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Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is a master of game theory, which is a fancy label for a simple idea: People compete, and they always do what they think is in their own best interest. Bueno de Mesquita uses game theory and its insights into human behavior to predict and even engineer political, financial, and personal events. His forecasts, which have been employed by everyone from the CIA to major business firms, have an amazing 90 percent accuracy rate, and in this dazzling and revelatory book he shares his startling methods and lets you play along in a range of high-stakes negotiations and conflicts.
Revealing the origins of game theory and the advances made by John Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist perhaps best known from A Beautiful Mind, Bueno de Mesquita details the controversial and cold-eyed system of calculation that he has since created, one that allows individuals to think strategically about what their opponents want, how much they want it, and how they might react to every move. From there, Bueno de Mesquita games such events as the North Korean disarmament talks and the Middle East peace process and recalls, among other cases, how he correctly predicted which corporate clients of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm were most likely engaged in fraudulent activity (hint: one of them started with an E). And looking as ever to the future, Bueno de Mesquita also demonstrates how game theory can provide successful strategies to combat both global warming (instead of relying on empty regulations, make nations compete in technology) and terror (figure out exactly how much U.S. aid will make Pakistan fight the Taliban).
But as Bueno de Mesquita shows, game theory isn’t just for saving the world. It can help you in your own life, whether you want to succeed in a lawsuit (lawyers argue too much the merits of the case and question too little the motives of their opponents), elect the CEO of your company (change the system of voting on your board to be more advantageous to your candidate), or even buy a car (start by knowing exactly what you want, call every dealer in a fifty-mile radius, and negotiate only over the phone).
Savvy, provocative, and shockingly effective, The Predictioneer’s Game will change how you understand the world and manage your future. Life’s a game, and how you play is whether you win or lose.
Knowing what will happen around the world can be awfully useful. Forewarned, after all, is forearmed, whether the questions of the day are about business, national security, or our day-to-day lives. The Predictioneer’s Game provides a reliable way to anticipate the future, one you can experiment by using the online version of the game’s program on my website. Suppose, for instance, you want to work out likely future developments in Iran. You can build a data set and test it just as I have done.
We all know that Iran’s Ayatollahs faced a pretty stiff challenge following that country’s June presidential election. As I predicted in February 2009. the Qum clerics, sometimes called the Quietists, are quiet no more and Iran’s Supreme Leader is facing the first real political challenge since Iran’s 1979 revolution. Iran is in for more challenging times in the months to come. You might wonder, what is likely to happen to relations between Iran’s and Iraq’s Shia-dominated governments now that the U.S. is withdrawing most of its forces from Iraq? How will the evolving relations between Iran and Iraq shape the interests of the United States in the region? These are some of the questions I try to answer in The Predictioneer’s Game.
I conclude that if the U.S. fully withdraws, then Iran and Iraq will form a strategic partnership and Iran might even intervene militarily on behalf of Iraq’s Shia government to put down a rising political threat from the pro-Baathist, anti-American, Sunni Vice President of Iraq, Tariq al-Hashimi. Hashimi’s power is predicted to increase markedly while Prime Minister Maliki’s declines if President Obama decides not to maintain 50,000 American troops in Iraq. If, however, he chooses to keep 50,000 or more troops in Iraq after August 2010, then Iran and Iraq will not forge a strategic alliance, Hashimi’s growing power will be contained, and Maliki will remain in charge. And in Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei’s power will continue to decline while the military, the moneyed interests and the Qum clerics will become the backbone of a more moderate, more pragmatic Iranian regime.
Predicting the future--whether you are concerned about Iran or about how best to settle a family crisis--is not all that mysterious. If people do what they think is best for themselves--and who doesn’t--then, with game theory’s help, we can anticipate what they will do. Working out other people’s incentives means also working out how altering their costs or benefits can be used to change their behavior and that, after all, is the essence of predictioneering.--Bruce Bueno de Mesquita--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Mesquita (The Strategy of Campaigning) purports to show how we can predict... and engineer the future with applied game theory in this provocative tutorial. Mesquita has spent 30 years refining his approach to the science of predictioneering, and claims a 90% accuracy rate for his mathematical model that predicts choices based on the self-interest of decision makers. Although he argues that accurate prediction relies on science, he cannot escape the reality that the numbers in his model are based on human, i.e., fallible, assumptions and estimates. The author admits to a few mistakes—he predicted that former first lady Hillary Clinton's health-care reform would become law—but blames any missteps on unforeseen events and uses his model to boldly predict that President Obama is unlikely to quash the terrorist influence in Pakistan and that global warming will prove immune to government prescriptions but will produce its own solutions. Mesquita claims perhaps too much for his game theory model, but his cogently argued and fascinating brief will appeal to anyone interested in complex national-security issues. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The reviews by Brown, McDonald and Bertolo are spot on.
It is entertaining but you won't become knowledgeable in game theory or an expert predictioner from reading it. Read more
This book is a short but well design discourse on applied game theory by someone with both a political and business point of view. Read morePublished 12 months ago by R. Mutt
I find the subject of the book fascinating. It is a very interesting concept that I think has merit. Read morePublished 14 months ago by AK
It's hard to fully regret reading a book. Hey even if it sucks, you still got SOMETHING out of it, no matter how small, right? Read morePublished 14 months ago by zkcom1
My first read in game theory, kind of drives hope the point that we're all in the game and either we're playing it, or being played. Read morePublished 17 months ago by MBreader
I have been doing self-directed study of game theory and behavioral economics for a couple of years. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Martin Fierro
I'm interested in game theory, which is why I bought the book. Unfortunately, the book follows this formula throughout:
1. Read more
This was an interesting book on manipulating people to get what you want b ut some of the conceps were out of my range.Published on June 23, 2013 by Yellowroze