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Game Theory 101: The Basics [Kindle Edition]

William Spaniel
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99
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Book Description

New edition for the 2012-2013 school year!

Game Theory 101: The Basics is a no-nonsense, games-centered introduction to strategic form (matrix) games. From the first lesson to the last, each chapter introduces games of increasing complexity and then teaches the game theoretical tools necessary to solve them. Inside, you will find:
  • All the basics fully explained, including pure strategy Nash equilibrium, mixed strategy Nash equilibrium, the mixed strategy algorithm, how to calculate payoffs, strict dominance, weak dominance, iterated elimination of strictly dominated strategies, iterated elimination of weakly dominated strategies, and more!
  • Dozens of games solved, including the prisoner's dilemma, stag hunt, matching pennies, zero sum games, battle of the sexes/Bach or Stravinsky, chicken/snowdrift, pure coordination, deadlock, and safety in numbers!
  • Crystal clear, line-by-line calculations of every step, with more than 200 images so you don't miss a thing!
  • Tons of applications: war, trade, game shows, and duopolistic competition.
Quick, efficient, and to the point, Game Theory 101: The Basics is perfect for introductory game theory, intermediate microeconomics, and political science.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Spaniel is a PhD student in political science at the University of Rochester and creator of the popular YouTube series Game Theory 101.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1905 KB
  • Print Length: 141 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005DGHV0I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,775 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learning Game Theory? Start with this book. March 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very good starter book to get to grips with the basics of game theory. Everything is well explained and I was able to breeze through it and start analysing situations for myself.

It doesn't have all the answers, but what it does is give you a firm grounding on the workings of game theory. Other explanations on the same subjects in other books that I've read don't even compare. This really was brilliantly explained.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'd always wanted a primer for game theory and leapt on this with its low price. I found this book an excellent introduction, easy to understand, no-nonsense, dry in a good way. I want to learn more, and may go on to buy the longer version, but I'm not sure. My concern is that some proofreading really should have been done, not for mere persnicketiness but because errors occur in the worst places if you're trying to follow the logic. In the introduction to mixed strategies, the very first calculation contains a typo (4/5 instead of 1/5, if I recall correctly), which stymied me until I verified, checking the equations, that the author had set it down wrong in the explanation. Similar if less drastic typos occur later, with player 1 named instead of player 2 and a few more with confusing consequences. The author ought to consider rechecking the numbers in the later sections of the book.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not suitable for Kindle April 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Tried to read this on the Kindle, as I am a great Kindle fan, but found the with the diagrams and having to go back and forth to them it was not really that easy. Might get the hard copy one day, as the book actually looked quite good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent February 10, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A short treatise which brings out some simple but deep concepts. Good for a read at least once if not again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting! September 27, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a Math student I found interesting this book, because it is an elective course I might take very soon, so I started to read it. Though Game Theory is a complex subject, this book takes you by the hand and and guides you through this fascinating path of the Mathematics, although it be just the basis.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid introduction August 7, 2013
By Andrew
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book provides a solid introduction to game theory, outlining basic games and the tools required to solve them. Spaniel's explanations are clear and concise. He avoids over explaining any concept which makes for a rather quick read. He also makes a point of clarifying Game Theory's fallibility as a tool for exploring human behavior and cautions readers to be ever vigilant for those shortcomings. Any person new to game theory will leave this book with a clear understanding of what to expect from further study in the field.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Game Theory 101 May 28, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An easy-to-follow explanation of the basic arguments and logics behind game theory. A must for any novice. Be aware, however, that it is not necessarily easy bedtime reading and you must put on your thinking cap to extract the most value out of the book.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I knew a little bit about Game Theory, and found it very interesting so I wanted to learn more. The author starts with the basics and then goes on to explain how Game Theory applies, and then delves into some of the more complicated rules. If you're not familiar with this Theory, the core scenario is the "prisoner's dilemma," where two people who robbed a store together are both in the police station, being separately interviewed. The question is: Do you confess first? Do you hold out on the hope that your co-thief won't confess, knowing that if he confesses first, they'll throw the book at you? Basically, the Theory is about strategizing how to act, based on calculations of how another person might act.

This book was terrific. The writing was clear and very easy to understand, which I appreciated because I was not familiar with all of the terminology. The author uses charts to help visualize things, and he also used real life examples of situations and world events that illustrated the principles. Seeing the actual application of the principles in a variety of contexts was great.

This book doesn't take too long to read -- it's not incredibly long, and the writing is very accessible. Still, I'm sure that I will come back to this book in the future as a kind of reference.

OVERALL: I definitely recommend this book to someone who wants to learn more about game theory, which is a really cool way of analyzing decisions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
bought as a curoisty but a good primer
Published 4 months ago by Nigel Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
basic knowledge for everyone.
Published 7 months ago by n1313
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite book on the subject
This book found a nice medium between, say, a Thomas Schelling qualitative book with no math at all, and John von Neuman, who's got a proof on every page.
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars good intro
This book covers the intro as it suggests. There is a lot of repetition in the examples, but I think that is helpful for newcomers to Game Theory.
Published on May 2, 2013 by HS
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
I found myself wishing for something a bit kinder to my brain. Even though it was fairly basic, there seemed to be a lot packed into a small space. Read more
Published on March 12, 2013 by Ron Porter
1.0 out of 5 stars No intro material
The book is very poorly structured. It has almost no actual description of what Game Theory is, it just jumps into formulas and situations. Read more
Published on February 27, 2013 by Liam Craig
3.0 out of 5 stars 7/10. Worth a read if you are interested in the topic
Provides a good introduction to the topic. Having known almost nothing before reading this book, I feel that I understood the basic concepts. Read more
Published on February 10, 2013 by Fatima
4.0 out of 5 stars very useful
I liked the style, very clear and neat though exhaustive. Definitely a good reading. I find myself applying some of the notions to everyday life.
Published on February 9, 2013 by Irio Lavagno
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple e ilustrativo.
Es un libro que explica en forma simple lo básico en la teoría de juegos. Para personas no conocedoras del tema está bastante aceptable.
Published on January 2, 2013 by Jose Duran
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More About the Author

William Spaniel is a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Rochester, creator of the popular YouTube series Game Theory 101, and founder of You can email him at or follow him on Twitter @gametheory101.

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