A thorough and astute manual on cybersecurity written with great clarity and authority.

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CYBERSECURITY IS EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS

SOLVE THE SECURITY PUZZLE FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS AND HOME

A guide explores the dangers of the digital world and the strategies to counter them. 

Scott N. Schober (Hacked Again, 2016) begins his panoramically thorough tour of cybersecurity by painting a grim picture of a perilous technological time: “Nearly one million new malware threats are released every single day.” And there’s no “foolproof way” to inoculate oneself against the farrago of threats. The best readers can do is to formulate a multipronged strategy, “increasing the number of layers or security challenges.” Focusing on the personal user and small business owner, the author provides a comprehensive—and sometimes meandering—examination of virtually every patch of the computing landscape. He covers the quotidian—the limitations of passwords and the advantages of two-factor authentication, for example—and the more obscure, like the dangers posed by the trail of metadata internet users leave behind. The book also expertly mines the biggest security breaches in recent years for lessons, including assessments of the Yahoo, Ashley Madison, and Uber troubles. In the work’s concluding section, the author looks to the future and considers the promise and dangers of cryptocurrency, driverless cars, and even the susceptibility of older modes of transportation—planes, trains, and automobiles—to predatory hackers. His chief message is that, since the insufficient vigilance of any one digital user potentially exposes others to risk, the task of cybersecurity is a community effort: “Criminals piece together fragments of our hacked private information in order to form a full puzzle of our digital identities, but each piece of the cybersecurity puzzle we collect by learning how to protect ourselves can also effectively protect others.” The author’s command of the subject, including technical as well as historical knowledge, is magisterial. And besides his helpful, actionable advice regarding the protection of one’s digital life, the writer—who penned this book with his younger brother, debut author Craig W. Schober—furnishes an accessible explanation of the always changing technological world, including its primary players, such as Google and Facebook. But the volume sometimes digresses too far afield—readers in search of practical counsel can do without profiles of infamous hackers. 

A thorough and astute manual on cybersecurity written with great clarity and authority. 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9969022-5-0

Page Count: 338

Publisher: Scottschober.com Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Not only the definitive life, but a tour de force by a master.

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EDISON

One of history’s most prolific inventors receives his due from one of the world’s greatest biographers.

Pulitzer and National Book Award winner Morris (This Living Hand and Other Essays, 2012, etc.), who died this year, agrees that Thomas Edison (1847-1931) almost certainly said, “genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration,” and few readers of this outstanding biography will doubt that he was the quintessential workaholic. Raised in a middle-class Michigan family, Edison displayed an obsessive entrepreneurial spirit from childhood. As an adolescent, he ran a thriving business selling food and newspapers on a local railroad. Learning Morse code, he spent the Civil War as a telegrapher, impressing colleagues with his speed and superiors with his ability to improve the equipment. In 1870, he opened his own shop to produce inventions to order. By 1876, he had money to build a large laboratory in New Jersey, possibly the world’s first industrial research facility. Never a loner, Edison hired talented people to assist him. The dazzling results included the first commercially successful light bulb for which, Morris reminds readers, he invented the entire system: dynamo, wires, transformers, connections, and switches. Critics proclaim that Edison’s innovations (motion pictures, fluoroscope, rechargeable batteries, mimeograph, etc.) were merely improvements on others’ work, but this is mostly a matter of sour grapes. Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone was a clunky, short-range device until it added Edison’s carbon microphone. And his phonograph flabbergasted everyone. Humans had been making images long before Daguerre, but no one had ever reproduced sound. Morris rivetingly describes the personalities, business details, and practical uses of Edison’s inventions as well as the massive technical details of years of research and trial and error for both his triumphs and his failures. For no obvious reason, the author writes in reverse chronological order, beginning in 1920, with each of the seven following chapters backtracking a decade. It may not satisfy all readers, but it works.

Not only the definitive life, but a tour de force by a master.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9311-0

Page Count: 800

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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