Games are everywhere: Drivers maneuvering in heavy traffic are playing a driving game. Bargain hunters bidding on eBay are playing an auctioning game. The supermarket's price for corn flakes is decided by playing an economic game. This Very Short Introduction offers a succinct tour of the fascinating world of game theory, a groundbreaking field that analyzes how to play games in a rational way. Ken Binmore, a renowned game theorist, explains the theory in a way that is both entertaining and non-mathematical yet also deeply insightful, revealing how game theory can shed light on everything from social gatherings, to ethical decision-making, to successful card-playing strategies, to calculating the sex ratio among bees.
With mini biographies of many fascinating, and occasionally eccentric, founders of the subject - including John Nash, subject of the movie A Beautiful Mind - this audiobook offers a concise overview of a cutting-edge field that has seen spectacular successes in evolutionary biology and economics, and is beginning to revolutionize other disciplines from psychology to political science.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2007 Ken Binmore (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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"No PDF File of Figures Provided"
The author's presentation of game theory is understandable and would be easy to digest except for the lack of a PDF with the figures that are constantly referred to. This is an oversight on par with the lack of valet parking at the emergency room entrance.
"Not good for audio book format"
One of the primary locations I listen to audio books is during transit. If you do the same then this book is not for you, as you sometimes need to be able to reference the diagrams as they are not clearly discussed in the audio book.
The text was dry, which is fine. But the narration made me put it down after an hour, it was so awkward to listen to that I just couldn't stand it.
It's not his fault.
"..it only works when people play games rationally!"
"...game theory isn't able to solve all the word's problems, because it only works when people play games rationally."
--Ken Bilmore, Game Theory, A Very Short Introduction
Ken Binmore's Very Short Introduction (VSI #173) to Game Theory is my second selection of Oxford's huge, gigantic VSI series (quickly approaching 500 books). It was probably closer to 3.5 stars, but mainly because of the structural problems with surveying Game Theory in less than 200 pages. At less than 200 pages Binmore is able to break down Game Theory into chapters on chance, time, conventions, reciprocity, information, auctions, evolutionary biology, bargaining and coalitions, puzzles and paradoxes.
For the beginner, the problem with this book will be how quickly the book expects the reader to pick up on some of the accepted standards of game theory thinking and explanations (boxes, game trees, subgames, etc). For the non-beginner, the book sometimes skims over areas that the reader (or perhaps, just this reader) might want to wade deeper (more maths) into. This is the inherent tension in all the VSI. It is the dance, the game of the series. You have to be able to present your information in a package designed to be broad in scope, but small in application. Binmore does a good job, however. I was very satisfied with the progression of the book, and loved getting a bit more info on such game theory notables as Nash, Von Neumann, etc.
I was also excited by the whole chapter devoted to game theory and evolutionary biology. It took me back to reading Robert Wright's Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny and The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology, and The Evolution of God. This book also was good in giving me a couple more GT books to read in the future on cooperation.
"Useless for meaningful learning of Game Theory"
This book is a poor introduction to the Game Theory. One could learn better by Wikipedia. The book is basically the narration of the various headlines covered by this theory and throws in an example that is insufficient. Every point should have been made clear by various easy examples. One drawback is that the accompanying drawings and charts cannot be consulted while driving and make an essential part of the book. Recommend one buys a physical book and read it if serious about this topic. If you want a cursory feel good type of information this audio may be OK.
"Not a good pick for audio"
There is plenty of interest here for math lovers. I'm a pure amateur in this field and it's a pretty good and well-written introduction.
In audio format it suffers from the text's reliance on the figures. This makes listening in the car or while doing other tasks less rewarding. Also I found the reading tedious and occasionally unwittingly comic. The reader mispronounced "Herodotus" and "learned," for instance.
"Worst narrator ever"
A different narrator
Content seems fine, but narrator is so awful that I couldn't listen more than 1 hour of it.
The book itself seems fine.
Unfortunately it is no long eligible for return.
He might have read too fast and made it difficult to follow each game situation considering this is meant to be a introduction.
This book is not a introduction. There is very limited defining of terms and the explanations of game situations are all over the place which makes it difficult to comprehend and follow the book.
"Not an introduction"
This book is complicated and uses to much field related jargon. It's good for those familer with the concepts but painfully complicated for those who aren't
"No figures in audible version"
The book relies heavily on figures. Without the figures the concepts are not clear. I recommend you buy the text version so you can read it in its entirety.
"Good contents, not great as audiobook"
Definitely wasn't time wasted, however a lot of the ideas are explained with figures which is completely lost in the audio format.
Yes, the book covers interesting topics and concepts however it loses something with the lack of figures.
Perhaps the pics could be added to the download as images and displayed on screen when they are referenced in the book.
"don't hold your breath"
really interesting but a bit of a chore waiting to get through to the lovely nuggets.
"Interesting book with a fascinating subject."
Good book with steady narration. The content can make it hard to follow sometimes without strong concentration. So perhaps not the best choice for driving or the gym, unless you don't mind jump backs. good introduction to the subject though.
"Would have been helpful to include more scenarios which illustrate the theory"
Much of the content went over my head and I still feel in need of an introduction to the theory in order to understand it.
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