I value Bruce Schneier as security expert. I love his blog. I like that he’s not fast to make opinion and analyzes everything thoroughly. I’ve enjoyed his book Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World. And as he advertised his last book, Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive, a lot, I’ve decided to give it a try. It was easier decision to me as it’s available on Safari Books Online.
Unfortunately I must say that I didn’t like it. It’s basically sociology 101. Author goes through all types of pressures which are directing modern societies. It was dull like an academic book. Maybe it’s because I’ve had sociology lectures at university, so there was not much new to me. But still it could be explained in better way, especially that Mr. Schneier really knows how to write interestingly. If I would want academic lecture about sociology I would buy academic book. Sure it’s good to know how all these things cooperate to make our world more secure, but he could focus just on that. Less of description of each pressure, more about interactions and real life examples. I was really bored while reading it and it took some self-pressure to get to the end. I don’t want to say that book is bad, it’s average. It makes some point and highlights few interesting things, but it could be written a lot better. I was especially mad about domination of tables which in majority of cases were put there only to fill the space, as you would’ve to be really dumb to not get the idea just from reading the description.
If you’ve not read anything about sociology before and are interested in the subject then go for it. It would probably be worth to read. But if you’re looking for some good read about security and sociology is not stranger to you then you should probably skip it. Especially if you like other Schneier’s texts, like I do, you’ll value him more then. Everyone makes bad choices from time to time, even masters like the author, we’re just humans. But I hope that it was last time as I expect from him nothing else than perfection.