuscripts:

Apologist Conception of the Productivity of All Professions

A philosopher produces ideas, a poet poems, a clergyman sermons, a professor compendia and so on. A criminal produces crimes. If we look a little closer at the connection between this latter branch of production and society as a whole, we shall rid ourselves of many prejudices. The criminal produces not only crimes but also criminal law, and with this also the professor who gives lectures on criminal law and in addition to this the inevitable compendium in which this same professor throws his lectures onto the general market as “commodities”. This brings with it augmentation of national wealth, quite apart from the personal enjoyment which—as a competent Witness, Herr Professor Roscher, [tells] us—the manuscript of the compendium brings to its originator himself.

The criminal moreover produces the whole of the police and of criminal justice, constables, judges, hangmen, juries, etc.; and all these different lines of business, which form equally many categories of the social division of labour, develop different capacities of the human spirit, create new needs and new ways of satisfying them. Torture alone has given rise to the most ingenious mechanical inventions, and employed many honourable craftsmen in the production of its instruments.

The criminal produces an impression, partly moral and partly tragic, as the case may be, and in this way renders a “service” by arousing the moral and aesthetic feelings of the public. He produces not only compendia on Criminal Law, not only penal codes and along with them legislators in this field, but also art, belles-lettres, novels, and even tragedies, as not only Müllner’s Schuld and Schiller’s Räuber show, but also [Sophocles’] Oedipus and [Shakespeare’s] Richard the Third. The criminal breaks the monotony and everyday security of bourgeois life. In this way he keeps it from stagnation, and gives rise to that uneasy tension and agility without which even the spur of competition would get blunted. Thus he gives a stimulus to the productive forces. While crime takes a part of the superfluous population off the labour market and thus reduces competition among the labourers—up to a certain point preventing wages from falling below the minimum—the struggle against crime absorbs another part of this population. Thus the criminal comes in as one of those natural “counterweights” which bring about a correct balance and open up a whole perspective of “useful” occupations.

The effects of the criminal on the development of productive power can be shown in detail. Would locks ever have reached their present degree of excellence had there been no thieves? Would the making of bank-notes have reached its present perfection had there been no forgers? Would the microscope have found its way into the sphere of ordinary commerce (see Babbage) but for trading frauds? Doesn’t practical chemistry owe just as much to adulteration of commodities and the efforts to show it up as to the honest zeal for production? Crime, through its constantly new methods of attack on property, constantly calls into being new methods of defence, and so is as productive as strikes for the invention of machines. And if one leaves the sphere of private crime: would the world-market ever have come into being but for national crime? Indeed, would even the nations have arisen? And hasn’t the Tree of Sin been at the same time the Tree of Knowledge ever since the time of Adam?

In his Fable of the Bees (1705) Mandeville had already shown that every possible kind of occupation is productive, and had given expression to the line of this whole argument:

“That what we call Evil in this World, Moral as well as Natural, is the grand Principle that makes us Sociable Creatures, the solid Basis, the Life and Support of all Trades and Employments without exception […] there we must look for the true origin of all Arts and Sciences; and […] the moment, Evil ceases, the Society must he spoil’d if not totally dissolved

Only Mandeville was of course infinitely bolder and more honest than the philistine apologists of bourgeois society.

pointless_hack June 27, 2011 5:12 PM

I liked the agnostic attitude implied by these:
Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats
Security and its Role in Modern Society

I understand the classic appeal of a dark cover, but I preferred pics 1 and 4.

4 wins me over for clarity, but 1 is more intriguing if the legend is legible.

pointless_hack June 27, 2011 6:35 PM

After reviewing comments, I spent a little time with the thesaurus, trying to invoke game theory’s “defector.” No joy.

“The Dishonest Minority,” should be allowable. Only idiots view “minority” as a racial synonym.

-1 for “Madoff” in the title.

Is cover #2 a favorite by selective process of your blog audience? It makes me expect a textbook. Maybe textbooks have changed since my school days.

BTW, I don’t hate text books – however, I by them on recommendation, not for cover illustration 🙂

Bryan June 27, 2011 8:28 PM

I like the Criminals and Revolutionaries idea. This applies well to American history and our independence from Britain. But I also like the concept of outliers or religious fanatics. A better term might be a “true believer” as defined by Eric Hoffer. As for a picture the first thing that comes to mind is a golden needle and a haystack the second is a sheet of pictures from a high school or college yearbook.

great_titles_here June 28, 2011 11:48 AM

I like these:

The disobedient minority.
Outliers, Liars, and Other threats.

Alexis June 28, 2011 4:34 PM

For the title:
Your working title is actually pretty good. “The Dishonest Minority” sounds to-the-point and other “calling out” titles are too long. The one-word titles feel too blunt.

For the sub-tile:
Again, my choice would go to what you already have. The other versions of “Security and its Role in Modern Society” just add a needless word, and the other options, are, well ok but not better. If you are open to suggestions, I would go with “How society protects itself from its deviants”, since it seems that your book is more about how society protects itself rather than what it should do in your opinion to do so. The deviant part calls attention back to the dishonest minority.

For the cover:
Not too fond of any of these. #1 looks too much like some generic thriller, #2 is a bit bland, #3 has a horrible font, and #4 and #5 are ok but not eye catching…

zdenko June 28, 2011 6:41 PM

cover 2, most definitely. it is graphically clear, serious enough and visually appealing.

example June 29, 2011 4:40 AM

Usually when you talk about “The X minority” you’re talking about a racial/ethnic group. For example “the model minority” ( for Asians

The idea that “only idiots would view it as being racial” or whatever is moronic. If people saw the book title with no context I think more people would think it had something to do with race then not.

I like “Transgressors”

OverQuantum June 29, 2011 6:38 AM

I like “Dishonest Minority” and “Deviant Minority”, but not all other variants of main title. No preferences on subtitle or cover.

P.S. English in not native for me, so I may miss sub-meanings, especially jargon ones.

Brad June 29, 2011 2:36 PM

A thought:

“Locks keep honest people out” or “Locks are for honest people” plays to your theme of the differently moral people would move past a simple lock but social convention would cause most people to stop once they notice something had a security mechanism.

Bill June 29, 2011 3:32 PM

I like the style of picture #1, but one of them could be wearing differently colored shoes.

Ben Ryan June 30, 2011 9:08 AM

A few have nodded toward this idea already but, what about “The Immoral Minority?”

A little alliterative, the word “immoral” conjures up culture-war controversies over what is and is not truly wrong and what is just unorthodox, and plus “immoral” hints at titillating topics. You’re not quite using sex to sell the book here, but you’re not not using it, either… Just brainstorming.

Autolykos June 30, 2011 9:29 AM

Best Title:
Either “The Dishonest Minority” or “Saints, Sociopaths and Other Dangerous People” (I’d definitely flip the sequence). I also like the “Madoff, Gandhi …” idea, but wouldn’t use a small-time crook like Madoff (Hitler is a little too drastic – and overdone; Charles Manson or Stalin might be good picks).
Best Subtitle:
“Security and its Role in Society” (without any qualifications), or barring that, “Security and its Role in Protecting Society”
Best Cover:
I prefer 4, 1 and 2 are also ok. 5 is kinda meh (and too dark), and I really don’t like the font in 3.

Who was that masked graphic designer June 30, 2011 2:45 PM

I had a doodle and came up with this:

Sexy, sciencey, and–okay–I’ll stick with the C++.

But that experimentation has lead me to three conclusions:

(1) Rephrase your subtitle as “The role of security in modern society”: it’s just so much easier to read without the conjunction (and your designer will be able to emphasise the word “security”, if that’s important).

(2) Like many other commenters, I hate being tarred by the word “dishonest”. But stick with it; if you go with “dissenting”, it will have to be phyically smaller. It’s also such an unusual word that (again) it’s hard to read. (I didn’t try “immoral”; but a double “m” can often end up looking like the Loch Ness monster.)

(3) I agree with Tim Schmelter (above) about the racial overtones of “minority”.

If I’m forced to choose, I’d go with #4: it’s got good typography and avoids looking like a crime novel.

Good luck.

Jonathan Abbey June 30, 2011 5:01 PM

As far as a primary title goes, how about something like ‘Undermining Trust’, ‘Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Violators of Trust’, perhaps ‘Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Surprises’?

I like ‘disobedient’ better than ‘dishonest’, due to pejorative character that dishonest must have.

Jonathan Abbey June 30, 2011 5:20 PM

Having now read the comment thread, I have to say “The Dishonest Minority” is the title that has stuck with me the most and seems the most striking, but that may be because of your prominent use of it with the book covers.


Perhaps, “Dissent and Betrayal”?

Jonathan Abbey June 30, 2011 5:45 PM

“The Violators”
“The Trust Violators”
“The Appearance of Honesty”
“A Minority of One”
“The Minority of One”
“The Trusting Apes”
“A Minority of Apes”
“Defending Consensus”
“Disagree to Agree”
“Imperfect Trust”
“Leaks, Lies, Larceny”
“Paradise Lost”
“The Alien Minority”
“The Unpredictable Minority”
“The Rogue Elements”
“The Abstaining Minority”
“The Insubordinate Minority”
“The Theft of Trust”
“The Betrayal of Trust”
“The Discordant Minority”

Jonathan Abbey June 30, 2011 5:47 PM

Generally, the only reason to go away from “Dishonest” is if you really do want to encompass Gandhi in your title’s allusion.. or if you want to capture the notion of multiple competing interests in a larger society, none of whom is necessarily ‘dishonest’.

Anyway. 😉

drew woods July 1, 2011 2:39 AM

really like cover #2. cover #4 would do, and cover #5 would be substantially improved by not using that hideous handwriting font for your name.

Transgressors: The Oppositional Minority
maybe move gandhi and madoff to the tagline?

Gandhi, Madoff, and Other Dangerous People

Vles July 2, 2011 8:50 AM

Weber: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

Himanen: The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the Information Age

Schneier: The Maverick Trait and the Spirit of Societal Security.

Ian Eiloart July 4, 2011 6:49 AM

Madoff isn’t a good person to use in the title. I don’t think he has the international notoriety of Ghandi or Jesus. And, he probably doesn’t have the durability for the title to make sense a decade from now.

There’s another problem here, though. A title that links Jesus with anyone sufficiently notorious is going to offend a lot of people. The same with Gandhi. Of course, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, so maybe you should go with Hitler and Jesus.

“Sociopaths” is just technically wrong. Most sociopaths aren’t transgressors, they’re just more likely to transgress. There are also problems with the reliability of the diagnosis, that simply don’t apply to categories like “murderer” or “sinner” for different reasons.

I guess the word “defector” might be useful here, from game theory.

Patrick West July 4, 2011 6:32 PM

Since you seem wedded to using the word “dishonest” your title. I wonder why?

You wrote “The idea behind the title is that “honesty” is defined by social convention, then those that don’t follow the social conventions are by definition dishonest. ”

I don’t agree, I doubt the vast majority of English speakers would agree. I doubt that you would be willing to use your definition in everyday life.

I think you picked it BECAUSE you wanted to offend people, thinking that will get more people to pick up and read the book.

SO a purely commercial motive, not a philosophical point.

At this point I suggest you do use the huge typeface for the author’s name.

I think those of us who know who you are will at least open the book because of your name.

Those without a clue may be sucked in by the title. Thus a wider audience and more sales.

Haa, the used car salesman lives. : )

Ethan Stone July 5, 2011 1:16 AM

I like “Sinners, Saints, and Other Dangerous People” for the main title. I don’t have strong feelings about the subtitles, except that I’d avoid the one with the word “deviants.”

Andy July 5, 2011 1:26 AM

@Bruce, side note.. for your book you could use a sentence parsare and work out the different and number of groups based on the replies.
Might help to see how many groups are under the secuirty/computer group if it helps in the book

rick July 5, 2011 5:41 PM

#1 looks too much like “Fooled by Randomness” — the green cover with the cat, but otherwise is not terrible

#3, #5 Lettering that’s all wavy, quasi-cursive is annoying. I know it was made by a computer, quit pretending it was written by a person.

#4 “Now a major motion picture!”

#2 is the best, though that graphic is setting high expectations. if it’s a good book it will work.

Ross July 6, 2011 5:33 PM

Of the first set of titles, I think “The Dishonest Minority” is the only one that works. From the A, B, C set, “Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Dangerous People” seems the strongest — the rest either lean too religious or don’t roll off the tongue. If I had to choose between those two titles, I’d likely go with the latter, but it’s a close call.

For cover art, but #2 looks really boring to me. Any of the others I’d probably pick up.

Andrew F July 7, 2011 12:26 AM

Madoff, Gandhi, and Other Dangerous People
Security and its Role in Modern Society

Cover #2

I like the lighter color scheme with #4 but it does give me a headache.

DCVII July 7, 2011 11:38 AM

Two Ideas.

  1. Make the tittle a verb, like ‘Transgression’. What you’ll be doing is describing actions, not people. If you keep up the dualisms, you will force people to make binary decisions. Anybody can think who is a saint or a sinner, but what you want people to focus on is the action, not the character.

  2. Try a neologism or a phrase that nobody has used like ‘Transversion’ or some such. So long as you’re trying to get people to think in a new way, it may not be possible to convey that in an old way. Keep in mind that reviewers will be writing about the book, long after it is put down. Your challenge is to keep the key idea alive. This is a daring option.

Atheros July 10, 2011 7:55 AM

  1. I like the idea of alliteration – I think ‘Sociopaths, Saints, and Other Transgressors’ is the best option.

  2. Cover E2

Andy July 12, 2011 6:08 PM

@Bruce, would be intersting to see how far back the police(group) goes back in history.
I don’t think there was any time were there wasn’t police in some form, to keep a minority in power.
If someone has a cusy life with big house swimming pools and such, it would easly lead to hireing someone to defend what the have got for themselves, which then leads to control… and as such it would allmost be impossiable for there not to be a group of people who will allways have control over the mijority, weather throught vilonece/laws/etc.
Could exlpain why disdains etc think of new ideas, as they are less likly to want to be controled and think of things not tied to the current line of control(minoritys ideas).

Sorry everone for my negtive thought…,but if someone has a swimming pool, they wouldn’t give a toss if 1/10 million people died has long as they have a swimming pool… ie the world is stuff(100mil to stop a astreiod hitting earth or a swimming pool) they have allready made the choice.

Go figure

Peter July 15, 2011 6:20 AM

1: When you talk about a group of people that want to protect themselves from individuals within that group, I assume that the group wants to preserve itself, hence the word “subversive” is quite descriptive.

2: Sorry, but I don’t like any of the cover options. They do not connect me to the contents.
Wouldn’t it be possible to somehow illustrate the minority within a group?
For example one member of a group turning/going the other way than the rest or something like that?
Cars, penguins, fish, or some other very illustrative objects? The duck photo is OK funny, but the duck and the human are not equal members of the group to be protected?

I look forward to read the paper version of the book 🙂

Warren July 15, 2011 6:52 AM

I like “Liars, Outliers, and Other Threats” for the main title, and “Security and its Role in Modern Society” for the subtitle, though “Securing Society from its Deviants” has a nice ring to it, as well 🙂

Steve July 16, 2011 10:37 AM

To restate from your introduction: “…specifically, how a group of people protects itself from individuals within that group.” is the theme of your new book. Will you consider how groups of people protect themselves from groups of other people? My other point would be to wish for many historical examples to be cited balanced with a description of techniques. In short, a social science perspective and less of an emphasis on theory. I feel your thoughts on trends and what possible social organizations might result would be very interesting.

Mason Deaver July 16, 2011 4:38 PM

Cover #2 is my pick: It’s minimalist, less cluttered, and the darker background color seems to jive with the word Dishonest. Maybe the letters in the book’s title “The Dishonest Minority” could be a bit thicker and/or brighter to help catch the eye.

SecretSquirrel July 18, 2011 1:26 PM

Saints and Sinners reminds me of parochial school, something few people want to be reminded of.

Bill July 19, 2011 11:25 AM

How about “The Dishonest Minority: How Fear and Loathing became normal” and get Ralph Steadman to do the cover.

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