Another Liars and Outliers Review

I was reviewed in Science:

Thus it helps to have a lucid and informative account such as Bruce Schneier’s Liars and Outliers. The book provides an interesting and entertaining summary of the state of play of research on human social behavior, with a special emphasis on trust and trustworthiness.


Free from preoccupations and personal attachments to any of the scientific disciplines working on the topic, he has compiled a well-structured overview of what research can tell us about how trust and trustworthiness accumulate (although some academic readers may find their publications presented in an unexpected context). This he enlivens by adding real-life experiences on how to build trust and keep trustworthiness alive.

I am amused by the parenthetical comment.

Posted on October 13, 2012 at 7:28 AM8 Comments


Paul Renault October 13, 2012 8:28 AM

I’m always looking for examples of ‘damning with faint praise’ – they’re so hard to find. Liars and Outliers could be a good source.

“Oh, Dr. Schmidt! I read about your interesting research in Schneier’s book…”

Bruce Schneier October 13, 2012 12:10 PM

“I’m always looking for examples of ‘damning with faint praise’…”

Of all the books I’ve read, this is the most recent.

Clive Robinson October 15, 2012 12:15 AM

@ Bruce,

With regards the parenthetical comment, I wonder who the review’s author had in mind…

It also brings to mind a Pythonesque sketch of some bewiskered academic sitting behind a desk piled high with books and papers when a moustacheod colleague bounds through the door with book in hand and shouts “Look Curuthers your work has been discovered…”

wiredog October 15, 2012 6:08 AM

Free from preoccupations and personal attachments to any of the scientific disciplines working on the topic
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Bruce Schneier October 15, 2012 7:20 AM

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

Yes, I considered that a compliment.

wiredog October 15, 2012 8:44 AM

It makes more sense in context with the previous sentence, “The book demonstrates that he has thoroughly surveyed the existing academic literature.”

Starting with the sentence you did implies that he is saying you didn’t know the current state of the scientific art.

JP October 15, 2012 10:42 PM

Halfway through reading the book – actually listening on my commute. The writing is clean and concise while adding more than enough detail to make you think.

It’s more than a “trust me” book. The theory is there and well explained. When you discuss the application of the theory, it just makes sense.


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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.