Reading time: 4 – 7 minutes
People sometimes ask me what privacy books I recommend, other than How To Vanish, or what privacy books I read. There is a lot of good information out there, so I thought I would break down the best stuff and give you a short review of the privacy books that I have. These are all books that I have read and whose authors I respect highly and who are very knowledgeable about the topic. There are lots of other books that I have read, some that I have skimmed, and some that I haven’t read yet. They aren’t necessarily bad, sometimes I just haven’t gotten to them yet.
All of the books I review here have a different perspective on the same topic. Those different perspectives can help you have a more thorough understanding of the risks to privacy and how to best protect your own privacy, no matter what your situation. Whether you like the features of a book or not will depend on your perspective. I try and point out the perspective that is best served by each.
How To Vanish has its own perspective too. I am a busy person and I want to make sure I get as much for my dollar as possible. How To Vanish is written to satisfy that kind of person. It is designed to give you the most benefit with the least amount of cost and effort.
Everyone wants a different level of privacy and everyone has a different budget for protecting their privacy. How To Vanish is an a la carte menu for you to pick and choose the best tools and practices to meet your privacy needs and to stay within your budget. It is organized to be a quick reference so you can zero in on exactly what you need without wading through a lot of stuff that isn’t actionable.
Since all of the reviews come from my own perspective, I share some of the things I think are benefits. Short and to the point is a benefit for me. Some of those things might actually be a drawback for another person. Lengthy legal background on a government policy is not as beneficial to me as it would be to another person.
The Sovereign Individual – James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg
The Lifeboat Strategy – Mark Nestmann
How To Be Invisible – J.J. Luna
How To Disappear – Frank Ahearn
The Sovereign Individual
This book is a very broad overview of the shift of power from large organizations in the industrial age to individuals in the information age and how that shift will affect the lives of people and governments.
The Sovereign Individual clearly explains the fundamental nature of technologies, like encryption, that make protecting privacy more efficient than invading privacy. Because the laws of economics are on the side of privacy, privacy will likely prevail in the long run.
It also analyzes the motivations and abilities of governments and other organizations to invade privacy. Understanding the motivations of others helps individuals better manage the risks to their privacy.
The Sovereign Individual does not have a lot of immediately actionable tips. Any specific action to be taken must be squeezed out of the broad principles and general time frames discussed in the book.
The book is written at a college level, so it requires sufficient reading comprehension to understand and appreciate the concepts. An understanding of finance, economics, history and other complex topics can also be very helpful in digesting the ideas presented in the book. For most people, this book will require more than one read.
Since a friend gave me this book some time ago, the ideas presented have explained, or at least illuminated, many of the major newsworthy events around the world and their implications on individuals and individual privacy. It is a powerful tool for understanding how you can make a profit from privacy. It is also very useful for understanding the value of controlling your tax domicile, and how to do it profitably.
I would recommend this book as essential background reading to anyone concerned about their own privacy. There is little actionable material directly in the text, but the concepts and ideas will form a framework for taking beneficial actions now and in the future. In the next part I will briefly review The Lifeboat Strategy, How To Be Invisible, and How To Disappear. Leave your thoughts in the comments about The Sovereign Individual, if you have read it, what you thought was positive, and any criticism.