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I'm looking for a good book on Game Theory. I run a software company and from the little I've heard about Game Theory, it seems interesting and potentially useful.

I've looked on Amazon.com but wanted to ask the Mathematicians here.

One that looks good (despite the title:) is The Complete Idiots Guide to Game Theory. But please post that as an answer if you think it's good.

Please post one book per answer so folks can vote on each book.

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5 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Not a book, but very nice online lectures by B. Polak: http://academicearth.org/courses/game-theory. I watched the first part (12 lectures). I had no knowledge in this area but it's very easy to follow and mathematics is on very low level.

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Before purchasing a text, I'd recommend getting a brief overview of the field; see, for example, Wikipedia's entry on Game Theory. You'll then be in a better position, once you've identified which aspects of the field interest you most, to select an appropriate book or website, and you'll also be able to find references that specifically target that area of interest.

Also, if you scroll down to the bottom of the link above, you'll find a whole assortment of texts & references, historically important works in the field, articles, and websites, many with annotations regarding the level of difficulty and targeted audience.

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There are three books I highly recommend for beginners, even though the first is not that recent: R. Luce and H. Raiffa, Games and Decisions; P. Straffin, Game Theory and Strategy; D. Kreps, Game Theory and Economic Modeling. To get the full benefit of insights from game theory one must use a certain about of logical thinking, arithmetic, and algebra.

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+1 to Straffin Game Theory and Strategy –  becko Jul 18 '11 at 21:01
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If you're more of a visual learner, there's also a video lecture series with Scott Stevens as the lecturer.

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Ken Binmore's Playing for Real: A Text on Game Theory is suitable for undergraduates and doesn't get heavily mathematical at all.

  • What is game theory about?
  • How do I apply game theory?
  • Why is game theory right?

There's even a marker in the margin in places where you're allowed to skip some of the math and move on to the next bit.

It isn't easy to write in a light-hearted style when presenting mathematical material, but I did my best.

I think he did an excellent job.

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