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Editor reviews

No one is more qualified to provide a primer on game theory than one of its founders, Ken Binmore, Professor Emeritus of Economics at University College London, who concisely illustrates the theory’s practical use in everyday life, sheds light on its history, and touches on its key concepts, including but not limited to the Nash equilibrium and minimax.

Jesse Einstein’s amiable, down-to-earth delivery of this sometimes challenging material makes this intellectually stimulating audiobook palatable to all audiences.

Summary

Games are everywhere: Drivers maneuvering in heavy traffic are playing a driving game. Bargain hunters bidding on eBay are playing an auctioning game. The supermarket's price for corn flakes is decided by playing an economic game. This Very Short Introduction offers a succinct tour of the fascinating world of game theory, a groundbreaking field that analyzes how to play games in a rational way. Ken Binmore, a renowned game theorist, explains the theory in a way that is both entertaining and non-mathematical yet also deeply insightful, revealing how game theory can shed light on everything from social gatherings, to ethical decision-making, to successful card-playing strategies, to calculating the sex ratio among bees.

With mini biographies of many fascinating, and occasionally eccentric, founders of the subject - including John Nash, subject of the movie A Beautiful Mind - this audiobook offers a concise overview of a cutting-edge field that has seen spectacular successes in evolutionary biology and economics, and is beginning to revolutionize other disciplines from psychology to political science.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2007 Ken Binmore (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good contents, not great as audiobook

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Definitely wasn't time wasted, however a lot of the ideas are explained with figures which is completely lost in the audio format.

Was Game Theory worth the listening time?

Yes, the book covers interesting topics and concepts however it loses something with the lack of figures.

Any additional comments?

Perhaps the pics could be added to the download as images and displayed on screen when they are referenced in the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Would have been helpful to include more scenarios which illustrate the theory

Much of the content went over my head and I still feel in need of an introduction to the theory in order to understand it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Terrible narration

Terribly narrated to the point where I couldn’t finish the book due to the reader’s strange inflection at the end of sentences. The book is not written well for audio and would be far better read hardcopy

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Em
  • 28-11-16

don't hold your breath

really interesting but a bit of a chore waiting to get through to the lovely nuggets.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting book with a fascinating subject.

Good book with steady narration. The content can make it hard to follow sometimes without strong concentration. So perhaps not the best choice for driving or the gym, unless you don't mind jump backs. good introduction to the subject though.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jarrod T. Al-Alou
  • 09-01-15

Not good for audio book format

One of the primary locations I listen to audio books is during transit. If you do the same then this book is not for you, as you sometimes need to be able to reference the diagrams as they are not clearly discussed in the audio book.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • 18-01-14

No PDF File of Figures Provided

The author's presentation of game theory is understandable and would be easy to digest except for the lack of a PDF with the figures that are constantly referred to. This is an oversight on par with the lack of valet parking at the emergency room entrance.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Zahid Ahmad
  • 23-01-17

Useless for meaningful learning of Game Theory

What would have made Game Theory better?

This book is a poor introduction to the Game Theory. One could learn better by Wikipedia. The book is basically the narration of the various headlines covered by this theory and throws in an example that is insufficient. Every point should have been made clear by various easy examples. One drawback is that the accompanying drawings and charts cannot be consulted while driving and make an essential part of the book. Recommend one buys a physical book and read it if serious about this topic. If you want a cursory feel good type of information this audio may be OK.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Magnus Wrenninge
  • 22-04-14

Unbearable narration

What disappointed you about Game Theory?

The text was dry, which is fine. But the narration made me put it down after an hour, it was so awkward to listen to that I just couldn't stand it.

What could Ken Binmore have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

It's not his fault.

What didn’t you like about Jesse Einstein’s performance?

Everything.

What character would you cut from Game Theory?

N/A

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Charles
  • 02-11-16

Not a good pick for audio

There is plenty of interest here for math lovers. I'm a pure amateur in this field and it's a pretty good and well-written introduction.

In audio format it suffers from the text's reliance on the figures. This makes listening in the car or while doing other tasks less rewarding. Also I found the reading tedious and occasionally unwittingly comic. The reader mispronounced "Herodotus" and "learned," for instance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • 01-10-16

..it only works when people play games rationally!

"...game theory isn't able to solve all the word's problems, because it only works when people play games rationally."
--Ken Bilmore, Game Theory, A Very Short Introduction

Ken Binmore's Very Short Introduction (VSI #173) to Game Theory is my second selection of Oxford's huge, gigantic VSI series (quickly approaching 500 books). It was probably closer to 3.5 stars, but mainly because of the structural problems with surveying Game Theory in less than 200 pages. At less than 200 pages Binmore is able to break down Game Theory into chapters on chance, time, conventions, reciprocity, information, auctions, evolutionary biology, bargaining and coalitions, puzzles and paradoxes.

For the beginner, the problem with this book will be how quickly the book expects the reader to pick up on some of the accepted standards of game theory thinking and explanations (boxes, game trees, subgames, etc). For the non-beginner, the book sometimes skims over areas that the reader (or perhaps, just this reader) might want to wade deeper (more maths) into. This is the inherent tension in all the VSI. It is the dance, the game of the series. You have to be able to present your information in a package designed to be broad in scope, but small in application. Binmore does a good job, however. I was very satisfied with the progression of the book, and loved getting a bit more info on such game theory notables as Nash, Von Neumann, etc.

I was also excited by the whole chapter devoted to game theory and evolutionary biology. It took me back to reading Robert Wright's Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny and The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology, and The Evolution of God. This book also was good in giving me a couple more GT books to read in the future on cooperation.

11 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Adriano
  • 08-09-16

Worst narrator ever

What would have made Game Theory better?

A different narrator

What could Ken Binmore have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Content seems fine, but narrator is so awful that I couldn't listen more than 1 hour of it.

Would you be willing to try another one of Jesse Einstein’s performances?

No way

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The book itself seems fine.

Any additional comments?

Unfortunately it is no long eligible for return.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Tyler Vaughan
  • 19-06-15

Not Good

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He might have read too fast and made it difficult to follow each game situation considering this is meant to be a introduction.

Any additional comments?

This book is not a introduction. There is very limited defining of terms and the explanations of game situations are all over the place which makes it difficult to comprehend and follow the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Reg
  • 03-02-14

Not an introduction

This book is complicated and uses to much field related jargon. It's good for those familer with the concepts but painfully complicated for those who aren't

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • bekk
  • 08-04-18

Best Game Theory book

Truly the best game theory book I’ve ever read (I work in the field). It not only gives a wonderful overview of game theory and its applications, it also articulates game theory as a worldview