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Game Theory Evolving Paperback – May 22, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0691009438 ISBN-10: 0691009430

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (May 22, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691009430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691009438
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #927,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Gintis has wholeheartedly embraced the evolutionary approach to games. . .The author is an accomplished economist raised in the classical mold, and his background shown in many aspects of the book . . . He himself has important things to say . . . ."--Karl Sigmund, Science

From the Back Cover

"Mathematically rigorous, computationally adroit, rich in illuminating problems, and engagingly written, Game Theory Evolving will be invaluable to students and researchers across the social sciences."--Joshua M. Epstein, The Brookings Institution and Santa Fe Institute

"Herb Gintis weaves classical game theory together with recent work in experimental economics, biology, evolutionary game theory, and behavioral economics. His book has something new, possibly something to argue with, but always something intriguing, for everyone."--Larry Samuelson, University of Wisconsin

"For anyone interested in game theory as a conceptual framework for investigating and thinking about strategic behavior in the social world, broadly interpreted, this book is a must reference work. Herb Gintis is to be congratulated for integrating a large literature on theory, evolution, experimental and field observations into an accessible treatise."--Vernon Smith, University of Arizona

"There is a great need for a problem book in game theory, and Gintis is correct to emphasize that learning game theory requires the solving of problems."--Michael Suk-Young Chwe, New York University

"Simply to have all this material in one place is refreshing and a big step forward. Gintis is careful on technical detail and clearly loves these models."--Colin Camerer, California Institute of Technology

"Game Theory Evolving is the most up-to-date textbook in game theory on the market. Gintis covers an extraordinary range of topics, including some of the most recent developments in theory, with both stylistic verve and mathematical rigor. More importantly, he shows how the theory illuminates a great variety of real-world situations that both students and professors can relate to."---H. Peyton Young, The Johns Hopkins University and The Brookings Institution

Customer Reviews

And the best part is that is fun to read!
Manuel A Ferreira
The abundance of solved exercises help illustrate concepts that, if only explained conceptually, are likely to leave the reader confused.
Henry A. Kim
It falls somewhat short on explanations, and I wouldn't suggest it for someone trying to learn game theory on their own.
C. Swofford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Todd I. Stark VINE VOICE on February 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Herb Gintis is an economist with a strong interest in the assumptions we make about human rationality in our social, political, and economic theories. He has produced a remarkable and deceptively innovative text that could productively be used in a broad range of fields.
The topic of game theory is interesting to many people because it describes interaction between competitors, presumably helping us pick the best strategy if the circumstances are well enough understood. We might wonder whether the circumstances are well enough understood in daily life to apply the methods of game theory to our own choices, since it usually to assume that we are rational competitors trying to maximize our own gain.
Game Theory Evolving addresses this fascinating question not from a theoretical perspective so much as giving the reader the tools for investigating it themselves in two distinct but complementary ways.
First, it provides practical problem-oriented chapters for learning the principles and thinking in terms of game theoretic methods. The problems are not the usual textbook "who cares, anyway ?" type. Rather they are fun and interesting to solve and often lead to direct insights into real situations.
Second, it extends game theory into the realm of evolutionary thinking, so we not only understand strategic action but we get some deeper insight into how our historical needs shaped our behavior and even our thought processes. Game theory may help explain how we learned to cooperate and why under some conditions we tend to punish cheaters and treat people fairly even though it provides no apparent advantage to us.
Disguised as a lowly academic textbook, Game Theory Evolving is actually a basic toolkit, a passport into the remarkable modern study of evolutionary thinking about human nature, through a practical grounding in the mathematical techniques that have the potential to join our understanding of social sciences and biology.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Manuel A Ferreira on July 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Game Theory has to be taught with a strong enphasis on the developing the problem solving capabilities of the students, Nevertheless, the books you can find out there are very strong in the math and the theory but weak, incomplete, and poor in the problems. This is the first book I could find where the enphasis is made on the problems and on developing the capacities of the reader/student in the field, not just for theoretical purposes, where problems are more than useful, but also in the empirical aplications of game theory. Theory in this book emerges from the problems since all the chapters are developed as problems in themselves. It has also the probably the first extensive treatment in a textbook of evolutionary game theory. Given that this new field has become one of extensive research in the field lately, this becomes a major contribution to the teaching of game theory. And the best part is that is fun to read!
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Henry A. Kim on May 8, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a terrific introductory textbook for game theory students, especially those lacking microeconomic background. The abundance of solved exercises help illustrate concepts that, if only explained conceptually, are likely to leave the reader confused. I'd recommend this for beginning students. For the students with more background, I'd recommend Osborne and Rubinstein. Only the students comfortable with the math should use Fudenberg/Tirole or Myerson.

I'm puzzled by the some of the criticisms presented here: all the notations are standard for the field and the basic concepts are laid out as clearly as any other text. If anything, the solved examples clarify the concepts much better than usual. At least one of the reviews (the review below) makes so little sense that makes me wonder if he even understood what he was reading: he's throwing about irrelevant jargon from communication theory (which has nothing to do with the basic game theory that the text mostly concerns itself with, especially the simple-minded example he's supposedly critiquing.). I'd pick this as the textbook for my intro class any day.

Having said that, the "evolving" in the title is somewhat misleading. This is a fairly introductory text for generic game theory, not really the evolutionary game theory which is more complicated creature. Gintis touches on some topics and provides some illustrations--more than most "basic" game theory texts, in fact, but not in depth. To learn the real deal, you will need more advanced texts such as Weibull. On the other hand, of course, they are much denser and will make a lot less sense.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Miran Bozicevic on January 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am using this book for independent study of Game Theory.

The pros. The problems in the book are excellent. They range from easy to fairly difficult, and manage to cover most nooks and crannies needed for a thorough introduction to contemporary game theory, with some evolutionary and economics background for good measure. For professors, I think this is a good book to use to prepare a class. It has the examples one needs to set up a "zone of proximal development", meaning, an exposition in which one leads the students bit by bit toward better mastery of the ideas. In fact, the choice of problems, the flow from one vignette to another, and the interweaving of problems with important theoretical concepts and expositions leave the impression that the book is closely based on Prof. Gintis's lecture notes.

The cons. The blessing is also the curse: the book reads like a chalkboard with commentary rather than like a textbook. If you are expecting the familiar cadence of background - theory - examples - problems, you will not find it here. This can be refreshing, but takes getting used to. A more serious drawback is that solutions at the end of the book are very sketchy, so beginners will find it difficult to connect all the dots without outside help. Students expecting a more thorough style are likely to find the book infuriating.

In brief, the quality of material is high, but the treatment could have used a once- or a twice-over. Solid reference, very good for preparing a class, but if you are using it for home study, have someone to call on when you get stuck on a problem. Also, if you are a mathematically competent social scientist, I would recommend another book in parallel, such as Hargreaves-Heap & Varoufakis "Game Theory - A Critical Text".
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