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Games and Decisions: Introduction and Critical Survey (Dover Books on Mathematics) Revised ed. Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0486659435
ISBN-10: 0486659437
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Luce is Victor S. Thomas Professor of Psychology at Harvard University.

Howard Raiffa is Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Managerial Economics (Emeritus), Harvard Business School and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Mathematics
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Revised ed. edition (April 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486659437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486659435
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback
Authors Luce and Raiffa have assembled a well-written and easy to understand introduction to game theory. The author assume no prior knowledge of game theory and therefore explain each concept in sufficient detail. The authors also assume a very modest mathematical background on the part of the reader so that a knowledge of calculus and matrix algebra is unnecessary. A knowledge of limits and other aspects of pre-calculus analysis is also unnecessary. A facility with algebra is assumed, up to the level of perhaps high school Algebra II. In addition, the reader would do well to have benefited from a high school level course in probability theory. It should also be said that in spite of these modest requirements regarding the reader's mathematical background, this book is, nevertheless, mathematically intensive and replete with proofs that would overwhelm the reader who does not enjoy closely-reasoned mathematical arguments.

This development of game theory also benefits from the authors' discussion of the history of game theory and their explicit reference to those who have contributed to the field such as John von Neumann and John Nash. The authors also supplement the text with very useful appendices, which include an easy to read motivation for Nash equilibrium.

Of particular interest to me is the authors' lucid treatment of Minimax theory and two-person zero-sum and non-zero-sum games.
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