Liars & Outliers Update

Liars & Outliers has been available for about two months, and is selling well both in hardcover and e-book formats. More importantly, I’m very pleased with the book’s reception. The reviews I’ve gotten have been great, and I read a lot of tweets from people who have enjoyed the book. My goal was to give people new ways to think about trust and society—and by extension security and society—and it looks like I’ve succeeded.

Some samplings:

  • InfoWorld: “The fact that Liars and Outliers prompted me to go back and update my own thinking is truly the measure of Schneier’s latest book.”
  • “I used to think that Bruce Schneier was out of touch with industry CISOs, but now I think that they are out of touch with him.”
  • Slashdot: “the reader will find that Schneier is one of the most original thinkers around.”
  • CSO: “If you get a chance to read Schneier’s book (beg, borrow or steal a copy—although I’m not sure what that says about trust if you steal it), you should do so…trust me!”

I’m really proud of the book. I think it’s the best thing I’ve written. If you haven’t read the book yet, please give it a look. It’s the synthesis of a lot of my security thinking to date. I really believe you will enjoy it, and that you’ll think differently after you read it.

So far, though, my readership has mostly been within the security community: people who already know my writing. What I need help with is getting the word out to people outside the circles of computer security or this blog. Anyone who has read the book, I would really appreciate a review somewhere. On your blog if you have one, on Amazon, anywhere. If you know of a venue that reviews, or otherwise discusses books and authors, I would appreciate an introduction.

Thank you.

Posted on April 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM19 Comments


Leonardo Herrera April 20, 2012 2:47 PM

Interestingly, I was about to comment how great this book is to help understand economic behaviour than most books about economy. I think every economist and sociologist should read it.

Are there translations available, or in the works?

Evan April 20, 2012 2:49 PM

I read it last month. I agree, it’s the best and most insightful book youve ever written. How do we get political leaders to read it?

anotheranon April 20, 2012 3:06 PM

You and the book really need to get on The Daily Show. Let’s organize a write in campaign with this suggestion… anyone have an email address for Jon Stewart?

kingsnake April 20, 2012 3:12 PM

I am reading it immediately after reading “Beautiful Souls” by Eyal Press: “Beautiful Souls explores the flipside of the banality of evil, mapping out what impels ordinary people to defy the sway of authority and convention.” It’s complementary to Bruce’s book, in that it is about people who are outliers for good, or put another way that often times going along with the group is wrong. Or, as I like to say: “Laws and morality are two not necessarily coincident concepts.”

Jim Minatel April 20, 2012 3:15 PM

Leonardo: I’m with Wiley and I can answer your translation question: there are Korean and Portuguese translations licensed but not yet published with our partners and many, many more languages being evaluated.

Duncan Wilcock April 20, 2012 4:59 PM

Glad to read that you are very proud of your book Bruce.

You should be – it’s an excellent book, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I only recently finished it, but will be passing it around to people I know. I bought the ebook, but think I will buy a paper copy for just that reason.

I’ll do a review on my blog sometime soon and will tweet it to you when I do.

Paul April 20, 2012 5:07 PM

Presh Talwalkar has a blog on game theory and finance called “Mind Your Decisions”. He has reviewed books before and he might want to read and review yours. I suspect he has a noticeably smaller readership than you do, but there may not be much overlap which is what you are looking for.

Paul April 20, 2012 5:08 PM

By the way, I am about a third of the way through your book right now, and I am very much enjoying it. Thanks, Bruce.

Simon S. April 20, 2012 10:20 PM

I saw the book prominently displayed on the new nonfiction table at the University of Washington bookstore in Seattle over a month ago. A good place for other people to see it besides me.

Jurgen April 23, 2012 2:11 AM

As for suggested other readership: Market to accountants of all flavors and such [disclaimer: I am one]. They will read your work as if it’s propaganda for their (…) totalitarian bureaucracy and make a fool of themselves pursuing the ultimate micromanagement everywhere.

Because they don’t get the message that defectors will prevail… by that time, sales will have helped you to retire to a tropical island which due to global warming may be Isle of Wight or Martha’s Vineyard.

Mike B April 23, 2012 7:07 AM

Am 2/3 through the book so far and if I had one criticism it would be that for good or for ill it assumed a pretty basic lever of knowledge on the part of the reader. I know that to make the book accessible you need to explain basic concepts like game theory and such and then follow up to make sure you aren’t losing the reader later on, but as a regular reader of yours and similar work it’s a lot I’ve seen before.

I think the reason I am noticing it with your book, instead of let’s say Freakonomics or Kevin Mitnick’s new book, is that your book (at least the first two parts) are highly general so there’s no underlying source of new information even as it tries to make sure the ordinary person is caught up with the technical concepts.

Anyway, its not your fault and if I wasn’t a security person I’d definitely find all of the basic stuff very useful.

Daniel April 23, 2012 8:33 AM

I’m using your book in modeling the cultural dynamics around religious nonconformists. We’ll see how the sociology/religion people take it.

Stephen April 24, 2012 10:45 AM

Leonardo Herrera:

Interestingly, I was about to comment how great this book is to help understand economic behaviour than most books about economy.

This is why I think Bruce is the smartest dude on the planet — his knowledge and writing transcends his actual topic.

Reading “Beyond Fear” did ten times more for my personal psychological issues than years of expensive therapy managed to. Bruce is great at making you think, and think differently.

Working my way through “Liars and Outliers” now.

Ian Eiloart May 16, 2012 6:46 AM

I’m currently reading the book, and think it presents a really useful model for thinking about security.

I’m reading the Amazon ebook, though, and find the navigation intensely irritating. So irritating, in fact, that I think I might buy the iBooks version just to finish!

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.