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Games and Decisions: Introduction and Critical Survey (Dover Books on Mathematics) Paperback – April 1, 1989

12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0486659435 ISBN-10: 0486659437 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Mathematics
  • Paperback: 509 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition (April 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486659437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486659435
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book covers all the elements of Game Theory, emphasizing intuition over mathematical formalism. The philosophical aspects are also given a thorough treatment. The 8 appendices provide a more formal exposition of several key concepts such as the Minmax Theorem, the geometry of equilibria and Linear programming. The book has not changed much since its publication in 1957, but it is by no means archaic. Even for those who have a modern and more rigorous textbook, "Games and Decisions" is Highly recommended as a supplement. There is something for everyone in it.
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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful By "davecook99" on February 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
in his course in Game Theory (M711!) at MIT in the late 1950's.
I took that course; while Nash was unquestionably brilliant, he was getting to be pretty hard to follow at that point. The lecture hall was always jammed to overflowing, because even on a bad day Nash was really something! Nevertheless, the book was subsequently very useful, with lots of ideas about game-theoretic approaches to real-world problems.
Nash didn't think too highly of this book (too much non-mathematical stuff), but thought it the best available at the time not written by his arch-enemy, Von Neumann!
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Considine on March 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
This overview of game theory and decisions is a great into the problems and ideas behind game theory. I expect that this book will be most appreciated by non-math Ph.D.'s or grad students. For a math person, Von Neumann and Morgenstern's classic title is perhaps a better place to start. This book is one of those that can be read on a range of levels. I work in a trading and risk management environment and I find this book very useful.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Econ Student on July 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
I had this book for a number of years before I could appreciate its use. The reading in the main text can be very low yield at times, as he is often simply musing, explaining the implications of certain ideas without much mathematical analysis. This is basically a very long primer on game theory, which ends up often explaining what is intuitively obvious based on his previous expositions.

So why 5 stars? For starters the book is quite comprehensive, but where I found this book really shines is the appendices, which comprise roughly a fourth of the book and are really interesting. They address topics in high yield fashion simply getting to the mathematical methods: A probabilistic theory of utility, The minimax theorem, Geometrical Interpretation of Games, Linear Programming and Games, Methods for solving Games, Recursive Games, and Games of Survival.

A mathematician may not find anything in this book that is new to him other than an explanation of what game theory is and a vocabulary for reading and writing about game theory, but a non-mathematician (like me) will likely find some very interesting topics presented in the appendices.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Van Court VINE VOICE on November 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
You need calculus to appreciate this one.

But it is still very good. Like a dinner made by a top chef with the finest possible materials, it still may not be to your personal taste, no matter how well made it is. "Games and Decisions" is of limited utility for non-mathematicians, especially the attorneys and liberal arts majors that make decisions for nations.

The maths are mostly over my head, and I was only really able to follow one out of four pages (on the average) of the book. Nevertheless, from what I could appreciate, I learned a lot about the nature of utility, reiterative games, non-zero sum games, conditions of certainty and uncertainty, etc, as well as a lot of 'special case' games in the appendices.

I can see that this is the work of masters, but it is not something I can fully appreciate.

E. M. Van Court
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By jacob on August 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book could be described as an overview of Von Neumann's and Morgenstern's masterpiece of "Theory of Games and Economic Behavior". It does a vey good job of this if one is not interested in reading their behemoth of a book. And even if one has read TGEB, or a lot of it, it is still insightful enough to make it worth your while
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