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Game Theory at Work: How to Use Game Theory to Outthink and Outmaneuver Your Competition Hardcover – April 3, 2003

2.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Easy-to-Follow Strategies for Using Game Theory to Grab the Upper Hand in Every Business Battle

Game theory--the study of how competitors act, react, and interact in the strategic pursuit of their own self-interest--has become an essential competitive tool in today's business arena. Game Theory at Work provides examples of how businesspeople can use this time-proven approach to successfully meet competitive challenges and, more often than not, claim the upper ground in each battle before it begins.

Game Theory at Work steers clear of the opaque mathematics and pedagogy that so often hamper practitioners of game theory, relying instead on lively case studies and examples to illustrate its remarkable methods in action. Complex yet comprehensible, it provides you with:

  • Methods for applying game theory to every facet of business
  • Strategies for instantly improving your position in virtually any negotiation
  • Game theory techniques to increase the output--and value--of each employee

At its essence, business is a game, albeit a profoundly serious game that must always be played to win. Game Theory at Work is the first plain-English examination of the use of game theory in business. Let it provide you with the intellectual tools you need to instantly understand every game you're playing, use that knowledge to your advantage, and consistently maximize your finish-line payoff.

"Game Theory at Work won't teach you about power-chants, discuss the importance of balancing work and family, or inspire you to become a more caring leader. This book will instead help you out-strategize, or at least keep up with, competitors inside and outside your company."--From the Introduction

Like Sun Tzu's timeless The Art of War, Game Theory at Work is about knowing your adversary as well as yourself. It is also about using that knowledge to prepare yourself for victory.

But above all, this one-of-a-kind book is about dramatically improving your strategic instincts and decision-making skills--and emerging victorious--in virtually any business encounter.

Introduced by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern in their 1944 book Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, and further honed through the decades by thought leaders including Nobel Prize winner John Nash, game theory analyzes strategic interactions in which the outcomes of various choices depend on the choices of others. Game Theory at Work applies this innovative tool to the world of business, and provides a step-by-step framework for using game theory to improve your on-the-job success in areas including:

  • Negotiating
  • Managing
  • Pricing
  • Positioning
  • Establishing strategic alliances

More than that, however, Game Theory at Work is a one-of-a-kind tool to battle the high costs of indecision. It shows you how to enter any encounter confident in how others will act, and then use game theory to base your strategies and actions on this knowledge. Case studies, puzzles, and, yes, games demonstrate why unexpected and often paradoxical results are the norm when humans compete, and help you use this fact to your advantage. And, chapter-ending lessons highlight essential rules learned.

... All in a book that is both absorbing and entertaining, designed to improve your business instincts without requiring the use of needless mathematics or theoretical mumbo-jumbo.

Everything in life is competitive in one way or another, and game theory has revolutionized the art and science of what to look for--and how to act--when engaged in competition. Game Theory at Work studies the use of game theory in today's hard-fought business arena, and shows you how to use it to gain maximum advantage in every professional encounter, whatever your role in that encounter.

About the Author

James Miller, Ph.D., J.D. is assistant professor of economics at Smith College. Dr. Miller has written over fifty articles on diverse topics from game theory to Greek Mythology, e-commerce, and military strategy.  His work has appeared in popular and professional resources including the Orlando Sentinel, The Weekly Standard, International Review of Law and Economics, and Journal of Information, Law and Technology, and the Internet sites for National Review, CNBC, and Fox News.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (April 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071400206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071400206
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I bought this book before knowing these unfavorable comments of this book.
I have studied some game theory stuff at postgraduate level. I have read three chapters of this book: Ch.10 on price discrimination; Ch.14 on bargaining and Ch.15 on auctions. Frankly speaking, the materials and examples given in the book are not new. You can easily find them all in Thinking Strategically, Coopetition, Information Rules and some other game theory books. For a reader who has already read some other similar introductory books on game theory, you can save your money. However, if you are new to game theory, this book is worth reading. The writing style is entertaining and the examples are clearly explained.
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Format: Hardcover
Here is my opinion as someone who has published serious academic articles with applied game theory, and has taught several political science classes in game theory:

This book is a fake. It's not about game theory and it's certainly not written by someone who is either a researcher in that field or a seasoned teacher of game theory. The book does not teach you game theory. What it is is a kind of mediocre combination of the most basic concepts in game theory with either silly or borrowed examples... Interestingly, many examples are borrowed from Dixit and Nalebuff, another very simple book which our author should be trying to outperform (as opposed to copy!). I mean, why copy Dixit and Nalebuff if they have already sold hundreds of thousands of copies of their book??? (If the author had known a bit more about game theory he would have known critical reviews like this one, or like the other one where the reviewers proves that the positive reviews were posted by the author's wife and friends!!!, would eventually appear.)

Game theory is not about learning what the prisoner's dilemma looks like or what moral hazard is. I mean, these things do appear, but they're about 1% of introductory game theory. The remaining 99% is totally missing from this book. And it is in that missing 99% that one finds what makes game theory useful and applicable: expected utility theory, utility functions and their maximization, reaction curves, bayesian games, etc. My students (even the most non-mathematically inclined ones) can easily grasp simple games using web-based resources for free. If they buy a book and pay up to 30 bucks for purchase and delivery, they (rightly) expect it to guide them through somehow more demanding territory. And this book just doesn't do that at all.
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Format: Hardcover
First off, let me say that there is very little useful information contained in this book. The only thing I can conclude is that other 2 reviews before mine were done by friends of the author of this book, James Miller.
James begins the book with a direct insult to the reader, stating things such as quote "...Beware, however, if you end up enjoying this book, it's not because I wrote it for the purpose of making you happy. I wrote it to maximize my own payoff. I don't care, in any way, about your welfare." He also goes on to arrogantly and blatently say basically that the reader is stupid and that he has much better things to do than to be writing this book.
I totally agree...he should not have written this book. It does very little to aid in the understanding of Game Theory and its practical application in real world scenarios. Most of the information contained within the book is either common sense or flat out WRONG, both factually and practically. What is not either wrong or common sense can easily fall into the "worthless trivia" section.
Let me give you one of Mr. Miller's examples located on page 8 and 9:
Let's say that you are a parent and you are worried about your daughter becoming pregnant. If you threaten your daughter with being kicked out of the house if she becomes pregnant, his basic rationale says that if you love her and she knows it, your threats will be ineffective and she will therefore have no incentive to not become pregnant. However, James points out that the solution to the problem is to demonstrante to your daughter that you in fact do NOT love her which would in turn say to her that you would most definitely make good on your threat of kicking her out of the house in the event she became pregnant.
Application of Game Theory? Yes, kindof...
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Format: Hardcover
Market situations are everywhere: when you look for a job, when you buy insurance, when you shop, when you date, when you negotiate. Miller shows you how to play markets to your advantage; how to make better choices. Also, Miller's Game Theory approach is like a mirror that makes it easier for you to see the assumptions that other people are making about you. You learn about yourself, about how other people perceive you. These are keys to success in work and in life.
I have to say I had high expectations when I picked up this book. Miller's Ph.D. advisors included a Nobel Laureate economist who helped invent Game Theory, and America's most prolific legal genius, Judge Posner.
What Professor Miller's astral credentials don't prepare you for is the fun. I had a blast reading Game Theory at Work. Miller had me cracking up page after page. And there's remarkably little fluff, it's so densely packed with ideas and concrete examples. You'll hesitate to put the book down before finishing it - especially if you are impatient - because you'll want to start putting the life-changing approach of Game Theory to work right away. I found it so relevant to so many things in my life. Miller's Game Theory at Work gives you an edge.
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