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Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life: Strategies for Co-Operation (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 3. Mai 2010

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"Through a combination of real-world examples...and philosophical problems, Fisher shows us that we're more cooperative than we sometimes think we are, while at the same time startlingly more selfish than we out to be...the writing is lively, the scientific discourse clear and accessible, and the ideas challenging and exciting." -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.


Praised by Entertainment Weekly as the man who put the fizz into physics, Dr. Len Fisher turns his attention to the science of cooperation in his lively and thought-provoking book. Fisher shows how the modern science of game theory has helped biologists to understand the evolution of cooperation in nature, and investigates how we might apply those lessons to our own society. In a series of experiments that take him from the polite confines of an English dinner party to crowded supermarkets, congested Indian roads, and the wilds of outback Australia, not to mention baseball strategies and the intricacies of quantum mechanics, Fisher sheds light on the problem of global cooperation. The outcomes are sometimes hilarious, sometimes alarming, but always revealing. A witty romp through a serious science, Rock, Paper, Scissors will both teach and delight anyone interested in what it what it takes to get people to work together. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 39 Rezensionen
52 von 55 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Best introduction to game theory 26. Mai 2009
Von David J. Aldous - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
A good example of how to write at the "popular" end of the popular science spectrum. Game theory in general deals with settings in which each player has to choose one of several strategies without knowing other players' choices, and gets a payoff depending on everyone's choices (note this is rather different from what we call games in everyday language). Such games typically have a Nash equilibrium, which (roughly speaking) is the result when players behave selfishly; but there may be some different "cooperative" choices of strategies that would make everyone better off (a "social optimum"). This paradox or "logical trap" is usually illustrated by the Prisoner's Dilemma story. Observing where this situation occurs and contemplating ways of getting around them by "self-enforcing strategies" -- how cooperation might be achieved in the face of temptations to cheat -- are the main themes of the book, which is well paced and engagingly easy to read. Some highlights are

(1) Discussion of "7 deadly dilemmas" given cute names by theorists (Prisoner's Dilemma; Tragedy of the Commons; Free Rider; Chicken; Volunteer's Dilemma; Battle of the Sexes; Stag Hunt) -- models in which there is math theory.

(2) A lengthy verbal discussion of strategies to promote trust and cooperation (e.g. making it costly to change your mind later; deliberately cutting off your escape routes).

(3) Martin Nowak's 5 rules for the social evolution of cooperation.

While the in-text accounts of scientific studies in the human social world or in biology are conversationally casual, the end-notes (comprising 1/5 of the book) provide citations to the scientific literature -- a definite improvement on most books at this level.

All popularizers tend to exaggerate the scope of applicability of their subject, but this book less so than most. Let me just mention two ways in which the real world is more complicated than the book implies.

(4) Except in special cases where the payoff is money and nothing else matters, the payoff has to be modeled as some number of abstract "points" (or "utils", in jargon) which one can't actually measure. And then any observed behavior can be construed as optimal behavior in some game theoretic model. So game theory is more like a useful way of thinking about issues, and less like a traditional scientific theory which makes testable predictions

(5) In complicated real world economic situations, trying to make everyone better off is both fiendishly complicated and involves some kind of tax and subsidy scheme; introducing such things creates its own moral hazard outside the context of the one particular game.
32 von 36 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Very readable - game theory for everyday 22. Dezember 2008
Von T. Chambers - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Having just picked up this book as a game theory practitioner, I found this to be an excellent read. My work which centers primarily around the work of Thomas Schelling has led me to a variety of books on the game theory topic. Even Dr. Schelling, who has a comfortable writing style, evokes examples beyond the "everyday" realm, applicable to political and global challenges, more frequently than the cocktail parties and family life.

I found this book ties together the work of many of the top thinkers in the field, including recent Nobel Prize winners, taking a breadth rather than depth approach and at the same time provides the accessibility and application to experiences in everyday life. The few diagrams, and limited "math" will lower the barrier that other fine writers have created in their coverage of the topic. This is not to say it is "dumbed down". Quite the contrary, it is put in an everyday perspective and therefore worthy of consumption by a wider audience.

For further information, and for delving more formally into the topic, an extensive bibliography is provided, itself about 20% of the book. For the person interested in looking beyond this books level, there are many references to research.

All in all I think it fills a specific gap existing in connecting this important topic to our everyday lives. This topic, which explains so much about our relationships, how we do cooperate, and frequently don't , is worth a good read.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A book for Entertainment Purposes Only 25. Januar 2013
Von J. Merrill - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This book provides a few laughs and a regrettably tenuous understanding of game theory. This is not an introduction to game theory, nor a practical supplement for applying game theory in everyday life. It is a collection of stories, often from the author's childhood, and several informal definitions scattered throughout. These elements are tied together loosely under the heading "game theory", but not only collectively fail to provide a solid introduction to game theory but lack adequate explanation.

I suspect that many of those introduced to game theory by this book will have a false sense of knowledge about game theory and its application in everyday life. Like Fisher, these individuals will speciously argue for solutions to everyday problems (social dilemmas Fisher prefers to call them). Part of the problem is that he is, initially, quite convincing in his simple presentation of game theory. Only after the reader comes in contact with those with even a rudimentary understanding of game theory does the reader realize that he has been fooled by the simple and seemingly intuitive presentation.

Fisher has other books out in multiple disciplines (he has a Ph.D. in chemistry I think). I cannot comment on these, but I suspect that he is a sort of jack of all trades, master of none (except perhaps informal, inaccurate, ultimately entertaining representations of scientific disciplines). For this book, he frequently injects his own categorization, terminology, and opinions into the text in place of thought out explanations for game theoretic concepts. For example:

He refers to Nash's equilibrium as Nash's trap. "Professional game theorists may not much like my describing the Nash equilibrium in this way, because it implies that the equilibrium always leads to a bad outcome. I am sticking with it, though, because this book is about bad outcomes and how to get out of them." Let's begin this endeavor by not purchasing this book.

For a great introduction to game theory try "Games, Strategies, and Decision Making" by Harrington. It is the standard for learning game theory and great for applying it to everyday life (the right way). Ken Binmore is another game theorist/author that I highly recommend, even for beginners.

Avoid "Rock, Paper, Scissors". Fisher is loose with his definitions, uses idiosyncratic terminology, and presents a facile, unsatisfactory explanation of game theory.
13 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Light on math and science - heavy on fluff 7. Januar 2010
Von Houman Tamaddon - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
I knew little about game theory before reading this book so I expected to increase my knowledge a lot in an area that was new for me. I did learn some interesting concepts and terminology but for the most part I was disappointed. Fisher's examples of game theory were childish and unscientific - mostly about his personal experiences as a kid or dinner parties as an adult. While it makes for a light read, it will do little to expand your knowledge. There was little mention of any controlled scientific studies. A lot of the stories, like the Kitty Genovese murder in NYC in the 1970's, have been written about countless times. There was also little analytical and thoughtful discussion about serious situations where we observe game theory like in conflicts among countries. If you know little about game theory, you will learn some new tools but do not expect to be dazzled by this superficial covering of the topic.
10 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Game theory should not be in the title 22. März 2010
Von D. Black - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
This book is not about game theory. The author touches on the subject for the first few chapters and then goes on to simplify it to the point of distortion and fill this book with pop-science fluff.

For a much better book on the topic, try The Compleat Strategyst: Being a Primer on the Theory of Games of Strategy It's put out by Rand, and it looks like it would be really dry, but it's the best intro to game theory that I've read- it's easy to understand, helpful, and even a bit funny in a playful way.
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