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



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


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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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.


“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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