Date of publication: July 10, 1997
Publisher: Dover Publications
ISBN Number: 0486296725
Book score: 84 (Very Good)
Reread ability: 2
Film/Animated adaptations: No
Fan Fiction/Art: No
Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics which studies how factors such as probability and personality affect our decision making in certain situations. This book gives a brief overview of the field and describes its applications without getting too technical for the average reader to understand.
Each chapter in the book is devoted to defining and discussing a certain type of game, such as two-player competitive games, two-player cooperative games, or n-person games. Each chapter starts with a few sample problems which test the reader's initial savvy on the subject. For example:
"A company's cash is contained in two safes, which are kept some distance apart. There is $90,000 in one safe and $10,000 in the other. A burglar plans to break into one safe and have an accomplice set off the alarm in the other one. The watchman has time to check only one safe; if he guards the wrong one, the company loses the contents of the other safe, and if he guards the right one, the burglar leaves empty handed. From which safe is a sophisticated burglar more likely to steal? With what probability? What should the watchman do, and how much on average, will be stolen?" (pg. 24)
As the chapter discusses the mathematics and logic behind these specific types of games, the solutions and probabilities become clearer. Different formulas and equations will make clearer what the best course action is for either side. The book will give a history of these formulas and methods and the game theorists who developed them (such as John Nash). The book will also extrapolate these examples into real life situations in business, gambling, warfare, and diplomacy.
This book really changed the way I thought about making decisions. It introduced a mathematic angle to risk, decisions, and diplomacy I hadn't thought of before.
Interesting, informative, and well organized.
May get confusing.