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"Trust" has little to do with computers or computing. It doesn't really have a lot to do with business, either. Oh, it does talk about the Internet quite a bit, and certainly the implicit trust relationships of business come into play, but really it falls outside of the subjects we usually talk about here.

This is a short book. I read it before breakfast, still in bed. It's not going to tie you up for days, although you may want to go back and read it again (I did). I think it's a very powerful book, interesting, thought provoking and very much worth reading and passing on to other thinking people.

One Amazon reviewer complained that it is too scholarly. I don't agree at all: I don't think anything here is beyond the reach of an average well-read person. You don't need a degree in Humanities or Philosophy to read this - it may be peppered with references to scholarly books and ideas, but it's perfectly readable by any intelligent person.

The author builds the case that trustful societies are healthy societies and suggests that we, as individuals and in governments, should be consciously working to promote and enhance trust among ourselves. The base idea isn't new ("Do unto others" isn't necessarily altruistic), but its application as political philosophy has never had great support. I read Kohn as suggesting that it should, not for reasons of religious ideals, but for practical improvement of the fabric of society.

I agree with that. Trust is the glue that holds societies together. Lack of trust does create unhappiness and worse (far worse). Fostering trust at every level, from our individual relationships to our political structures, can help improve all of our lives.

Grab yourself a copy of this. Read it, think about it, talk about it. I think it is that important.

Tony Lawrence 2008-10-02 Rating: 4.5

  • Trust
  • Marek Kohn
  • Oxford Universty Press
  • 9780199217915

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