Liars and outliers

Bruce Schneier

Why I looked at this book

The working of our economy relies a great deal on trust - constantly having to check up on who we are dealing with would impose huge transaction costs. But we also feel that we live in a world where people are trying to profit at our expense, and we need to be vigilant to make sure that we get our money's worth. Clearly there are differences in going from entrepreneurship to wheeler-dealing and on to outright trickery, but sometimes it's hard to tell where the boundaries are. I hope that this book will discuss such issues, and point to how we can go about our lives without having to think that everyone is trying to trick us.

First impressions

The book starts with a look at the concept of trust. A trust of others is necessary for most of the things we want to do, but it's complicated. Those closest to us we trust out of confidence in them. For others it is more that we expect that society will penalise them if they abuse our trust and we know that gives them a good reason not to. But, then again, sometimes it is good for people to break with societal norms, in order to move society forward. The book looks to have an academic slant, spending quite a while defining terms at the start, but I'm hoping that it will be to be readable by the non-specialist.
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