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The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business and Life [Kindle Edition]

Avinash K. Dixit , Barry J. J. Nalebuff
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“I am hard pressed to think of another book that can match the combination of practical insights and reading enjoyment.”—Steven Levitt

Game theory means rigorous strategic thinking. It’s the art of anticipating your opponent’s next moves, knowing full well that your rival is trying to do the same thing to you. Though parts of game theory involve simple common sense, much is counterintuitive, and it can only be mastered by developing a new way of seeing the world. Using a diverse array of rich case studies—from pop culture, TV, movies, sports, politics, and history—the authors show how nearly every business and personal interaction has a game-theory component to it. Mastering game theory will make you more successful in business and life, and this lively book is the key to that mastery.

Editorial Reviews


"It is an easy read and is written in a lively tone-which is not something I particularly recall from my lectures in the 1980s. Long live economics!" John Burns, The Times Higher Education "Unlike most of the ranks of management advice books which pad out bookshop business sections, here is one which is rigorous, fun and extremely useful all at the same time." The Economist


"It is an easy read and is written in a lively tone-which is not something I particularly recall from my lectures in the 1980s. Long live economics!" John Burns, The Times Higher Education "Unlike most of the ranks of management advice books which pad out bookshop business sections, here is one which is rigorous, fun and extremely useful all at the same time." The Economist

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
166 of 177 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Buy "Thinking Strategically" June 17, 2009
By J. Kim
Of course. It is an updated version of their best selling book [Thinking Strategically]. I have taught an introduction to Game Theory course to college undergraduates for years and used their earlier version "Thinking strategically" as a textbook. Nalebuff and Dixit's effort on updating their classic became less than good news to college students. They put too much materials about their ABC documentary which was taken under Dr. Nalebuff's guidance while trying to put too much materials in otherwise a simple-clear book. I strongly recommend you to go to the bookstore and buy their earlier version "thinking strategically" rather than this 'confusing/messy" version.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessary after "Thinking Strategically" April 4, 2012
By Kara
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There is absolutely no need to read this book if you've read Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday Life.

I'm not certain why they exist as two separate books. The content is almost identical, and 90% of the examples in this one were lifted from that. I have no idea why this is touted as a "sequel." It is not. It's just Thinking Strategically repackaged (but I will say that its package is prettier). The tagline says that it's a "guide to success in business and life," but it is not. It is game theory explained in an accessible way.

I love game theory. I studied economics in college, and game theory had been my favorite class. I enjoyed Thinking Strategically and looked forward to reading this one. I was disappointed. Had I not read Thinking Strategically, I probably would have found this enjoyable, but I'm giving it two stars for the false advertising.
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41 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Game Theory For Work AND non-Work Situations November 7, 2008
If you like "game theory" -- or want to know what game theory is -- this could be the best book out there. Certainly there are more scholarly pieces on game theory, but this book is an A+ for its accessible writing, its use of examples that are interesting and a clear approach to point out how game theory comes into play every day for every person, whether we realize it or not. This book helps you understand the decision process in cooperative and competitive situations. It is better to know the "game" and how it is being played, than having the game played on you unwittingly. Highly recommended.

Also highly recommended, but more specifically for business applications, is Co-opetition, co-authored by Barry Nalebuff who is a co-author of The Art of Strategy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece January 9, 2014
This is simply one of the best books I had read on either game theory or strategy. It's so well written and organized in layman terms with so many great stories/examples that all who care to read only 50+ pages will learn much from it. In short, highly recommended (at least for those who had not read the authors' previous work before per warning of other reviewers)!

p.s. Below please find some of my favorite passages for your reference.

What makes something a game: you have to take into account the objectives and strategies of the other players. When guessing a number picked at random, the number isn't trying to hide. You can take the engineer's mindset and divide the interval in two and do the best possible. But if you are playing a game, then you have to consider how the other player will be acting and how those decisions will influence your strategy. Pg6
Sailboat racing offers the chance to observe an interesting reversal of a "follow the leader" strategy. The leading sailboat usually copies the strategy of the trailing boat. When the follower racks, so does the leader. The imitates the follower even when the follower is clearly pursuing a poor strategy. Why? Because in sailboat racing close doesn't count: only winning matters. |If you have the lead. The surest way to stay ahead is to play monkey see, monkey do. Stock market analysts and economic forecasters are not immune to this copycat strategy. The leader forecasters have an incentive to follow the pack and produce predictions similar to everyone else's. This way people are unlikely to change their perception of these forecasters' abilities. On the other hand, new comers take the risky strategies; they tend to predict boom or doom.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Covers the theory..need practical examples July 26, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book covers the Game Theory very well and is an excellent text for beginners. What this book made clear to me is that Game Theory is not just about strategy only. It is rather an explanation for behavior of people in different situations. In general, it is a very big and vast topic and it won't be justified to expect one book to cover it all. The authors of The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business and Life have made a great attempt to provide an overview of the various aspects and situations.

Actually, the first chapter itself is a good summary of the whole book and is aptly titled "Ten Tales of Strategy". In subsequent chapters, they develop these ten strategic moves with examples. A few of the strategies discussed include, art of backward reasoning, prisoner's dilemma, dominant strategy, etc.

The last chapter of the book is about case studies, which further help to increase the knowledge of concepts. They could have made the book better by picking up some more examples from real life with business and corporations, since they help more to relate and out these theories in context.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't get the audio version!
This may not be a fair review, since it is based on the audio version (Audible), and therefore I missed out on most of the equations, diagrams, etc. Read more
Published 9 hours ago by Hank Castello
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting and engaging book that also talks about the psychological side of game theory.
Published 2 months ago by George Zhu
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy and enjoyable reading of important game theory concepts!
In a very simple language, deep concepts are presented through very interesting examples... It is a book you do not want to see the end, but it comes while all you see is an... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Donato.Filho
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best of the best.
Published 4 months ago by Andrey Kostyuk
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for every business school student
Surprisingly enough, I had Barry as a professor at Yale, and, yet, we didn't cover most of the information in this book. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Robert Quentin King
5.0 out of 5 stars A new way to think
This book outlines the fundamentals of game theory with endlessly colorful real world examples as well as thought experiments. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dswelli23
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
comprehensive approach to the subject.
clear explanations for all level of readers
interesting from the beginning
good option to buy if you are interested on this... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Roberto A
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great book. Using examples to teach game theory is a proven way to learn about it. I have greatly enjoyed the book, and will share with others.
Published 9 months ago by Nick Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Comprehensible Intro to Game Theory
Complete with a myriad of real world examples, this book is an excellent one to read if your intention is to become familiar with the basic principles of game theory. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Matthew Bendyna
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to game theory
This is a good and interesting introduction to game theory. I liked it so much, I might even read it twice :-)
Published 13 months ago by Espen Meyer
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